Tag: school choice

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ). They discuss IJ’s 2020 landmark U.S. Supreme Court win in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and its implications for state Blaine Amendments, bigoted legal barriers that have blocked religious liberty and school choice for over a century. They delve into the current legal and political status of school choice in America, at a time of unprecedented support for education savings account, education tax credit, and voucher programs. As lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Maine school tuitioning case, Carson v. Makin, recently granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court, he explains the central issues, and what another major victory could mean for religious school parents. They then turn to higher education, and Michael offers thoughts on why access to religiously-affiliated primary and secondary schooling is still viewed so differently than students attending religiously-affiliated colleges and universities through state and federal grant and loan programs.

Stories of the Week: EdWeek reports that school board meetings across the country have become increasingly rancorous as a result of growing partisanship, the lack of local news coverage, and social media – to the detriment of students’ academic success. The U.S. Department of Education announced the expansion of the Second Chance Pell program, allowing up to 200 colleges to provide prison education programs for those who have previously been unable to access federal need-based financial aid.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara celebrate the 30th anniversary of charter schools with Nina Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. They discuss recent research showing that African-American and low-income students in charter public schools outpace their peers in traditional district schools. Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) and other sources have shown that Boston’s charter public schools lead all the nation’s urban public schools in terms of academic performance and bridging achievement gaps. Yet, special interests and policymakers have been calling for stringent limitations and regulations on these schools and their growth. Nina offers insights on where the right-left charter school coalition stands and how to bridge recent partisan divisions. She shares thoughts on how the sector can grow despite the rising influence of teacher unions in states with some of the highest-performing charters. Nina also describes efforts charter schools have made to become leaders in increasing teacher diversity, and they explore how teacher- and school-driven improvements in charters such as KIPP may hold the key to the future of K-12 education reform.

Stories of the Week: In Maine, a state scholarship program that assists families with tuition for public or private schools – but not religious schools – may become the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case. President Biden’s American Families Plan includes $9 billion to address the nation’s teacher shortage, providing funding for teacher preparation, professional development, and retention programs, as well as initiatives to increase teacher diversity.

Covid Debacle Should Spur Education Reform

 

The Arizona legislature failed this year to pass a bill that would have required third-grade students to be held back if they failed to learn to read adequately. The unsuccessful bill uncovered some unhappy truths about the state of education.

Third grade is recognized as a critical progression point for reading proficiency. Students through third grade are taught to read, after which they are expected to read to learn. Those unable to do so suffer a lifelong handicap in today’s knowledge economy with enormous economic and social consequences.

In 2019, 60 percent of Arizona’s third-graders failed to meet our own reading standards. Unfortunately, nothing really new here.

Rob Long is on for Jim again today. Join Rob and Greg as they cheer states expanding their school choice programs as unions continue to keep public schools closed. They also discuss New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordering faster, preferential COVID tests for family and friends while the rest of New York waited much longer for results. They also shake their heads as San Francisco lefties state that whites and men will not be receiving welfare benefits. And they wrap up with their memories of the assassination attempt again President Reagan 40 years ago today.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Tommy Schultz, CEO-elect of the American Federation for Children (AFC). They discuss how COVID-19 school closures have increased the interest in alternatives to public schools, and what AFC’s polling shows on shifts in attitudes toward school choice options in both urban and rural communities. He shares predictions for school choice policymaking in the Biden administration and the largely Republican-controlled state legislatures. They explore the past successes of the left-right coalition in K-12 education reform that delivered charter schools, testing, and accountability, but has since splintered, and how the remnants of that coalition might respond to the teachers’ unions. Tommy offers insights into how advocates will need to communicate and mobilize state-by-state over the next five years to dramatically expand private school choice programs like vouchers, scholarship tax credits, and education savings account programs, which currently serve approximately 550,000 out of 56 million total K-12 students.

Stories of the Week: A new Pioneer Institute report on Boston’s only vocational high school (which also received coverage in The Boston Globe) calls for improved alignment between course and co-op offerings, and actual employment opportunities. New research from EducationNext raises concerns about over-diagnosis of Black and Hispanic students in special education programs. In some school districts, students are continuing remote learning, even while playing on sports teams – is this the right message to send about academic priorities?

