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Muda69

School Choice is Good For America; round 3

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School Choice Increases Earnings in Colombia: https://www.cato.org/blog/school-choice-increases-earnings-colombia

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There’s an ongoing debate about how we should evaluate the effectiveness of school choice policies. Last month, two education professors argued that standardized test scores should be “the measure of success.” Other education researchers  includingmyself – contend that we should take a more holistic approach by looking at other relevant long-term outcomes as well. After all, schools can do so much more than shape test scores. Here’s a case in point.

A just-released evaluation found that a school choice program Colombia improved vital long-run outcomes up to 20 years after students applied for private school vouchers in 1994.

 

Students who won a #SchoolChoice lottery placement in a private vocational high school in Colombia showed large labor market benefits up to 20 years later compared to the control group @DeAngelisCorey @BobBowdon @JasonBedrick @lina_anaya @MQ_McShane http://repositorio.banrep.gov.co/bitstream/handle/20.500.12134/9731/be_1087.pdf?sequence=9 

 
 
 
 

The research team, led by Stanford University’s Eric Bettinger, found that winning a lottery to use a voucher to attend a private school in 6th grade increased earnings by 8 percent overall and 11 percent for females by the time the students reached around 33 years of age. In other words, it looks like school choice could help close the gender wage gap in Colombia. The program also increased adult earnings by 17 percent for students who applied to vocational schools.

Higher earnings should be enough to demonstrate this voucher program’s success. But don’t drop the mic just yet.

The study also found that winning the voucher lottery reduced the likelihood of having a child as a teenager by 18 percent. Voucher lottery winners were also 17 percent more likely to complete secondary school on time and 13 percent more likely to enroll in tertiary education than the control group. The authors also reported that these long-run gains “occur at a low or possibly negative cost to taxpayers,” implying the program has a positive return on investment.

We should consider all relevant outcomes when evaluating any education policy, especially since families don’t want schools solely focusing on standardized tests. Families want schools to help their children succeed in life. And it looks like private schools in Colombia are doing just that.

 

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De Blasio Advisory Group Wants To Abolish Gifted Classes in NYC Public Schools: https://reason.com/2019/08/28/de-blasio-advisory-group-wants-to-abolish-gifted-classes-in-nyc-public-schools/

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New York City Mayor and 15th-ranked Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio professed his hatred last month for the "charter school movement," "high-stakes testing," and other educational policies bequeathed to him by his reform-friendlypredecessor, Michael Bloomberg. Beginning Tuesday, de Blasio, who enjoys sweeping control over his city's school system, has a golden opportunity to act upon his prejudice.

The mayor's hand-picked School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG) came out yesterday with a detailed set of recommendations to "desegregate" New York's public schools. Among the proposals: Phase out most gifted and talented programs and the tests upon which they are based, eliminate almost all criteria having to do with student performance (for instance, no more auditions for performing arts schools), and radically overhaul admissions policies so that "all schools represent the socioeconomic and racial diversity of their community school district within the next three years, and by their borough in the first five years…[and] the city as a whole" within 10.

That last sweeping item in particular illustrates the overarching goal that dominates discussion of New York's public education system (in which both of my daughters are enrolled). The report, consistent with the advisory group's name and leadership (the three co-chairs are Hispanic Federation President José Calderón, NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes, and Maya Wiley, senior vice president for social justice at the New School), is fundamentally mobilized around the issue of demographic composition, rather than the problem of school quality.

The most telling statistics concern not the vast achievement gap between, say, charter schools and traditional public institutions among otherwise comparable populations of poor and minority kids, but rather the fact that whites and Asians disproportionately make it through most school "screens," whether they be tests that can be prepped for, or simple attendance criteria that can (with effort) be met.

"The current 'Screened' and Gifted and Talented programs…segregate students by race and socioeconomic status," the report concludes. "Today they have become proxies for separating students who can and should have opportunities to learn together…These programs segregate students by race, class, abilities and language and perpetuate stereotypes about student potential and achievement."

.....

A gigantic race to the bottom, and using race as the scapegoat to gut talented and gifted programs.  Shameful.  But then again when it comes to government education everybody needs to just be the same cogs in the machine.

As one of the comments to this story stated:

"As a recovering public school teacher, and I can tell you that dumping everyone into one big mixing pot classroom ain’t gonna help. Teaching to the bottom only wastes the talent of the cream of the crop who could actually amount to something, while teaching only the brainiacs in a mixed classroom is nearly impossible while the future welfare cases are snoring loudly (at best).

DeBlasio and his committee see only skin color and suckers for the “they’ve got more than you” tripe."

 

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Homeschooling and Educational Freedom: Why School Choice Is Good for Homeschoolers: https://www.cato.org/publications/briefing-paper/homeschooling-educational-freedom-why-school-choice-good-homeschoolers

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Compulsory-schooling laws spread throughout the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their grip became more far-reaching. As mandatory schooling extended earlier into childhood and later into adolescence for more of a child’s day and year, the once widespread and accepted practice of homeschooling virtually disappeared. It reemerged in the early 1970s, when countercultural left “hippies” kept their children out of school and educated them at home or on back-to-the-land communes. While progressives may have launched the modern homeschooling movement, Christian conservatives expanded it. Seemingly disparate in their motivations, both groups rejected state-controlled, institutional schooling and sought a more personalized, child-centered approach to education. As education historian Milton Gaither wrote:

The progressive left had long harbored romantic ideals of child nature, born of Rousseau and come of age in the progressive education movement of the early twentieth century. Countercultural leftists inherited this outlook, and when they had children their instinct was to liberate the kids from what they took to be the deadening effects of institutionalization by keeping them at home. And the countercultural right, despite ostensibly conservative and biblical theological commitments, had basically the same view.2

