Tag: school choice

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Charles Chieppo talk with Doug Lemov, author of the international bestseller, Teach Like a Champion. Doug describes how he became interested in charter schools, dating back to the late 1990s in Massachusetts, and how the sector developed into a nationally recognized success story. He discusses his experience with the Uncommon Schools charter network, cited by Stanford’s CREDO for helping students make the greatest academic gains of any large charter network in the country. They delve into some key findings from Teach Like a Champion on academics and teacher qualifications. They also explore how parents and schools should address COVID-related learning loss, especially among the most vulnerable students. Finally, Doug shares highlights from his new book, Re-Connect: Building School Culture for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging, on the impact of excessive screen time on students’ learning and mental health.

Stories of the Week: Is the future of gifted and talented education uncertain, and if so, will that remove incentives for some families to remain in public schools? In The Washington Post, Virginia education secretary Aimee Guidera outlines the Youngkin administration’s plans to ensure every family has access to a quality education.

Former secretary of education Betsy DeVos joins Reihan Salam to discuss the case for school choice, the curriculum wars, and the need for educational transparency.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Bernita Bradley, founder and president of Engaged Detroit, a parent-driven urban homeschooling advocacy coalition. Bernita shares her background, and how she became a nationally recognized parent advocate for urban K-12 education reform. They delve into problems with the chronically underperforming Detroit Public Schools, the ways in which parents have responded, and the tensions in Detroit between the traditional public schools and charter schools. Bernita describes her daughter’s experience during COVID, why it was a turning point, and how it sparked an interest in homeschooling. She shares how Engaged Detroit and other parent organizations’ efforts to organize parents across the country are progressing, and the main lessons K-12 education policymakers should be learning from parent-driven school reform efforts.

Stories of the Week: A new study from a team of political scientists found that those college grads who worked for Teach for America were significantly more likely to vote than their peers who applied but weren’t admitted to the program. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has called for the abolition of the agency she once led, and giving more authority back to states and localities.

Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate Arizona leading the way on universal school choice – including parents keeping money for private tuition or homeschooling. They also groan as Canada’s vaccine mandate for people entering the country will mean 10 players for the Kansas City Royals can’t play in Toronto. And they analyze polling showing potential Georgia ticket-splitting as Gov. Brian Kemp enjoys a healthy lead while GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker is slightly behind.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Arif Panju, a managing attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Carson v. Makin; and David Carson, the lead plaintiff. Panju shares the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin and the potential impact of the Court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. They delve into the origins of the Maine school tuitioning program, and the change in the early 1980s that resulted in discrimination against religious families. They also review the 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which was a major victory for the Institute for Justice and school choice. Carson reflects on what motivated his family to join this case and take such a courageous stand for school choice and religious liberty, and what it has been like being involved in such a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard review the impact of the Pell Grant program, launched 50 years ago this week, in helping to expand access to higher education. What would high school look like if it were designed to give students job-based learning experiences and marketable skills upon graduation?

Jim & Greg cheer on the Supreme Court decision that voucher programs must include religious schools if they include private schools. They also slam President Biden over his suggestion that high energy prices are getting us closer to his green energy agenda goals. And they condemn Missouri GOP Senate candidate and former governor Eric Greitens crazy RINO hunting ad.

 

Rob Long is in for Jim. Join Rob and Greg as they cheer the energy industry bluntly rebutting President Biden’s pathetic demonization of it by laying out how production, refining, and pricing actually work and how Biden’s vow to end fossil fuels is directly responsible for skyrocketing energy prices. They also slam Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for trying to derail school voucher options for parents. And they look at the left’s creepy war on pregnancy centers.

“Political Beats” host Scot Bertram is in for Jim today.  Scot and Greg cheer Iowa voters for ousting four Republican lawmakers who opposed legislation to give parents more options on how to educate their children. They also hammer Democrats and the media for greatly downplaying the arrest of a man attempting to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh not far from Kavanaugh’s home. And they groan as the Grammys try to attract more viewers by adding new awards, including one for “Best Song for Social Change.”

