Tag: school choice

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump Wants Dollars to Follow Students


-a97c8b5d79899838Donald Trump unveiled several policy specifics Thursday during a visit to an Ohio charter school. At the inner-city Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, Trump said, “As President, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty.”

He added, “If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”


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I’m running for the Illinois General Assembly and one of my main issues is changing the way Illinois pays for education. I’ve been looking around for programs that give a bigger role to parents and am drawn to Nevada’s Educational Savings Account. I’d like to hear from any Ricochetti who are Nevada residents to get […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. American Jewish Committee Endorses Abolishing Public Schools?


shutterstock_345233993In response to calls at the Republican National Convention for more school choice, the American Jewish Committee’s spokesperson announced that not only do they oppose the taxpayer subsidy of private schools, but they even oppose public schools. See for yourself:

For more than 50 years, school choice has been a contentious issue for American Jews. Decades ago, mainstream Jewish organizations were vociferous in defending the separation of church-and-state, worried that if the government got involved in funding religious schools in any way, it could lead to infringement on Jewish religious freedom. Those fears, according to American Jewish Committee associate general counsel Marc Stern, remain today.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The New York Times Misrepresents Charter School Research


Yesterday, the New York Times ran a front-page story purporting to show that “betting big” on charters has produced “chaos” and a “glut of schools competing for some of the nation’s poorest students.” (One wonders how many of those low-income families are upset that they have “too many” options.). However, the article’s central claim about charter school performance rests on a distorted reading of the data.

The piece claims that “half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools.” This is a distortion of the research from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Although the article actually cites this research – noting that it is “considered the gold standard of measurement by charter school supporters across the country” – it only does so to show that one particular charter chain in Detroit is low performing. (For the record, the “gold standard” is actually a random-assignment study. CREDO used a matching approach, which is more like a silver standard. But I digress.) The NYT article fails to mention that the same study found that “on average, charter students in Michigan gain an additional two months of learning in reading and math over their [traditional public school] counterparts. The charter students in Detroit gain over three months per year more than their counterparts at traditional public schools.”


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:


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.


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:


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.


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.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Should a Policy’s Racist History Matter?


shutterstock_54864934It’s funny. Left-wing opponents of school choice frequently carp about the fact that some segregationists thought school vouchers would be a swell way to avoid sending their kids to school with blacks, as though that’s a reason to oppose them today, even though research shows that school vouchers foster racial integration and their primary beneficiaries tend to be black and brown kids.

If so, why isn’t the extremely racist history of the minimum wage also relevant?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Government Regulations Block Child from Attending School of Choice Because He’s Black

Segregated water fountains in North Carolina, 1950. (Photographer: Elliott Erwitt)

It’s a story that’s almost impossible to believe in 2016. Edmund Lee, a third-grader attending a charter school in St. Louis, recently learned that he would no longer be able to attend his school after his family moved to St. Louis County. Their new location isn’t the problem — other students from that area are allowed to attend Gateway Science Academy. He can’t attend his school of choice because he’s black:

Certain rules in place allow some county residents the opportunity to attend a city charter school, but they must live in a district participating in transfer programs, and can not be an African-American.


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.)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. A Free Society Requires Educational Freedom


shutterstock_81053836Over at the Washington Post’s essential Volokh Conspiracy blog, David Kopel retells the fascinating and important story of how, in 1922, the US Supreme Court came to recognize the right to teach one’s children in a language other than English — an extension of the general right to raise and educate one’s children according to one’s conscience.

In 1919, Nebraska outlawed teaching students younger than 9th grade in any language other than English. Like the Blaine Amendments, such laws were primarily directed at Catholic and Lutheran schools, which often taught religious studies in the native tongues of children’s immigrant families. When Robert T. Meyer, a schoolteacher at a Lutheran school, was arrested for teaching in German, he appealed his conviction all the way to the US Supreme Court.


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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Last week’s Snowmaggedon brought out the usual zombie-apocalypse furor in my New Jersey township. Before the storm, every checkout aisle at the store was ten persons deep and the shelves were cleared of bottled water and rock salt. People white-knuckled their grocery carts and had that “I’ll go mano a mano with you for that […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What School Choice Supporters Can Learn from the Conservative Response to Trump


photo1This is National School Choice Week and Donald Trump appears poised to capture the GOP presidential nomination. What do the two have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing. But it seems the only way to get any attention these days is to talk about Trump, and who am I to argue?

Seriously though, I think there is a lesson for school choice advocates in how elements of the conservative movement are responding to the Trump phenomenon. One healthy conservative response has been self-reflection and self-criticism, particularly concerning the effectiveness of conservative messaging and the importance of understanding first principles. That’s something school choice advocates should do as well.


amelia-hamiltonRicochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel and KTAR-FM’s Jim Sharpe welcome writer Amelia Hamilton to explain the impact of school choice on Big Education and liberals’ unhinged reaction to her updating of “Little Red Riding Hood” for the NRA. Jon and Jim also discuss Planet 9, polonium-210, and the delicious Pollo Asado combo platter at El Chapo’s Mexican Hideout.

You can subscribe to the podcast here.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Markets & Curriculum


shutterstock_258757268The education system in the United States has been slipping lower and lower over time, despite massive increases in expenditures per student. This has made the case for school choice stronger than ever, especially in the era of the Internet. An education market is the best way to spark innovation, discover new ways of imparting information to students, and lower costs. And its biggest beneficiaries would be poorer, mostly minority, students who currently have the fewest options.

However, I want to focus on one particular aspect of market-based education that is often either overlooked or put in a wrong way: Educational choice shouldn’t be just about how — or how well — schools teach, but also about what they teach. One of the advantages of having an education market is that it’s more perceptive to changes in society (for example, the rise in importance of computer science) than top-down alternatives. This is important.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Arizona Governor’s End Run Around Education Unions


1409113012000-Doug-DuceyArizona Governor Doug Ducey is not your typical politician. He rose to prominence as the CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, turning a sleepy local chain with a handful of stores into an international brand with nearly 1,500 locations in 31 countries. Having mastered business, he entered state politics, spending four years as Arizona’s treasurer until his landslide election as governor one year ago.

Since his inauguration, Ducey has already fulfilled several of his campaign promises, but his trickiest pledge remained: How could he give more money to classrooms without raising taxes? For decades Arizona has led the nation in school-choice initiatives, but a years-long court case mandated more money for the K-12 education. This summer, a judge ordered that an additional $336 million be spent at once and perhaps as much as $1.3 billion in back payments in the near future. As I note in my article for The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Gov. Ducey knows how to wheel and deal while keeping his promises to the taxpayers:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Will New Data Nudge Democrats to Change Their Minds on Universal Pre-K?


twenty20_2550bff8-ceb5-404b-b988-0db7b62e480e_Preschool-e1445890691432I sense Ezra Klein did not enjoy writing this piece about new pre-K research:

Perhaps preschool doesn’t help children as much as we thought — or hoped. A new study by Mark Lipsey, Dale Farran, and Kerry Hofer finds that children who were admitted to Tennessee’s pre-K program were worse off by the end of first grade than children who didn’t make the cut.