During the 1980s and 1990s, the number of homeschoolers swelled, reaching 850,000 by 1999, the first year the Department of Education began tracking homeschooling data as part of its National Household Education Surveys Program. Today, while religious homeschoolers remain a significant demographic, fewer families are choosing homeschooling for overtly religious reasons. By 2012, “concern about the environment of other schools” exceeded religious motivations as the primary catalyst for homeschooling.3

Over the past decade, homeschooling families have become much more reflective of the general U.S. population. The long-held stereotype of homeschooling families as white, middle-class, and Christian is changing. Homeschooling has become a mainstream option for many families who are fed up with increasingly standardized mass schooling. According to the New York Times, “Once mainly concentrated among religious families as well as parents who wanted to release their children from the strictures of traditional classrooms, home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that have come along with the Common Core, new academic standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states.”4 Business Insider went so far as to say that “homeschooling could be the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century.”5

Homeschoolers have become more urban (Figure 1), secular, and socioeconomically diverse, and more single parents and dual-working parents have taken to homeschooling. But perhaps the most significant recent shift in the homeschooling population is its growing racial and ethnic diversity that is now more reflective of American society (Figure 2). Between 2007 and 2012, the percentage of black homeschoolers doubled to 8 percent of all homeschoolers, and the percentage of Hispanic homeschoolers continued to mirror the overall K-12 distribution of Hispanic children, at around one-quarter of all students.6

The dramatic rise in the number of black homeschoolers, in particular, may be a response to more black parents finding district school environments unsatisfactory. For instance, concerns about systemic racism, a culture of low expectations and poor academic outcomes for children of color, and a standardized curriculum that often ignores the history and culture of black people have catalyzed much of the rise in the black homeschooling movement. The Atlantic reported in 2018 that for some black homeschoolers, “seizing control of their children’s schooling is an act of affirmation—a means of liberating themselves from the systemic racism embedded in so many of today’s schools and continuing the campaign for educational independence launched by their ancestors more than a century ago.”7

A more personalized, family-centered approach to education motivates many homeschoolers, but a key trend is using the legal designation of homeschooling to drive education innovation. Private learning centers and microschools are increasingly establishing themselves as independent organizations, not government-licensed schools, that support families who are legally recognized as homeschoolers. This approach can accelerate experimentation and entrepreneurship by freeing enterprising educators from restrictive schooling regulations and state licensing and allowing families more flexibility. Many of these learning centers and microschools let students attend several times a week, in some cases full time, enabling working parents, single parents, and others to register as homeschoolers and take advantage of versatile education models that stretch beyond conventional schooling.

Where Homeschooling Is Growing

The homeschooling population has experienced an astonishing ascent over the past 20 years, but the latest federal data suggest that the rate of increase could be slowing, with homeschooling numbers leveling off. The Department of Education has historically tracked homeschooling through its National Household Education Survey, a randomized survey tool that in 2016 captured nationwide data on 14,075 school-age children, of which 552 were homeschoolers. The total number of homeschoolers declined slightly from about 1.8 million students in 2012, or 3.4 percent of the overall K-12 school-age population, to approximately 1.7 million students in 2016, or about 3.3 percent of all students.8

Given the relatively small sampling of homeschoolers and the potential aversion some homeschooling families express toward government data collection, it is possible this federal survey tool underestimates the overall homeschooling population. But while federal surveys show the homeschooling population is holding steady or slightly declining, some state data show states are experiencing notable growth in their homeschooling populations.

Many factors could be contributing to homeschooling expansion or decline in a given state, including satisfaction with local public school options, cost and availability of private schools, parents’ job opportunities and economic prospects, demographic changes in the overall school-age population, changes in regulations or restrictions on homeschooling families, and availability of resources and support for homeschooling. Some research also suggests that the prevalence of public school choice programs, like charter schools, could reduce homeschooling by offering more “free” education options to parents and that vouchers might push more homeschoolers into private schools.9

Certain states with robust private education choice programs, however, are seeing particularly high growth in homeschooling compared with overall public school enrollment. Florida, for example, is a leader in private education choice programs, offering an ESA, two tax-credit scholarship programs, and two voucher programs. The state has experienced a significant rise in homeschooling numbers over the past several years. The Florida homeschooling population grew 6.8 percent between the 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 school years, compared with only 2.7 percent growth in the state’s K-12 public school population during that same time.10

A similar story of homeschooling growth emerges in North Carolina, where the homeschooling population is rapidly expanding. Like Florida, North Carolina has favorable education choice policies, including an ESA and two voucher programs. Between 2014 and 2018, the homeschooling population grew 27 percent to over 127,000 students, while K-12 public school enrollment fell by 1.3 percent.11

Ohio offers five separate education voucher programs. There, the homeschooling population grew by over 13 percent to over 30,000 homeschoolers between 2014 and 2018, while the overall K-12 public school population fell by just under 1 percent.12 The trend continues in Wisconsin, which offers four statewide voucher programs as well as a K-12 private school tuition tax deduction. Wisconsin public schools saw their enrollment drop by 1.3 percent between 2014 and 2018, while the homeschooling population grew by 9 percent.13

The most recent federal data on homeschooling, 2012 to 2016, show that the number of homeschoolers declined by 4.7 percent nationwide, while K-12 public school enrollment increased 1.6 percent.14 Why are states like Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio defying national homeschooling trends and dramatically outpacing K-12 public school enrollment? The availability of education choice programs in these states could offer some clues.

