Wednesday Edition


1. Idle Hands on Campus

With campus protests dominating the news, we bring you an interesting data point on how college kids are spending their time. (Slow Boring)

Full-time college students spent about 40 hours per week on class and studying in 1961, but this fell to 27 hours per week by 2003.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows students spend less than three hours per day being in class and doing homework.

  • Compare that to the four hours per day they spend on leisure activities and two hours working jobs.

Relatedly: As schools have started operating more like businesses (with students in the role of customer), we’ve seen grade inflation become an issue.

Journalist Matt Yglesias’ assessment of the problem: “A downstream consequence of the marketization of higher education — the customers are getting what they want and what they want is easy classes.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Any parent knows what happens when you don’t keep your child occupied — the pent-up energy gets expressed in one way or another. Of course, that’s not the whole story driving these campus protests. But I’d bet it’s contributing something toward why students have the time to literally camp out on college plazas for days on end.

2. The Value of a Stay-at-Home Parent

As many Americans start to rethink the relentless “grindset” approach to work, it turns out it can pay to have a parent who stays home with the kids. (Forbes)

A new study looked at the cost of outsourcing parenting tasks for up to four children in 80 major cities across the world. Four of the top 10 cities where stay-at-home parents are most valued are in the United States.

The value of a stay-at-home parent of two’s labor in…

  • San Francisco: $5,200 per month

  • Washington, D.C.: $4,400 per month

  • New York City: $4,300 per month

  • Los Angeles: $4,200 per month

Outsourcing the work of a stay-at-home parent for two children over 20 years costs an average of $1 million in six major American cities.

1 in 5 American parents stay home with their kids.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The pendulum has been swinging away from the “live-to-work” mindset as workers report feeling less satisfied and engaged with their jobs. The remote work wave that happened during COVID probably contributed to this, with many Americans realizing they liked spending less time chained to a cubicle. As flashy careers lose their appeal and flexible work becomes more feasible, maybe more people will opt to stay home with their kids instead of sticking to a traditional 9-5.

3. Giving Small Businesses Some Love

Giant corporations are usually the ones grabbing all the headlines, but ahead of National Small Business Week, let’s check in on the other side of the coin. (Pew Research Center)

A new Pew Research Center survey finds:

  • 86% of Americans say small businesses have a positive effect on the U.S.

  • Small businesses are viewed more favorably than any other institution in Pew’s survey, ranking above even the military and churches.

  • In 2021, small businesses employed approximately 56.4 million workers and generated over $16.2 trillion in revenue.

Breaking it all down:

  • Small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, comprise 99.9% of all U.S. firms.

  • 6 million of these businesses have paid employees, representing 46% of total private sector employment.

  • 27% of small businesses are family-owned.

Business applications have been trending up for years and spiked in the wake of the pandemic:

Chart: Pew Research Center

Bubba’s Two Cents: To me, small businesses embody the best of America: opportunity, hard work and the freedom to chase your dreams on your own terms.

4. Actually, School Choice Is Pro-Democracy

Opponents of school choice say private schools produce students who aren’t as tolerant of the democratic norms essential to a functional society.

More broadly, critics also claim school choice itself undermines democracy:

But according to a new meta-analysis published in the Educational Psychology Review, private school students are actually more supportive of democracy than their public school peers.

Researchers from the University of Buckingham and University of Arkansas: "We find that students who attended private schools demonstrate higher levels of political knowledge and stronger support for democratic norms when compared to observationally similar students who attended public schools."

The will of the American people seems to be bending toward school choice, per a new NBC News report.

  • From 2012 to 2022, U.S. public school enrollment for children ages 5 to 17 dropped by nearly 4 percentage points, from 90.7% to 87%.

  • Enrollment in private schools and charter schools each rose by 2 percentage points during the same period.

  • Since 2022, school choice policies expanded, with 146 bills introduced and 19 laws enacted in 17 states, promoting alternatives like private, charter, and homeschooling.

  • Eight states enacted laws in 2023 to implement "universal school choice.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Isn’t it the opposite of democracy to try to stamp out an option that a growing number of people in your country are calling for?

5. Two Takes on Gaza

The U.S. and other allies are ramping up the pressure on Israel to wrap up its conflict with Hamas, but there are differing perspectives on how long that will take. (Washington Free Beacon)

Washington Free Beacon reporter Andrew Tobin: “To defeat Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces must enter Rafah, the Palestinian terror group's last stronghold in Gaza. But Israelis increasingly doubt whether the IDF will go ahead with a full-scale invasion of the city in the face of U.S. opposition.”

It’ll take at least three months just to begin a full-scale invasion of Rafah, according to former Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror. Amidror told the Beacon that’s the amount of time needed to evacuate civilians before assaulting Hamas’ stronghold.

The war’s basically over already, according to Chuck Freilich, a political science professor at Tel Aviv University and senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies. Pessure from the Biden administration has severely limited Israel’s ability to wage a full-fledged war.

What Freilich told the Beacon: “There were already signs of American frustration by the end of October. By November, certainly by December, it was very clear. … We still claimed the war was going on, but I think in the last couple weeks, everybody has started to understand that that's not the case.”

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