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Senator Patricia Puertas Rucker, a West Virginia state Senator and Chair of the Education Committee. Thanks to her leadership, West Virginia now has the widest, most universal education savings account program in America. Senator Rucker describes the lessons other state legislators across the country can learn from West Virginia’s successful experience. A Venezuelan immigrant, she shares her inspiring story of coming to the U.S., and becoming a state legislator who has led a transformational school choice initiative. She describes how her personal narrative, including her experience homeschooling her five children, some with special needs, drove her later efforts as an elected official to promote wider school choice. She reviews some of the central issues animating parent coalitions that have been prime movers in expanding school choice programs, especially for parents of children with special needs and families of faith.

Stories of the WeekSchool choice offers important alternatives to contentious political debates in K-12 education – but we should refrain from urging parents to abandon all traditional districts, many of which offer high-quality instruction. In New Mexico, a bipartisan group of legislators and parents overwhelmingly support charter public schools, contrary to the divisiveness over charters that exists in many states.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice. She shares her experience of receiving a Step Up for Students education tax credit to attend the Esprit de Corps Center for Learning, a small private school in Florida, and how it differed from her public school experience and changed her life. They delve into the organization she founded in 2020, Black Minds Matter, “a national movement to celebrate Black minds, support excellence, and promote the development of high-quality school options for Black students,” and Denisha explains the group’s long-term goals.

Stories of the Week: Results from a survey of 1,788 teachers in England revealed that 44 percent plan to leave the profession by 2027, citing the stressful workload and lack of public trust. Harvard is receiving criticism for its decision to end its undergraduate teacher education program and instead require candidates to enroll in the Graduate School of Education’s new Teaching and Teacher Leadership master’s program.

New MI adjunct fellows Kathleen Porter-Magee and Wai Wah Chin join Brian Anderson to discuss the New York City education system, the reforms the Eric Adams administration could make, and the continuing need for choice, pluralism, and merit.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Georgia Republicans Help Defeat School Choice Bill

 

There was a bill in Georgia Senate to provide a $6,000 voucher to help provide students with an alternative to failing public schools. Eight Republicans voted with Democrats to kill it

Sen. Steve Gooch, a Dahlonega Republican who supported the measure, said that some schools outside metro Atlanta cost less than $6,000, or not more than that amount. He predicted parents would “work harder” to earn a little more money to afford to send their child to a the school of their choice

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Leslie Hiner, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Director of Legal Defense & Education Center with EdChoice. They discuss the the landmark U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Brown v. Board of Education, among the most important in the nation’s history, and how Brown’s call for racial access and equity in K-12 education has helped inform the work and advocacy of the school choice movement. They also review important SCOTUS decisions such as Zelman v. Simmons-Harris in 2002 related to school vouchers; and Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue in 2020, extending a public scholarship program to religious schools. They then explore the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin, a Maine school tuitioning case that the Supreme Court will decide this year, and its wider implications for school choice in America. Ms. Hiner offers thoughts on the next legal battles, as well as how and where school choice opponents will likely strike back.

Stories of the Week: The American Federation of Teachers and the AAUP are planning to join forces on objectives such as protecting academic freedom, and supporting increased funding for public higher education. A Pew Research Center survey shows that support for school principals has declined among Republicans, likely connected to contentious policy debates around mask mandates and history curricula.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Virginia Walden Ford, education advocate and author of Voices, Choices, and Second Chances, and School Choice: A Legacy to Keep. She shares her experiences growing up and desegregating high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid-1960s, and the lessons she carried forward in her school choice advocacy in Washington, D.C. She describes how her role as a student, mother, and grandmother informed her leadership in the nation’s capital, and the steps it took to mobilize parents, work with politicians and policymakers, and successfully launch the city’s school voucher program. She offers insights on what school choice advocates need to do today to expand educational opportunity at a time of heightened partisanship. They also discuss what it was like working on her two books and 2019 film, Miss Virginia, based on her involvement with the civil rights movement and the fight for educational equality. Ms. Walden Ford concludes the interview with a reading from one of her books.