Homeschooling and Education Choice Programs

States with successful education choice programs could be encouraging more homeschooling in a variety of ways, both practical and personal. At the practical level, some education choice programs, like ESAs, provide funds that families can use to purchase classes, supplies, curricula, and other resources, in addition to tuition. ESAs let parents opt out of public schools and public charter schools and access some public school funds through a government-authorized savings account. Unlike vouchers, these funds can be used for an array of education-related expenses, not just school tuition. ESAs help to disentangle education from schooling, acknowledging the wide variety of ways young people can and do learn.

According to a 2018 report by EdChoice, a nonprofit organization founded by Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose, to support education choice efforts, Florida’s ESA program, known as the Gardiner Scholarship, has provided families of children with special needs access to education resources beyond schooling. Researchers Lindsey Burke and Jason Bedrick discovered that many of these ESA recipients were avoiding brick-and-mortar schooling altogether and using the ESA funds to fully customize their child’s learning. Other recipients used the money for a blend of schooling and supplemental resources, while still others used the ESA like a voucher to pay for private school tuition.15 According to Burke and Bedrick, it’s difficult to know for sure if the Florida ESA families who customized their child’s education without schooling were registered homeschoolers, but it’s quite likely that if students weren’t attending a school, they were being homeschooled. Bedrick says some of the ESA families could have been registered with the Florida Virtual School, a leader in online K-12 learning, but he explains in an interview: “I expect that most of the students in that category would be registered as being home educated.”16 ESAs could be supporting more homeschooling families in customizing their child’s education.

Education choice programs could be encouraging more families to choose homeschooling by offering funding to those who want or need it. They also could be prompting more homeschool resource centers to form, such as BigFish Learning Center, a self-directed learning community in Dover, New Hampshire, where some attendees take advantage of the state’s tax-credit scholarship program to help defray enrollment expenses. New Hampshire’s tax-credit scholarship program, which allows businesses or individuals to receive a tax credit when they donate to a scholarship-granting nonprofit organization, is currently the country’s only tax-credit scholarship program open to homeschoolers, who can use scholarship funds for a variety of approved education expenses if they meet income eligibility requirements.

There also may be more personal reasons why states with flourishing education choice programs have a growing homeschooling population. If everyone in your neighborhood attends an assigned district school, it can be difficult to go against the grain. In an environment of educational choice, where alternatives are available, valued, and sought after, pursuing a different education path may seem more normal. Homeschooling becomes one of many viable education choices, and the more homeschoolers there are, the more likely other families will be to explore this option. This peer effect could be large in states that enact strong choice programs. A growing homeschooling population leads to more local resources for homeschoolers, such as more classes offered by local businesses, museums, and libraries, and may spark more private learning centers and parent-led co-ops to emerge. These resources, in turn, could be encouraging more families to pursue homeschooling.

Even in states like Wisconsin and Ohio that have voucher programs for private school tuition, but not ESAs or funds specifically for homeschooling, a climate of education choice could be influencing more families to choose homeschooling. Indeed, the growth in homeschooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, where public school enrollment declined, could indicate that when there is more education choice, more parents will make more choices. Even when they don’t directly benefit from a state choice program, like a voucher, the mere presence of mechanisms that empower some parents to take control of their child’s education may prompt more parents to do so. This is an important policy point for homeschooling advocates who oppose education choice programs that would include homeschoolers out of concern that such programs could lead to greater homeschooling regulation or oversight, which is a legitimate possibility. Homeschoolers should support education choice programs, whether or not they are personally included in such programs, because more choice can lead to more homeschoolers overall.

How Homeschooling Can Drive Education Innovation

In his influential 1955 paper popularizing the idea of vouchers, Milton Friedman explained how more education choice would break the government monopoly on schooling and lead to more diverse options and innovation. He wrote:

The result of these measures would be a sizable reduction in the direct activities of government, yet a great widening in the educational opportunities open to our children. They would bring a healthy increase in the variety of educational institutions available and in competition among them. Private initiative and enterprise would quicken the pace of progress in this area as it has in so many others. Government would serve its proper function of improving the operation of the invisible hand without substituting the dead hand of bureaucracy.17

By shifting power to families, education choice creates greater variety in how young people learn and triggers education entrepreneurship and experimentation. With its legal flexibility, homeschooling provides an ideal incubator for educational ingenuity.

In Nashville, Tennessee, for instance, two schools that focus on homeschoolers recently opened. Acton Academy Nashville is a hybrid homeschooling model in which students attend the school three days a week, and the Nashville Sudbury School offers students a full-time school track or a flexible homeschool track. Tuition at both schools is a fraction of the cost of other local private schools, and they share a commitment to student-directed, passion-driven learning. At Nashville Sudbury, more than half of the current students are registered homeschoolers. According to Sonia Fernandez LeBlanc, one of the founders of the Nashville Sudbury School: “Families love the flexibility that the homeschooling track allows and most take advantage of more than two days a week.” She adds: “We have a very eclectic homeschooling community in the greater Nashville area.”18

In California, Da Vinci Connect is a publicly funded, privately operated hybrid K-12 charter school network for homeschoolers where children attend the project-based school two days a week and spend the rest of the time at home and throughout their community. According to a recent Forbes article about the Da Vinci network: “Despite what one might consider a common homeschool family unit (two parents and one who is able to not work and stay at home), many Da Vinci Connect families do not fit that mold and are finding unique ways to make the homeschool option work for them.”19

As its population becomes more diverse, and as its versatility attracts both parents and entrepreneurs, homeschooling will likely continue to drive innovation—particularly in states supportive of education choice.

