Tag: educational choice

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In this AEI Events Podcast, AEI’s Nat Malkus welcomes Liberian Education Minister George K. Werner to deliver a keynote address on Liberia’s new education initiative, the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program, in which eight non-state operators manage 93 public primary schools. Dr. Malkus opens the event by describing Liberia’s recent history and the state […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Unions vs. Children

 

By and large, teachers are wonderful people who dedicate their lives to helping children achieve their full potential. Their unions, by contrast, have a very different mission.

Take the Great Chicago Library Lockout of 2017, for example. As a parent recently described in the Wall Street Journal, Pritzker Elementary in Chicago had to lay off its librarian due to a combination of budget cuts and lower-than-expected enrollment, so parents volunteered to help out to keep the library open. According to Michael Hendershot, whose daughter attends Prtizker, “There was so much interest that the parent-teacher organization created a rotating schedule of regular volunteers to help out.” That’s when the Chicago Teachers Union (and affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers) intervened:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. New York Times Continues to Mislead About School Choice in Michigan

 

Another day, another distortion from the Grey Lady on school choice.

In its quest to build a false narrative about Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of the US Department of Education, the New York Times has continuously misled readers about the effects of charter schools in Detroit. The latest example comes from today’s editorial:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Carpe Diem: Fix the Nevada ESA Funding Issue

 

In 2015, Nevada lawmakers passed the most ambitious educational choice law in the nation: a nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program. The program was scheduled to launch this year, but it immediately drew two separate lawsuits from opponents of educational choice. As I reported last week, the Supreme Court of Nevada upheld the constitutionality of the ESAs, but ruled that the program was improperly funded. Choice opponents were quick to declare that the ESA program is dead, but as Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice noted, the program is only mostly dead, which means it is slightly alive.

Whether the program is fully revived depends entirely on the lawmakers who won plaudits for enacting it in the first place. On Monday, the legislature will meet in a special session to consider whether to subsidize the construction of a football stadium for the Raiders. Fixing the ESA funding would be a much more productive and beneficial use of their time. Sadly, Governor Brian Sandoval announced this week that ESAs would not be on the agenda:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Is Educational Choice Conservative?

 

School ChoiceYesterday, Texas lawmakers held hearings about expanding educational choice in the Lone Star State. Perhaps the most prominent proposal was an education savings account (ESA), which would allow families to take a portion of the state funds that would have been spent on their child in their assigned district school and instead use them on private school tuition, tutoring, text books, online courses, homeschool materials, and more. Parents could roll over unused funds from year to year to save for later educational expenses, including college. Because ESAs offer spending flexibility and the ability to save–which creates an incentive to economize–they are an improvement on traditional school vouchers.

However, a Republican member of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff, offered the following objection to the proposed ESAs:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. There’s No Such Thing as a “Public” School

 

shutterstock_356921591Perhaps the most pervasive myth about our nation’s education system is the notion that “public schools have to take all children.” Last year, when criticizing charter schools that she claimed, “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids,” Hillary Clinton quipped, “And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody.” In fact, they do not. At best, so-called “public” schools have to take all children in a particular geographic area, although they can (and do) expel children based on their behavior. They are more appropriately termed “district schools” because they serve residents of a particular district, not the public at large. Privately owned shopping malls are more “public” than district schools.

This wouldn’t be a serious problem if every district school offered a quality education but, in fact, they do not. Rather, the quality of education that the district schools provide tends to be highly correlated with the income levels of the residents of those districts. As Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation and I noted last year, our housing-based system of allocating education leads to severe inequities:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. A Victory for Religious Liberty and Educational Choice in Nevada

 

School ChoiceDismissing a challenge from the ACLU, yesterday Las Vegas District Court Judge Eric Johnson ruled that Nevada’s education savings account (ESA) program is constitutional. Nevada parents who opt out of the public school system can receive ESAs into which the state deposits a portion of the funding that the state would have provided had their child attended a public school. Parents can then use the ESA funds on a wide variety of approved educational expenses, including private school tuition, tutoring, text books, homeschool curricula, online learning, educational therapy, or even college courses.

The ESA program was set to go into effect this year, however, it is still on hold due to a second lawsuit in which a judge issued an injunction halting administration of the program. That case is currently pending before the Nevada Supreme Court, and it is possible that the two legal challenges will be merged.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. On Religious Liberty, the Bathroom Wars, and Educational Choice

 

shutterstock_112057673Every now and then, Thomas Sowell writes a column titled “Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene” where he offers up gems like “Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe.”

I’m no Thomas Sowell, but here are a few of my own (much less pithy or clever) random thoughts the passing education policy scene:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Shake Off the Trump Blues and Advance School Choice

 

imageWith Trump on the verge of coronating himself King of the GOP, the conservative movement is in disarray. Unsurprisingly, the Ricochetti themselves are a microcosm of the movement generally. There are postmortems, dire warningspredictions of doom, expressions of hopecalls to fall in line, the burning of GOP registration cards, plenty of acrimony, pleas for civility, and even explanatory pop-culture allegories.

While conservatives work all that out, I have a suggestion: Shake off the Trump Blues and keep pushing ahead with liberty-friendly policies at the state level. One of the most important policies conservatives should be working to advance is school choice.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Don’t Settle for the School Choice Camel’s Whisker

 

In the era of Obamacare, EPA overreach, and job-killing minimum wage increases, the spread of educational choice policies seems like one of the few areas where conservatives and libertarians are succeeding.

However, the scale of that success is much less than it may appear.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Watching the Education Policy Watchmen

 

shutterstock_47640616Earlier this week, respected researchers from two universities released a four-part study on the effects of Louisiana’s school voucher program. Yet even though the researchers provided a layman’s summary of their findings, media coverage of their study varied significantly.

What makes for better or worse coverage of new research? Well, first the reporter needs to tell us what the study found and why it’s important. She should also provide context for those findings. Are they consistent with or divergent from the findings of previous research? Particularly in the latter case, good reporting will also explore the underlying causes of the findings, especially as the study’s authors understand them. And since reporters rarely have a background in policy research, they should consult with multiple experts who have different views about how to interpret the study’s findings or what their implications are. This being the 21st century, online reporting should contain a direct link to the study so that readers can easily access it to learn more. Finally, because the “tl;dr” crowd often sees only the headline, the headline should be accurate. (Note: editors usually choose the headline, not the reporters.)

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. How Congress Should — and Shouldn’t — Bolster School Choice

 

School ChoiceThis week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on “Expanding Education Opportunity through School Choice.” As I’ve written before, there are lots of great reasons to support school choice policies, but Congress should not create a national voucher program:

It is very likely that a federal voucher program would lead to increased federal regulation of private schools over time. Once private schools become dependent on federal money, the vast majority is likely to accept the new regulations rather than forgo the funding.

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