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I contend much of today’s political turmoil can be traced back to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The Occupy Wall Street movement sprung up on the left, and the Tea Party movement on the right. While there are many differences between the two movements, both expressed dissatisfaction with the state of our economic system, which […]

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On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” CEO-elect of the American Federation for Children Tommy Schultz joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss how teachers unions are hurting children’s academic and social development by pushing to keep schools closed and why their anti-scientific demands highlight the importance of school choice.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard kick off National School Choice Week with Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, co-author with Kate Hardiman of a new book, Unshackled: Freeing America’s K–12 Education System. Justice Bolick shares his experiences serving on a state supreme court, and how it has shaped his understanding of America’s legal system. They discuss his new book reviewing the country’s ongoing struggles with the often outdated, command-and-control structure of its K-12 education system and how state lawmakers can best craft legislation to expand flexible, parent-driven educational options. They also talk about the disastrous effects of COVID on student learning, and U.S. schools’ competitive disadvantage relative to international peers. Justice Bolick offers analysis of some of the possible legal, bureaucratic, and educational challenges and opportunities in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Espinoza case, including fewer impediments to school choice at the state level. They also talk about why religion and schooling remain such a third-rail issue in the K-12 system, in contrast to America’s decentralized and choice-driven higher-education model, in which students can access government scholarships and loans regardless of where they attend college or university.

Stories of the Week: With Catholic school enrollment declining across the country, Cara previews some of the key points in Pioneer Institute’s new book (which she co-edited), A Vision of Hope: Catholic Schools in Massachusetts. A number of President Biden’s appointees to the U.S. Department of Education have ties to First Lady Jill Biden, a former educator, or to teachers’ unions. Is a close White House linkage likely to improve results for students, or just continue the status quo.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Caroline Hoxby, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. Professor Hoxby shares what inspired her interest in charter schools, school choice, and social mobility, and the major lessons she has learned about K-12 education policymaking in the U.S. throughout her career. She discusses the benefits of randomized lottery-based research in yielding the most reliable charter school effectiveness data. They also delve into the growing disconnect between the nation’s increasing per-pupil expenditures and stagnant student achievement, and the long-term implications of these data regarding social mobility and the nation’s economic vitality.

Stories of the Week: Will COVID-19 usher in a whole new approach to school funding that ties spending to students’ needs or mastery? Defying expectations based on past recessions, enrollment in K-12 private schools has increased during COVID, according to the results of a new survey of 160 independent schools in 15 states.

Corey DeAngelis is the director of School Choice at Reason Foundation and the Executive Director at Educational Freedom Institute. Corey and Bridget discuss school choice, which would mean allowing a tax payer’s education dollars to follow their child to wherever they’re getting their education – public school, private school, or charter school – rather than automatically being paid to their local school district. They delve into the effects of Covid and how families are seeing their school system leaving them high and dry while still getting their children’s education dollars, why school choice would be good for individual teachers, and where the money being poured into the school system is actually going. They also cover why this shouldn’t be a partisan issue since it’s a market-based reform in education and an equalizer in society, and they explore some of the arguments against school choice. Don’t miss Corey’s book School Choice Myths: Setting the Record Straight on Education Freedom.

Ep. 262 – Senator Ted Cruz joins Whiskey Politics with Dave Sussman for a special in-depth, long-form discussion on the critical issues heading into Election 2020; SCOTUS, Spygate, did the Senator say the Election may be a ‘Bloodbath’ for Republicans? Senator Cruz also discusses his incredible new book One Vote Away detailing the most pivotal Supreme Court cases of our time, and will Ted Cruz accept a SCOTUS nomination from President Donald Trump?

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Federal law creates a mass of minor observances, honoring this group and that cause, all through the year. Current events and religions create additional overlays of important dates, noted by the president of the United States in his official capacity. There is an element of boilerplate, of consistent wording framing annual observances across administrations. Look […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York’s state government over the content of instruction. They explain “substantial equivalency” statutes and their potential impact on a wide array of private and religious schools, as well as on parental rights, K-12 education policy, and religious liberty in America. Bedrick and Greene draw comparisons between substantial equivalency regulations and the bigoted, 19th-century Blaine Amendments that were recently weakened as a result of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. They express concerns about growing interference by state departments of education, regardless of the paltry level of funding they distribute to private schools through Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or other programs.

Stories of the Week: In Baltimore, the school district has formed a promising partnership with the Recreation & Parks office to give more than 1,000 students in-person access to their virtual learning lessons, in small cohort groups meeting in schools and rec centers. A New Hampshire town tuitioning program offers financial support to rural families who choose secular private schools for their children – but not to those choosing religious options. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, does that distinction still pass constitutional muster?