Conclusion

In just 50 years, the modern homeschooling movement has evolved from a smattering of ideologues to a widespread educational option for many families. Today’s homeschoolers increasingly mirror the larger American population and often use the legal designation of homeschooling to create a more personalized, child-directed approach to learning than is possible through the dominant compulsory-schooling model. While recent national data suggest homeschooling growth may be slowing, state-level data suggest that in some states with particularly favorable education choice programs, the homeschooling population is soaring many times faster than the K-12 public school population.

Education choice through ESAs, tax-credit scholarships, and vouchers is beneficial and gives families options. But it may also be good for homeschoolers and others who value educational freedom and change. An environment that supports choice empowers parents to take control of their child’s education, whether or not that child is the recipient of any specific education choice funding. A climate of choice can lead more families to explore alternatives to conventional schooling and inspire entrepreneurial educators to establish new, more flexible models of learning that are better aligned with the realities of the 21st century.

In his book Instead of Education, homeschooling pioneer John Holt wrote: “You cannot have human liberty, and the sense of all persons’ uniqueness, dignity, and worth on which it must rest, if you give to some people the right to tell other people what they must learn or know, or the right to say officially and ‘objectively’ that some people are more able and worthy than others.”20 The promise of education choice is that families are free to opt out of compulsory mass schooling that dictates what all young people must learn and know and that officially judges them on their worth. Fortunately, U.S. homeschoolers have been free to do this legally for over 25 years, and they may very well be the ones best positioned to extend this educational liberty to others by supporting choice for all families.

 

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On 8/28/2019 at 10:29 AM, Muda69 said:

De Blasio Advisory Group Wants To Abolish Gifted Classes in NYC Public Schools: https://reason.com/2019/08/28/de-blasio-advisory-group-wants-to-abolish-gifted-classes-in-nyc-public-schools/

A gigantic race to the bottom, and using race as the scapegoat to gut talented and gifted programs.  Shameful.  But then again when it comes to government education everybody needs to just be the same cogs in the machine.

As one of the comments to this story stated:

"As a recovering public school teacher, and I can tell you that dumping everyone into one big mixing pot classroom ain’t gonna help. Teaching to the bottom only wastes the talent of the cream of the crop who could actually amount to something, while teaching only the brainiacs in a mixed classroom is nearly impossible while the future welfare cases are snoring loudly (at best).

DeBlasio and his committee see only skin color and suckers for the “they’ve got more than you” tripe."

 

As someone who taught in a charter network based out of NYC, DeBlasio has good reasons to oppose charter schools.

For the record, I’m not anti-Charter school, but some of those ideas are just wrong.

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2 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

As someone who taught in a charter network based out of NYC, DeBlasio has good reasons to oppose charter schools.

For the record, I’m not anti-Charter school, but some of those ideas are just wrong.

Please Dante, as a supposed educational professional,  please tell us exactly why the following idea/statement is "just wrong":

Teaching to the bottom only wastes the talent of the cream of the crop who could actually amount to something, while teaching only the brainiacs in a mixed classroom is nearly impossible while the future welfare cases are snoring loudly (at best).

 

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Americans Voice Growing Support for School Choice: https://reason.com/2019/09/03/americans-voice-growing-support-for-school-choice/

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Drawing on in-house polling, Harvard University's EducationNext finds steadily rising support for both education options and public schools. But the data comes with interesting caveats that suggest affection for government schooling and its minions takes a hit the more people know.

"Support for school vouchers has shifted upward," notes the organization, "and tax-credit scholarships along the lines proposed by the current administration now command the support of a sizable majority of adults."

Vouchers make per-pupil funding portable so that families can use the money to pay tuition at schools of their choice. EducationNext asked respondents about both targeted vouchers, intended for low-income families, and universal vouchers usable by anybody; pollsters found increasing enthusiasm for both. Targeted vouchers win the support of 49 percent of those polled, with 55 percent supporting vouchers that would benefit all kids.

Tax credits are a bit different, allowing individuals and/or corporations to write off donations to foundations that provide scholarships to students who attend private schools. One advantage of tax credits is that the money remains entirely in private hands, reducing government leverage over independent schools so that they can focus on pleasing families and not bureaucrats.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled approve of such tax credits. That follows on similar trends in last year's poll, indicating a seeming national movement toward support for education options.

Charter schools also enjoy strong approval, with support up to 48 percent. Yet these publicly funded, privately managed schools remain victims of the country's political polarization.

"For more than two decades after the first charter school opened its doors in Minnesota in 1992, charters seemed to be the one choice initiative backed by Democrats and Republicans alike," points out EducationNext. But with Democratic candidates, teachers unions, and some progressive organizations rallying against charters, support has plummeted on the political left. "Republicans are as committed as ever to charter schools… Simultaneously, Democrats have backed away from charter schools."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the strongest support for education options comes from racial and ethnic minority families who often have the most experience with poor quality government schools. "Large pluralities of black and Hispanic Democrats support targeted vouchers, universal vouchers, and charter schools, while less than half of white Democrats support vouchers and less than a third support charters," reports EducationNext.

Personal experience and deeper knowledge certainly play a role in people's eagerness to support government-run institutions, too. That is, the more familiar they are with the details of public schools, the more skepticism they voice.

For starters, the teachers unions' #RedForEd national push for higher pay seems to have had a big impact on public opinion. Among the general public, 72 percent support higher pay—up significantly since 2017. But that drops to 56 percent when respondents are told what teachers currently earn.

"The higher level of endorsement for boosting teacher salaries among the 'uninformed' respondents reflects the fact that most Americans believe that teachers are underpaid and earn far less than they actually do," says EducationNext. "When asked to estimate average teacher salaries in their state, respondents' average guess came in at $41,987—30% less than the actual average of $59,581 among our sample of educators."

