Tag: school choice

Richard Epstein looks at a recent Supreme Court ruling that could have major implications for when and how religious institutions can access public money.

NYT Gets It Wrong on Student Success

 

The New York Times didn’t need President Donald Trump to speak in favor of parental choice in education in his address to Congress this week to doubt its value—though that helped. Trump has said plenty in spurts of 140-characters-or-less to provoke the Times’s editors to scrutinize (putting it mildly) the President’s agenda.

On school choice, the Gray Lady’s editorial page decided “free-market mechanisms that work well in business can be damaging when applied to the lives of schoolchildren.” Here’s where parents and state policymakers should have a closer look at the evidence.

The Times uses a recent study of Ohio’s K-12 private school vouchers as evidence school choice failed students. The publicly-funded private school scholarships in this study are available to children assigned to failing public schools—a situation that could also be damaging to students if left unchecked. Thomas B. Fordham Institute researchers found that voucher students performed worse academically than their peers in public schools.

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Frederick Douglass, speaking in 1894 in Manassas, Va., said, “To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature.” This quotation appeared in Daniel Henninger’s latest op-ed in the WSJ, explaining that the black establishment continues to block the creation of charter schools and school choice, to the detriment of […]

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Today marks the last day of School Choice Week 2017, a nationwide celebration with more than 21,000 events in all 50 state.  But even though the uplifting message of the week is stronger than ever, we want to break down why all these rallying cries absolutely must be transformed into real political action.  That’s why we’re bringing you a special American Enterprise Institute presentation by Professor Howard Fuller of Marquette University, who will explain the role of race and class in modern education reform.

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:

 But before parents could begin volunteering, a teachers union member filed a formal complaint with the school system, objecting to the parents’ plan. Several weeks later, a union representative appeared at a local school council meeting and informed parents that the union would not stand for parental volunteers in the library. Although the parents intended to do nothing more than help students check books in and out, the union claimed that the parents would be impermissibly filling a role reserved for teachers. The volunteer project was shut down following the meeting and the library is currently being used for dance classes.

Want Satisfied Parents? Empower Them to Choose

 

Parents are more satisfied with their child’s learning environment when they choose it. Indeed, as economist Tyler Cowen put it recently, “the single most overwhelming (yet neglected) empirical fact” about educational choice programs is that “they improve parent satisfaction.” A slew of new reports add a number of hefty boulders to the mountain of evidence.

As I explained in greater detail last week, bureaucrats tend to focus excessively on test scores but parents take a more holistic approach to evaluating the quality of an education provider. As Cowen notes, “parents may like the academic programs, teacher skills, school discipline, safety, student respect for teachers, moral values, class size, teacher-parent relations, parental involvement, and freedom to observe religious traditions, among other facets of school choice.” Parents know their children are more than scores.

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Lawrence Krauss, professor at Arizona State University, recently opined in The New Yorker that the Trump administration is declaring a “war on science.”[1] With the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, Krauss foregrounds education as part of this battle: DeVos is a fundamentalist Christian with a long history of opposition to science. If her […]

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School Choice Program Saved up to $3.4 Billion for Taxpayers

 

shutterstock_520970764By choosing Betsy DeVos as his nominee for the Department of Education, Donald Trump has proven his seriousness about increasing school choice and ending the Beltway’s micromanagement of local education. But whether the subject is charter schools, vouchers, distance learning, or education savings accounts, the teachers’ unions have cried foul. Their interest isn’t students, parents, or even individual teachers, but rather preserving their cut of the $670 billion K-12 market.

One set of programs that flies somewhat under the radar are tax-credit scholarship programs. Available in 15 states, they let individuals and corporations donate to scholarship granting organizations in return for tax credits. The organizations then use the donations to give scholarships to students to offset tuition payments at a private school of their families’ choice. A win-win, right? Well, union bosses don’t think so.

The National Education Association claimed that each tax-credit scholarship “threatens funding for public schools and other public services.” Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and bête noire of educational reformers, alleged “they drain cash away from public school districts, particularly those that serve disadvantaged kids who can least afford it.”

Trump Picks School Choice Champion to Run Ed Dept

 

90In a perfect world, the President-elect would dissolve the Department of Education, salt the earth, and erect a charter school in its place. But a close second is nominating a Secretary of Education who will take on the meddling DC bureaucrats and ossified teachers’ unions. Trump did just that today by naming school choice enthusiast Betsy DeVos to the post.

“Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Ms. DeVos, a Republican mega-donor and chairman of the American Federation for Children, vowed to help Mr. Trump remake the education system.

What Trump’s First 100 Days Might Mean for Education Policy

 

School ChoicePresident-Elect Donald Trump has released his plans for his first 100 days in office. After outlining proposals for term limits, a trade war, and mass deportations, the plan includes the following paragraph on education policy:

School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.

The details are far from clear, but it appears that his education policy will focus on three areas:

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Recently, The Federalist published an article in which the author sincerely argued that two popular social movements – Black Lives Matter (BLM) and anti-abortion/pro-life activists – pursue a common goal: the respect and preservation life. Christina Marie Bennett- a writer and pro-lifer who works with pregnant women in crisis environments for the benefit of both […]

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Hey, you there… so it’s Monday morning, long work week ahead, we know how it is.  That’s why on this week’s OppCast, we lay out everything you need to know in politics for this home stretch of election season.  From what we’ve learned since the debate, to how online hacking is shaping partisan politics, we’ll get your week started with a strong, caffeinated dose of opportunity.

 

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:

Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump Are Talking Education. Why Not?

 

School ChoiceWhile Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fight about events from 20 years ago and their approval ratings continue to fall, there are important issues worth discussing and debating. Education has only been brought up in the context of secondary education and it’s been Hillary Clinton preening about “free” college tuition. Donald Trump has largely ignored the issue.

Education is largely a state and local issue so it doesn’t rise to the level of importance in presidential elections as it might in a gubernatorial election. Still, it is an issue that resonates. School choice, whether it is access to private schools through opportunity scholarships or the expansion of charter schools, is quickly becoming an issue that is consistently finding approval, even in geographic areas that might have rejected it ten years ago.

For example, in Massachusetts:

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:

“It is nothing more than a huge handout with no way to control the price tag — hardly a conservative idea,” Ratliff said.

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.”

Later that day, Trump released a full list of education reform proposals: