Marketplace PM for December 15, 2004

Episode Description 

The charter school debate

Standardized tests. The bane of schoolchildren everywhere...but essential to the debate over which school is doing how well. The latest installment in the data wars over the effectiveness of charter schools says student performance there is pretty much on a par that of students in conventional public schools. That's according to a federal group that works up the nation's report card every year. And it's a rosier assessment than one they released just last month. That one said charter students were underperforming. All of this leaves Americans wondering whether this form of public schooling is working, and worth it. Work and Family correspondent Sarah Gardner has our story.

Mending a broken image

Billy Tauzin spent almost 26 years in Congress, the last couple of them as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee. Among his oversight responsibilities? The nation's pharmaceutical companies. Today Mr. Tauzin has a new job. He'll be running the drug industry's lobbying group ... PhRMA. As Helen Palmer reports from the Health Desk at WGBH, Tauzin's plan is to mend the industry's tarnished image.

China, as a domestic problem

An economy with blue skies, happy workers, and prosperity for all is just around the corner. That was the picture painted today at President Bush's economic summit in Washington. But there's at least one gathering cloud the gathering hasn't addressed so far. China. Marketplace commentator Robert Reich just got back from a trip to Southeast Asia. He says China's a foreign policy problem with domestic implications.

China's medical markets

That rapid growth in China's economy - has had side effects. For example, an increase in health problems linked to wealthy lifestyles and diets: diabetes, obesity, and breast cancer. That last has surged by 40% in the past decade. That's prompted a Chinese government plan to screen one million women for the disease.. But Marketplace's Jocelyn Ford reports - some western companies are selling early detection equipment in China they can't sell in the United States.

"And now for something completely different ... "

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to let airlines offer high-speed wireless internet access on their planes. Are cellphones next? Ladies and gentleman, the "Marketplace Players" are now taking the stage ...

The Best Gift Ever - John Eyler

Time for another installment in our holiday series--The Best Gift Ever! Visit <A href="http://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/gift2004/index.html">The Best Gift Ever Index Page.</A>