Likewise, "public support for higher levels of school spending has also grown over the past two years." And again, that seems to be largely a function of uninformed assumptions about the level of existing funding.

"Among those not told current levels of expenditure, 62% think K–12 spending should increase, 8 percentage points higher than in 2017," notes EducationNext. But that number drops to 50 percent among those informed of current funding levels.

For what it's worth, per-pupil spending in public schools increased for five years in a row (as of the latest Census Bureau figures), to an average of $12,201 per student in 2017. Expenditures increased by 3.7 percent from 2016 to 2017, compared to an inflation rate of 2.1 percent.

Information also affects perceptions of school quality. Just as minority families who have good reason to be disappointed in public schools voice strong support for education options, those who actually attend public schools express lower opinions of them:

Seventy percent of parents give their local public schools an A or B grade, and 82% assign their child's high school those marks. Among students, these proportions drop by 15 percentage points for the local public schools and 13 percentage points for their own high school.

Real-life experience leaves quite a mark.

Speaking of which, my family has considerable real-life experience with homeschooling, which was included in EducationNext polling only in 2017. I'm happy to say that this option also won approval. "Forty-five percent of respondents support the home-schooling option, with just 34% opposed," the organization reported.

That said, a majority did want homeschoolers to seek school district approval, which would put us under the thumbs of our competitors. No, thanks.

My family has chosen its independent education path because we are familiar with the public system, aren't impressed, and don't require either its services or its permission. But we're also fortunate in that we have the will and the resources to opt out and choose appropriate education options for our family. And obviously, we're not alone in looking for alternatives. As the EducationNext polling numbers show, Americans are ready to expand the range of options available to many more families so they, too, can choose education options that work for their kids.

 

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On 9/3/2019 at 7:38 AM, Muda69 said:

Please Dante, as a supposed educational professional,  please tell us exactly why the following idea/statement is "just wrong":

Teaching to the bottom only wastes the talent of the cream of the crop who could actually amount to something, while teaching only the brainiacs in a mixed classroom is nearly impossible while the future welfare cases are snoring loudly (at best).

 

The bottom deserve access to a quality education as much as the best and brightest.

On 9/3/2019 at 12:48 PM, Muda69 said:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the strongest support for education options comes from racial and ethnic minority families who often have the most experience with poor quality government schools.

And who are also the least likely to support classroom discipline.

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1 hour ago, DanteEstonia said:

The bottom deserve access to a quality education as much as the best and brightest.

And who are also the least likely to support classroom discipline.

So the best and the brightest deserve to be in a mixed classroom with the least likely?

And please tell us all about the quality discipline in government schools.

 

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12 hours ago, Muda69 said:

So the best and the brightest deserve to be in a mixed classroom with the least likely?

I didn’t say that.

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12 hours ago, Muda69 said:

And please tell us all about the quality discipline in government schools.

Public schools can expel students, and not suffer financial consequences. Charter schools suffer financial consequences for expelling students, even if in the best interest of the other students.

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5 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

I didn’t say that.

Then please better define the term "the bottom" when is comes to education.    Ar e these children who are low IQ/ability or are they the ones that don't give a damn about receiving and education, and usually neither do their parents/guardians?

 

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3 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Then please better define the term "the bottom" when is comes to education.    Ar e these children who are low IQ/ability or are they the ones that don't give a damn about receiving and education, and usually neither do their parents/guardians?

Both. I believe in redemption for those people.

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1 minute ago, DanteEstonia said:

Both. I believe in redemption for those people.

For the low IQ/ability who show an interest in bettering themselves, yes.   However do you believe such students should always be housed in the same classrooms as academically gifted/high ability students? 

As for the ones who don't give a damn, frankly I say after a certain point stop wasting teacher's time and taxpayers dollars.  You have effectively become nothing more than an expensive babysitter.

 

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17 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

For the low IQ/ability who show an interest in bettering themselves, yes.   However do you believe such students should always be housed in the same classrooms as academically gifted/high ability students? 

Not always, but as often as possible.

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2 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Not always, but as often as possible.

Why?  And under what specific conditions does "not always" apply?

 

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17 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

As for the ones who don't give a damn, frankly I say after a certain point stop wasting teacher's time and taxpayers dollars.  You have effectively become nothing more than an expensive babysitter.

 

That’s what Adult Ed is for- to teach them when they finally care.

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Just now, DanteEstonia said:

That’s what Adult Ed is for- to teach them when they finally care.

Ok. Boot 'em out of the government school system when they are what, 12-13 years old?  And tell them to come back to "Adult Ed" when they are ready?  

 

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What students do after graduating could determine their high school’s rating: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2019/09/09/what-students-do-after-graduating-could-determine-their-high-schools-rating/2235413001/

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High schools in Indiana may soon be rated on what their students do after graduation — not just how many of them pass state tests and earn a diploma.

A committee of educators and lawmakers is considering changing Indiana’s high school grading system to account for the percentage of students that are enlisted, employed, or enrolled in post-secondary education within a year of graduating.

This approach is meant to align with the creation of graduation pathways, which offer Indiana high schoolers multiple options for completing the requirements to graduate. Students choose their path based on their interests, such as going to college or earning a technical certification.

“I think we have a real opportunity here to transform the way we do this for our students,” said Byron Ernest, a committee co-chair and a member of the State Board of Education. “If we were doing all those things for every student, we’ve improved the lives of a lot of students.”

Incorporating post-graduation metrics gives schools additional time for more students to hit the goals they set forth, Ernest said. However the idea that schools’ quality rankings would rely on decisions students make after leaving high school is concerning to some.

