- Fear and loathing, from the school board to the statehouse
The mainstream resistance to school choice has embraced the language of fear and unrest.
- The Other Federal Takeover
In other words, the federal government is on the precipice of dictating the basic curriculum for every public school in America, and doing so without even the semblance of following the constitutional, legislative process. It’s not just a federal takeover, but an executive branch takeover. Why hasn’t this gotten the sort of attention that’s been showered on health care?
- Changes to Coverdell Education Savings Account: Unwise and Unfair
After bailing out the big banks, the car companies, and others, allowing kindergarten through 12th grade Coverdell account disbursements to expire would be a clear signal on the part of legislators that middle-class families can be ignored. Congress would be wise, however, to show that Mom and Dad investing in their children’s education is a priority. Coverdell accounts have empowered parents to better direct their children’s educational options. Federal policymakers should work to ensure these options are upheld in the coming year. Congress and the President should remove the uncertainty and make the rules regarding these accounts permanent now.
- Bill Promoting ‘Critical Thinking’ in Science Classrooms Passes TN Legislature
Debate over HB368 was prominent last year in the Legislature, but caused little political ruckus this year. According to the language of the measure, teachers and school officials “shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific subjects required to be taught under the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education.” The upper chamber OK’d the legislation 25-8 last week, seconded by the House, which voted 72-23 Monday to send the bill to the governor for final approval.
- Legislation Preventing Public Disclosure of Teacher Eval Scoring Headed to Governor
Parents and taxpayers would not have access to teacher scoring data under a bill that has passed both chambers of the Tennessee Legislature. The Senate gave its unanimous support to SB3024 Monday, requiring that estimates of teacher effectiveness gleaned from student’s TCAP tests, be kept confidential. The House version of the bill passed that chamber last week by a vote of 95-0.
- When it comes to school choice, even national security warnings don’t move the status quo
Millions of American children need better educations now. Yet even in the face of national security warnings and evidence that the U.S. K-12 system is falling behind world achievement levels for both the weakest and strongest of its students, we are constantly told we must wait. We must repair the traditional public education system that continues to deteriorate despite vastly expanded funding in real dollars over recent decades. When are we finally done waiting?
- Proposed Changes to Georgia Voucher Program Will Strengthen Opportunities for Students with Special Needs
The Georgia constitutional amendment for a charter school authorizing commission isn’t the only school choice news making headlines in the Peach State. The state legislature is working to expand the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program, a voucher program for children with special needs.
- Trust us, we’re not nationalizing curriculum
The battle over national standards and tests is ultimately a battle over who controls the content taught in every local public school in America. Those fighting to regain control over standards and curriculum in state houses across the country are defending against a nationalization of education. Secretary Duncan’s robust involvement shows just how much control the Department of Education will gain if states surrender standards-setting control to Washington. Governors, state legislators, parents and taxpayers would be wise to resist those efforts.