- Why we support school choice
Colorado’s political leadership has now coalesced around school choice. In Colorado, school choice has appropriately always enjoyed support from both Democrats and Republicans. School choice appeals to the best instincts of both political parties. It allows Democrats to adhere to their core principals of equality and opportunity – so that a student’s zip code does not determine the quality of their education. It allows Republicans to introduce moderate – and managed – market dynamics and the beginnings of limited competition in the public school sector.
- Bloomberg on public teacher evaluations: Parents have the right to know, and anyway you asked for it
In response to a question about whether the controversial release of teacher-evaluation data served a useful public purpose, the mayor said, “The arrogance of some people to say that the parents don’t have the ability to look at numbers and put them in context and to make decisions is just astounding to me. Parents have a right to know every bit of information that we can possibly collect about the teacher that’s in front of their kids. This is about our kids’ lives. This is not about anything else.
- In Louisiana the education money will REALLY follow the child
This is pretty significant. In many voucher programs there may be separate funding or appropriations for the program from the state, but in Louisiana the state board just voted to allow the state funding formula to follow the child to a private school. This means that the program could actually save money if private tuition is less than the public school cost and that schools will feel real competition as the money is attached to the backs of children. Since Louisiana has a robust charter sector and is working to allow student-based budgeting where the money follows the child to public schools, Louisiana is on the road to becoming a state model for education funding, where the money would be attached to children and the state would allow the parent to select between any public, private, or nonprofit school.
- Achievement School District Launches Effort To Accelerate Performance Of Six Memphis Schools
Three high potential Memphis schools currently among the bottom 5 percent in academic performance in Tennessee will be operated by the Achievement School District next fall as part of a massive effort to transform under-performing schools and invest in communities across the state.
- Principals Won’t Fire Bad Teachers
As the research shows, even when principals are given permission to fire bad teachers, they choose not to.
- School Choice Mythbusters
Every day, opponents to education reform spend a lot of time, energy, and money perpetuating myths about school choice. But the reality is that not only do private school choice programs empower parents to choose the education they feel is best for their children, but they also work! We’ve compiled some of the most prevalent myths on school choice and what the facts really say about educational options:
- Union hijacking of charter schools
If you can’t beat them, take them over. That seems to be the new union strategy on charter schools. Charter school teachers usually are not required to join existing union collective-bargaining units. This means charter schools can more easily promote good teachers and fire bad ones. But, of course, this has made charter schools targets for hostile union action. Unions correctly view charter schools as a threat to their stranglehold over public education and the tax dollars that come with it. A report sponsored in part by the Progressive Policy Institute summarized the source of the hostility between the two sides:
- Two sides of Obama’s federal takeover of education
Waivers recently granted by President Obama to 10 states allowing them to escape the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act are themselves filled with prescriptive dictates from the administration. Obama offers seeming flexibility with one hand, while increasing control by Washington with the other. Indeed, the farther away policymaking is seated from ordinary citizens, the less powerful and influential those citizens are. Even if the public finally finds out that the national standards, tests and curriculum, which are financed with their hard-earned tax dollars, are deficient or objectionable, there will be precious little they will be able to do about it. Instead of taking away power from parents, as the Obama-supported national standards would do, the best way to improve the quality of education would be to promote competition and empower parents by giving them the ability to choose the public or private school that best meets the needs of their children.
- The Fiscal Effects of School Choice Programs on Public School Districts | The Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice
Public schools throughout the country are not harmed by school choice programs as most of their costs are flexible and can change with student enrollment, according to a new report issued by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The report entitled “The Fiscal Effects of School Choice Programs on Public School Districts,” found that 36 percent of public school expenses are “fixed” costs while 64 percent are “variable” costs over a one year period. “This means when public schools lose students to a school that better meets their needs, there is no fiscal harm,” said Ben Scafidi, a senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation and author of the report. “They actually have more money when students leave because there are fewer to educate, and they get to keep some of the allotted funds to educate them.” The report showed that if school systems retain 36 percent of the funds to educate each student when children leave, then they will be able to fund “fixed” costs that remain with school systems. “Fixed” costs are related to buildings and other capital investments. “Variable” costs cover instruction, curriculum and other related costs. The report estimates that the average spending per child across the United States was $12,450 during the 2008-09 academic year. Fixed costs account for about $4,482 per student on average. “If districts have school choice programs and lose a few hundred children, they really are benefitting financially because they keep many of the dollars spent on each child,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation. “In no other business in America do you still get paid for not having a customer to serve.” Scafidi added that “variable” costs which cover instruction and learning can easily be reduced when a student departs because there are fewer students to teach – especially from one year to the next. “It’s like when children go off to college; families usually reduce household spending,” he said. “So too is it possible for public schools to reduce spending.” There currently are 34 school choice programs in 19 states and other jurisdictions including voucher, tax credit and education savings account programs to offer parents the opportunity to utilize their own tax dollars to transfer to the school of their choice.
- House panel OKs education bills, but hopes dim for big reforms
On strict party-line votes, a key House panel on Tuesday cleared the final two pieces of the Republican education-reform agenda. Not a single Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted for the bills, part of a larger package to replace the decade-old and widely maligned No Child Left Behind law. While the legislation will likely clear the GOP-led House sometime this year, its prospects in the Democrat-controlled Senate are dim. The deep partisan divide on display Tuesday, with Democrats charging that the Republican approach would return American education to a pre-civil rights era with little or no oversight from the federal government, makes it unlikely the two sides will reach a compromise in the foreseeable future.