“K-12 can’t be the fix for everything,” said Pat Mapes, a committee co-chair and state education board member. “To think that I’m going to be responsible for that student beyond that step is something I can’t agree with… Once they walk out we just hope they make good decisions.”

Plus, he said it could prove difficult to track down some students after graduation.

....

The Indiana State Teachers Association is opposed to using post-graduation measures to evaluate schools, the union’s lobbyist, John O’Neal, told the committee Thursday. He pointed out that a student’s decisions after high school could be spurred by situations that schools shouldn’t be held accountable for, such as a death in the family.

If the committee moves forward with these changes, he asked that the post-graduation timeline be limited to six months and the grading system takes into account the community’s poverty levels, assessed home value, and unemployment rate. Those variables can affect a graduate’s job, salary and career advancement, O’Neal said.

Since high schools are currently graded heavily on test scores and graduation rates, it’s unclear how such a change would affect the ratings overall. In 2018, 87% of high schools received an A- or B-rating from the state.

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick recently renewed her call for the state to revamp its accountability system for all levels, advocating for dropping A-F grades in favor of the federal measure schools already receive. The accountability committee does not include any officials from the Indiana Department of Education.

The committee is tasked with making its recommendations to lawmakers by Oct. 30.

 

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Stossel: Let Charter Schools Teach: https://reason.com/video/stossel-let-charter-schools-teach/

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Many parents try to escape government-run schools for less-regulated "charter schools."

Philadelphia mom Elaine Wells tells John Stossel that she wanted to get her boys into a charter because her local government-run school in inner-city Philadelphia was "horrible…there were fights after school every day."

Her kids spent years losing lotteries that they hoped would get them into a charter.

"It's heartbreaking," Wells says.

In Philadelphia, thanks to government limits, only 7,000 kids get into charters. 29,000 apply.

But eventually, Wells got her kids into a new charter school: Boys' Latin, founded by David Hardy.

Boys' Latin does many unusual things. All kids learn Latin, wear uniforms, and stay longer hours—and it's all-boys.

"The rules are there to set the stage for the students," Hardy tells Stossel. "If the teacher can tell you to tuck in your shirt, they can tell you to be quiet in class…tell you to do your homework."

Wells says that worked for her kids. "Before Boys Latin I would come home and say, 'OK, I need you to read for an hour—read a book.' And their response would be, 'Why? What did we do?' Like reading was a punishment! [After] Boys' Latin…I would find books in the bathroom on the floor!"

Her son Ibrahim adds, "It came to the point where the teacher would tell our mom that I'd taken too many books."

The school was better at hiring teachers who tried hard.

Wells recalls being shocked to find her sons talking to teachers at night: "He's in his room and I hear him talking on the phone and it was 10 o'clock at night. I'm like, 'Who are you on the phone with?' and he was like, 'Well, Mr. Bumbulsky told me to call him if I needed help with homework.'"

Stossel pushed back at some of David Hardy's ideas, like making every student take four years of Latin. "It's ridiculous. Nobody speaks Latin," Stossel suggests to founder David Hardy.

"Well we picked Latin because it was hard," Hardy replies.

"What's the point of that?" Stossel asks.

"Because life is hard—to be prepared you have to work hard," Hardy says. "We wanted to get that into the psyche of our students."

Overall, Boys' Latin gets somewhat better test scores than surrounding schools in most subjects.

"We deliver," Hardy says. "Since the very first class we've sent more black boys to college than any high school in Pennsylvania."

Despite that, government officials rejected his proposal to open a "Girls' Latin" school. They've rejected a bunch of schools.

Opponents complain that charters "drain scarce resources" from government-run schools.

"You can't tell me that," Wells responds. "Every parent pays taxes…if I choose for my child to go to a charter school, then that's where my taxes should go!"

In fact, Philadelphia and other cities don't give charters the same amount of money they give to schools they control. Philadelphia gives them only 70 percent of that. So per student, Stossel notes, the government schools make money whenever a kid leaves for a charter. Over 13 years of schooling, Philadelphia saves $70,000 per kid.

Stossel asks Wells: What if those savings were passed onto the child?

"Absolutely! Give them the rest of the money!" Wells laughs.

But it won't happen because, as Hardy notes, "It would also mean that there would be a whole lot less union jobs. The unions are not going to be for that."

 

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Is Everyone Who Opposes a New School Zoning Plan in Brooklyn Racist?: https://reason.com/2019/09/17/is-everyone-who-opposes-a-new-school-zoning-plan-in-brooklyn-racist/

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In hindsight, I should have suspected we had crossed over some bizarre new threshold of weaponized policy rhetoric when the education bureaucrats selling a new middle school admissions system to an auditorium full of brow-furrowing Brooklyn parents began their PowerPoint slideshow with a black-and-white picture of a family celebrating the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education

It was the summer of 2018, after all, not the spring of 1954, in the heart of progressive Park Slope, not Pentecostal Topeka. And most relevantly to how the next 13 months of strategic citizen-shaming and pre-emptive silencing would go, the "segregation" under discussion was not an airtight set of rules created and strictly controlled by government, but rather a dynamic and mostly voluntary clustering and unclustering of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic population subgroups out of and then back into 11 public schools and their environs, in one of the country's most famously diverse cities. We were being invited to feel segregationist shame about the distribution of a middle school population that's 42 percent Latino, 32 percent white, 12 percent Asian, and 12 percent black.