Nicole Stelle Garnett joins Brian Anderson to discuss the importance of Catholic schools, their struggle to compete with charter schools, and what the Supreme Court’s recent Espinoza decision will mean for private-school choice—the subjects of her story, “Why We Still Need Catholic Schools,” in City Journal’s new summer issue.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth, a retired teacher and charter school leader, and the widow of the late Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights leader, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. Dr. Shuttlesworth shares her and her siblings’ experience attending a poor-quality segregated school in Tennessee, and how it motivated them to integrate an all-white elementary school in the 1960s. She also discusses her late husband’s central role in the Civil Rights Movement, bringing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Birmingham, as well as voter registration, and reforms to law enforcement and the legal system. She explores what inspired her to become a teacher and charter school leader, and why educational opportunity is so critical to fulfilling the vision of equality that civil rights leaders like the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth articulated.

Stories of the Week: What will the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case mean for our neediest families? The Wall Street Journal reports that some affluent parents, concerned about school reopening plans this fall, are turning to alternatives, such as online classes, outdoor programs, or joining other households to create micro-schools. But would these same parents support school choice programs for other, less fortunate families?

This week, in a special segment of “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are honored to be joined by Kendra Espinoza, lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, just decided yesterday, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and Erica Smith, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented the plaintiffs. Kendra shares what motivated her and her daughters, Naomi and Sarah, to take such a courageous stand for school choice and religious liberty, and describes her experience being the lead plaintiff in a high-profile Supreme Court case. She also discusses the other Montana moms involved in the case, their reaction to the successful outcome, and the realization of the impact it will have on so many families across the country. Erica shares her thoughts on the decision’s wide-ranging constitutional implications; some surprising aspects of the decision that may prompt future legal battles; and a preview of a state-by-state analysis on which states are best positioned to expand access to school choice now.

Story of the Week: Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case, involving Montana parents who were denied access to a state tax credit program when they sought to use it to send their children to religious schools. The Court held that Montana’s Blaine Amendment cannot be used to exclude religious school parents from the state education tax credit program. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

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President Trump, within the limits of the executive branch, has taken several significant steps in police reform. He did so in an executive order issued Monday, June 16, 2020. The focus is on training and transparency. Federal funds will be used, to the extent possible, to incentive states and departments to adopt certifications by existing […]

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Facts Over Slogans, Solutions Over Anarchy

 

If we do not truthfully diagnose the problem in America, systemic and otherwise, we will never make things right. Unfortunately for everyone, if we continue to ignore the body count that rises daily in the African-American community, and continue to focus on the exception to the exclusion of the rule, we’re toast.

What follows is not necessarily pleasant to read, and if I were in the NFL, academia, or a major media outlet, I suppose the wrath of God-knows-who would descend on me. But you know what? I didn’t spend 20 years on active duty and do three tours of duty in the Mideast and a year in Korea so that others can dictate my thoughts and words, and negate the rights I fought to preserve.

Let me start by placing a few facts on the table because ignoring them only makes the situation worse.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Tim Keller, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice, which has been defending school choice from legal challenges, largely from state Blaine Amendments, for 30 years. Tim describes IJ’s work on behalf of the plaintiffs in the high-profile Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the impact of the pandemic on the timing of the ruling. They explore the case’s prospects for success, and some potential political and legal responses in the event of a favorable outcome. They also delve into the national implications of another recent case in Maine, involving families battling a long-standing state law prohibiting public tuition payments to religious school parents. Tim also shares the backstory of Arizona’s popular Empowerment Scholarship, an education savings account program that he helped design and defend.

Stories of the Week: Despite COVID-19 school closures, the College Board will move forward with Advanced Placement exams; but will the increased security measures enacted to prevent cheating raise controversy? Around the world, temples and churches have emptied as a result of the pandemic, but religious leaders are using technology to stream their services, and help congregants celebrate Passover and Holy Week even in the absence of physical connection.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Anna Egalite, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. They discuss Anna’s experiences as a student growing up in Ireland and teaching at Catholic schools there and in Florida. She was inspired to pursue education policy after observing the differences between the two countries’ views of “public” and “private” education, and was surprised to find that families here didn’t have the same range of school options available to them as those in Europe. She also shares her research on the benefits of school voucher programs in India, which allowed students to attend private schools with longer days and lower rates of multi-grade teaching, with positive impacts on English language skills, especially for females. Lastly, they explore the role of family background on students’ long-term outcomes and intergenerational economic mobility.

Story of the Week: As the nation deals with COVID-19, Cara and Gerard discuss the implications for K-12 and higher education. Students across the country are shifting from campuses and classrooms to virtual learning; how prepared is our education system to deliver quality, online instruction? Are we doing enough to maintain community ties and minimize the disruption for low-income students and families, who have fewer supports?