Tag: school vouchers

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 of the education system. A short video is shown, detailing a typical Liberian school and outlining the PSL program. Following, Minister Werner delivers his address, discussing the rationale behind the program and its early successes.

Following Minister Werner’s remarks, panel of experts on education in the developing world discusses the implications of the PSL program. Alejandro Caballero of the International Finance Corporation states that private operators could provide substantial benefits to developing world schools. Amy Black of Results for Development stresses the importance of the government’s role in partnerships between public and private schools. Seth Andrew of Democracy Builders and Bridge International Academies believes that delaying the expansion of the model to analyze the program results, though understandable, would hurt students who are in failing schools.

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

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In light of Donald Trump’s recent appointment of pro-voucher Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education, I wanted to offer a different perspective on the idea of school vouchers. Good schooling, especially private schooling, is not an individual right–just as a top-notch medical plan is not a right to be guaranteed to every individual. Education and medical […]

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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.

The Evidence Is In: School Choice Works

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?

Progressives originally designed the minimum wage to keep racial minorities out of work. As Princeton Professor Thomas C. Leonard, author of Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era, detailed in the LA Times, progressives in the early 20th century proposed the minimum wage as a solution to the supposed problem of “race suicide,” the idea that immigrants and racial minorities were working for cheap wages, thereby undercutting the wages of American-born whites, who in turn had fewer children rather than lower their standard of living. (You hear echoes of this in the modern alt-right’s complaints about “white genocide.”) In the long run, these eugenics-enamored progressives feared that “inferior races” would “outbreed and displace their white Anglo-Saxon betters.”

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.)

Based on those criteria, I came up with the following, quick-and-dirty rating system to determine the quality of reporting on new research. As with other rating systems, results will vary depending on the weight given each criterion. But like speed limits, although the precise levels of points assigned are ultimately arbitrary (why not 67.5 miles per hour?), I nevertheless believe they reasonably reflect the relative importance of each criterion.

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.

When a state adopts regulations that undermine its school choice program, it’s lamentable but at least the ill effects are localized. Other states are free to chart a different course. However, if the federal government regulates a national school choice program, there is no escape. Moreover, state governments are more responsive to citizens than the distant federal bureaucracy. Citizens have a better shot at blocking or reversing harmful regulations at the state and local level rather than the federal level.