"While in many ways we feel like we've come a long way [since Brown]," Adam Lubinsky of the urban planning/architecture firm WXY Studio said at the presentation (misleadingly billed as a community feedback "discussion"), "there has been a real process since the '80s of public schools beginning to re-segregate. And a lot of that has to do with the way choice policies have been utilized…New York City has one of the most segregated school districts in the country; in many respects, the most segregated school district in the country." Thus in one short paragraph we leap from the specter of Bull Connor barricading the schoolhouse door to the same basic effect being produced by…yuppie parents trying to enroll their kids at the STEM-focused middle school? 

My wife and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. After all, we were sitting on the corner of Grand Army Plaza, an Arc de Triomphe–style monument to the victorious Union armies of the North. Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball less than a mile away; two miles the other direction gets you to Abolitionist Place, a crucial stop along the Underground Railroad. You would be hard-pressed to find within a one-hour walk any city block that voted even 10 percent for Donald Trump. MSNBC host Chris Hayes lives nearby; Spike Lee's old neighborhood isn't far, and the Park Slope Co-Op down the street boasts one of the single most politically correct message boards in the history of the internet. Fifties Birmingham this ain't.  

But what I failed to initially comprehend on that hot August night is that the progressive sensibility and social justice sensitivity of the target audience was not grounds for building consensus, but a weakness to exploit in the name of ramming through a divisive policy change with minimal public objection. In what has become the education playbook for the city of New York, and a political tactic that threatens to jump the banks from Blue State America to some policy terrain near you, activists, government officials, and even journalists are recklessly deploying the scarlet letter of racism to clear out potential dissent.

New York Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is the uncontested champion of this foul new form. At a contentious City Council meeting in May 2019, when asked about his preference for scrapping the entrance exam to New York's nine specialized high schools (which enroll disappointingly few African Americans and a disproportionate number of Asians), Carranza snarled: "Integration doesn't lower academic achievement for any student; it improves it. Yet I can't tell you how many times I hear in this discussion where there's an equation [of] diversity and a lowering of academic students. I will call that racist every time I hear it….So if you don't want me to call you on it, don't say it."

Italics mine, to emphasize the message that local parents, educators, and politicians are hearing loud and clear.

'It Has a Chilling Effect on Parents Speaking Out'

The day after Carranza's outburst, I found myself in a carpool, organized by an angry mom, headed to the first public meeting at which the initial results of our district's radical new middle school admissions policy, known as the Diversity Plan, would be presented. The plan, which the Department of Education (DOE) hopes will be a model for the whole city, scrapped all consideration of student performance—the gifted and talented school no longer screens for gift or talent, the arts school no longer considers aptitude in drawing or music—imposing instead an across-the-board mandate that 52 percent of a school's incoming class either qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, speak a language other than English at home, or live in temporary housing. That 52 percent figure matches the proportions for the district as a whole, but is unevenly distributed throughout neighborhoods and at individual institutions, ranging in the latter from just 20 percent at the math and science school to 97 percent in the immigrant-heavy Sunset Park neighborhood.

Middle schools within our District 15 are not residentially zoned; instead, parents rank up to 12 preferences, students are assigned random lottery numbers, and an algorithm is supposed to sort everything out. With the removal of any student-picking discretion on the school side, that effectively hands first priority at in-demand locations to those in the designated 52 percent. This approach is known as "controlled choice," as in parents try to choose according to what they think is best for their child, but the district controls the final decision based on a mixture of chance and demographic design. 

Completely off the table, and indeed invoked as a bogeyman to be avoided at all costs, is my preferred policy, which would be to open up maximum choice and allow for the maximum number of qualifying charters throughout New York's entire public system, much like New Orleans has done after Hurricane Katrina. 

To the surprise of no one familiar with probabilities, when the first post-Diversity Plan school-designations were announced in April 2019, a large chunk of us 48 percenters came out unhappy. Sitting next to me in the carpool was one such woman, herself a schoolteacher of modest means, who was anguished that her son, like a statistically anomalous number of kids from my daughter's highly regarded and comparatively affluent (and white) elementary school, had been assigned a low-performing middle school 40 minutes away that didn't even make her top 12. Angry Mom really wanted Teacher Mom to speak out at the meeting, so that district bureaucrats would have to contend with a knowledgeable and sympathetic educator. But the teacher just gave a fatalistic shrug. "White Carroll Gardens mom?" she said ruefully, referring to our expensive brownstone neighborhood. (She would eventually speak very tentatively at the end of a long and heated meeting, with the tension in the room so thick it drove her to tears…but we'll get to that.) 

"I hate the way they are shutting down dissent, calling all dissent 'racism,'" Heather Herron-Libson, a mother of three public school kids, told me in late June. 

Fear of being labeled a bigot has animated nearly every one of the now hundreds of conversations I've had with local parents about the Diversity Plan and other elements of Carranza's "equity" agenda. (In addition to my eldest daughter being in the first affected class of incoming sixth graders, my youngest daughter will enter kindergarten right after a controversial new elementary school rezoning kicks in. I've, uh, been to a lot of meetings.) 

...

Yet another "plan" that is nothing more than a race to mediocrity, all in the name of "integration".

 

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The Supreme Court's Next Big School Choice Case: https://reason.com/2019/09/19/the-supreme-courts-next-big-school-choice-case/

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In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Cleveland, Ohio's school choice program against the charge that it was unconstitutional for that city to provide tuition aid to parents who opted to send their children to religiously affiliated magnet schools. So long as "a government aid program is neutral with respect to religion, and provides assistance directly to a broad class of citizens who, in turn, direct government aid to religious schools wholly as a result of their own genuine and independent private choice," the Court said in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the program passes constitutional muster.