Stories of the Week: In New Jersey, school districts will no longer require mask wearing for the first time since the pandemic began – leaving the decision up to hundreds of local school leaders. In Boston, school superintendent Brenda Cassellius has announced plans to step down at the end of the school year, amid growing calls for state receivership.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Andrew Campanella, the president of National School Choice Week. They discuss why 2021 was called the “Year of School Choice,” and the implications of more academic options for K-12 education reform across America. They delve into the reasons why political support for even the highest performing charter public schools has eroded, the path forward to rebuild wider coalitions, and why for-profit school management companies for charters are so controversial. Andrew offers insights on innovative models that thrived during the pandemic, including micro-schools and learning pods, lessons we can draw from digital and blended learning, and how state policymakers have responded, in some cases with restrictive measures to undermine these models. Lastly, they discuss the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in favor of school choice advocates in the landmark Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue decision, the follow-on Carson v. Makin case, and its likely impact.

Related: Read Cara Candal’s new report for Pioneer Institute, “Modeling an Education Savings Account for Massachusetts.”

Northwestern University law professor John O. McGinnis joins Brian Anderson to discuss the Chicago Teachers Union’s push for remote learning, the political geography of the Windy City, and whether Chicagoans can hope for better governance.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Ian Rowe, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption. Ian shares his background in entrepreneurial school leadership and policy research, and how he became interested in K-12 education reform. They discuss his work to advance quality school options for poor and minority kids as CEO of Public Prep and now cofounder of Vertex Partnership Academies, a character-based network of schools based on International Baccalaureate’s (IB) world-class curriculum. He weighs in on why policymaking around school choice and academic content has become politicized, and the kinds of content K-12 students should be taught, through the 1776 Unites project for example, to prepare for college coursework, meaningful citizenship, and pathways to prosperity.

Stories of the Week: Should the state take over management of the Boston Public Schools? A Boston Globe opinion writer makes the case, noting the disproportionately low-income and minority student population enrolled in the district’s chronically underachieving schools. A US News story highlights the benefits of high school internship programs, to help students get a head start on career preparation before college.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, who represents the lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin. They discussed last week’s oral arguments, and the background and key legal contours of the case. Bindas described Maine’s school tuitioning program, and the pivotal change in the early 1980s that allowed for the state to discriminate against religious families. They explored the questionable distinction that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit drew between religious “status” and “use” in schooling, and the likely impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Espinoza decision, which was a major victory for the Institute for Justice and school choice. Bindas shared what makes him hopeful that the Court will rule in the Carsons’ favor, and what he thinks the next legal steps should be to support K-12 educational choice.

Read Pioneer’s amicus brief and op-ed in support of the plaintiffs in this case.

It’s Time to Move on School Choice Reform

 

Teachers’ unions appear to have run into a buzz saw. On October 25, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten tweeted enthusiastic support for a Washington Post article titled “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”

By November 6, Her message had drastically changed. “Parents have to be involved in their kids education. They must have a voice. At the same time, we have to teach kids how to – not what to think.” Sure, Randi.

In the interval, there had been a reality shock: the Virginia governor’s election, this time with an electorate that had wised up. Parents had been appalled when they remotely observed the overtly racist curriculum their children were being taught and then shocked at the blowback, including being charged with “white supremacy” when they protested.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Matthew Chingos, who directs the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. They discuss the “Year of School Choice,” the welcome 2021 trend of states across America expanding or establishing private school choice programs. Dr. Chingos describes the gradual evolution of private school choice programs from primarily school vouchers to tax credit scholarships and education savings account programs (ESAs), which have been growing in popularity, and how charter public schools fit into this growing portfolio. He offers thoughts, as a researcher and scholar, on how using data to analyze, enhance, critique, and hold schools accountable for students’ academic improvements has transformed K-12 policy discussions, and how COVID-19’s discontinuities will impact accountability and decision making. They explore another topic of Dr. Chingos’ research, the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis, reasons why tuition has skyrocketed, and some of the possible pathways forward. Lastly, he shares views on issues of academic quality within higher education, and whether colleges and universities have lost their sense of mission.

Stories of the Week: In California, where only 32 percent of the state’s fourth graders were performing at or above proficient in reading, a proposed ballot measure is taking aim at those practices that protect ineffective K-12 teaching. Despite being the home of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, the state of Washington has reported that a mere 9 percent of its public high school students were enrolled in computer science courses during the 2019-20 school year.