The Supreme Court is now preparing to weigh the constitutional merits of another school choice initiative. At issue in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is a 2015 scholarship program created by the Montana legislature "to provide parental and student choice in education." The program operates by creating a tax credit for individuals and businesses that donate to private, nonprofit scholarship organizations, which then use such donations to fund educational scholarships. Families who qualify for the scholarships may use the money to help send their children to a "qualified education provider," a statutory category which includes religiously affiliated private schools, grades K through 12.

In 2018, however, the Montana Supreme Court declared religious schools entirely off-limits for the program, pointing to a provision of the Montana Constitution which prohibits the use of public funds "for any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in party by any church, sect, or denomination."

In other words, the Montana Supreme Court said that the state Constitution prohibits the very sort of school choice programs that the U.S. Supreme Court has previously upheld under the federal Constitution. The Montana Court resolved this conflict by putting its own interpretation first. "We conclude that Montana's Constitution more broadly prohibits 'any' state aid to sectarian schools and draws a 'more stringent line than that drawn' by its [federal] counterpart," the state court declared.

That judgment will now be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is difficult to imagine a majority of the justices allowing the Montana decision to stand. For one thing, the Montana scholarship program seems to easily satisfy the test of constitutionality set out in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris and related cases. For another, the Supreme Court is unlikely to let a state court chart its own path in opposition to the federal jurisprudence that is in place for the rest of the country. It is one thing, after all, to let the states operate as "laboratories of democracy," but it is something else to let the Constitution effectively mean two different things in two different states, to say that the Constitution protects the rights of parents and children to access school choice programs in Ohio but does not protect the rights of parents and children to access similar programs in Montana.

Assuming the Supreme Court follows its own precedents, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue looks to be a winner for the school choice side.

Oral arguments in the case are likely to be held sometime in early 2020.

 

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Teachers’ unions are fighting hard against educational innovation, but many welcome reforms are here to stay.: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/school-reform-teachers-unions-battle-innovation/

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Whose argument is this?

“The teacher unions currently have no countervailing force. We envision the National Parents Union as being able to . . . redirect the conversation from one about adults to one about students.”

It might surprise you to hear that that’s the position of Andy Stern, longtime president of the Service Employees International Union. SEIU is the only labor organization in the U.S. that has been even more politically active in recent decades than the teachers’ unions. Stern was known for visiting the Obama White House more than any other person.

So why is a supreme labor activist now annoying the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and other union defenders of the public-school establishment? At one point, Stern discovered that members of a janitors’ union in his network overwhelmingly supported charter schools as crucial to the success of their children. He started backing families in school-reform battles and served on charter-school boards. He continues to rally opinion in favor of educational experiments. Despite his impeccable left-wing credentials, his labor friends are provoked about that.

You see, teacher unions are pushing hard in a different direction. The strikes they launched in West Virginia in February 2018 subsequently swept the nation. The movement spread to Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Oakland, other swaths of California, and beyond. These were the most militant labor actions in the U.S. in decades — involving 485,000 total strikers in 2018, more than in any other annual period for the past 32 years. These teachers from conventional public schools mobilized powerful pressure on politicians to curtail education reforms.

And the politicos responded. Democrats running for governor in 2018 in states such as Wisconsin, Connecticut, Michigan, New Mexico, and Illinois campaigned loudly against alternative schools. A panel appointed by California’s governor in response to the strikes proposed this June to place many new strictures on charter schools, including giving school districts the ability to ban them. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has tried to choke off charter-school growth, and many of his fellow Democrats running for president are now calling openly for an end to charter expansion.

And it’s not just charters. The Houston school board kicked Teach for America out of their city on the grounds that it undermines union power. New online-learning technologies face growing resistance. Efforts to end the Lake Wobegon effect in teacher assessments (where nine out of ten instructors get certified as excellent even in miserable districts) have been collapsed by foot-dragging and personal attacks that wore out leaders of the effort, such as the Gates Foundation. An expansion of Pennsylvania’s popular and oversubscribed program that offers needy children scholarships useable in private and religious schools was recently vetoed by the governor amid pressure from teachers’ unions.

A $600 billion–per–year educational bureaucracy that resents competition and enhanced scrutiny is squeezing school innovators. Until recently, reformers were shielded from political attacks and regulatory shutdowns by the bipartisan desire to rescue children stuck in dysfunctional schools. Innovations such as charter schools, student vouchers, and the connection of teacher pay to performance enjoyed broad support from liberals such as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates, as well as conservatives such as Jeb Bush, John Boehner, and John Walton.

Now that has changed. Progressives have abandoned school transformation and circled their wagons around the public-school status quo. Yet while enemies of educational experimentation have suddenly gotten the upper hand, the school reforms of the past two decades are not going to be unraveled easily. Graduation rates, student safety, life success, child happiness, and parent satisfaction have all been elevated by school entrepreneurs. Thousands of incompetent teachers have been weeded out, and we are approaching the point where a quarter of all new teachers will come from alternative certification programs instead of the old teacher colleges.

There are now more than 10 million children enrolled in tens of thousands of schools of choice across the country. In numerous cities, half of all families now choose something other than their nearby district school. Entire states, including Florida, Arizona, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, and dozens of cities, including New York, Washington, Boston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, have become wholly different ecosystems, educationally, than they were 20 years earlier.

If opponents of education reform try to drive children back into floundering district-school classrooms, they will face fury from parents like those janitors with kids in charters. Families who found escape hatches over the last generation will not easily surrender their new schooling options.

But a powerful education establishment is now pulling political levers to slow the pace of change, and school improvement is at a stalemate. Will the future belong to reformers, or to defenders of the public-school status quo?

 

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12 hours ago, Muda69 said:

Graduation rates, student safety, life success, child happiness, and parent satisfaction have all been elevated by school entrepreneurs.

Amazing what you can do when you cook the books.

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