Charter schools

Project Wichita survey

Project Wichita survey

The Project Wichita survey is about to end. Will it have collected useful data? Project Wichita is "a community engagement process to identify the future we want for our home and the steps necessary to achieve it." [1. Project Wichita. Available at https://www.projectwichita.org/.] So far it has held focus groups that collected ideas for the future of Wichita, in which "an astounding 3,800+ people [2. With the population of the city of Wichita at about 388,000, (U.S. Census Bureau. 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates), nearly one percent participated.] shared their vision in 239+ focus groups," according to the project's…
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Accountability in Kansas public schools

Accountability in Kansas public schools

Critics of school choice say there is no accountability outside the traditional public schools. Here are the standards Kansas used to hold its schools accountable. Are non-traditional public schools held properly accountable? Do charter schools and private schools escape the accountability standards states use for their traditional public schools, particularly in Kansas? A standard argument against school choice is that charter schools and private schools are not held accountable. Underlying this argument is the assumption that parents have neither the time nor technical expertise to properly evaluate the schools their children attend. Only those with special training can do this,…
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Year in Review: 2016

Year in Review: 2016

Here are highlights from Voice for Liberty for 2016. Was it a good year for the principles of individual liberty, limited government, economic freedom, and free markets in Wichita and Kansas? Also be sure to view the programs on WichitaLiberty.TV for guests like journalist, novelist, and blogger Bud Norman; Radio talk show host Joseph Ashby; David Bobb, President of Bill of Rights Institute; Heritage Foundation trade expert Bryan Riley; Radio talk show host Andy Hooser; Keen Umbehr; John Chisholm on entrepreneurship; James Rosebush, author of "True Reagan," Jonathan Williams of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); Gidget Southway, or Danedri Herbert;…
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Decoding the Kansas teachers union

Decoding the Kansas teachers union

Decoding and deconstructing communications from KNEA, the Kansas teachers union, lets us discover the true purpose of the union. Here, we look at a dispatch from Kansas National Education Association's "Under the Dome" newsletter from March 14, 2013. It may be found here. The topic of this day was a charter school bill. Kansas has a law that allows charter schools, which are public schools that operate outside many of the rules and regulations that govern traditional public schools. But the Kansas law is written in a way that makes it difficult to form a charter school, and as a…
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Decoding the Kansas teachers union

Decoding the Kansas teachers union

Explaining to Kansans what the teachers union really means in its public communications. After the November 2016 election, the Kansas National Education Association -- our state's teachers union -- wants to explain to Kansas the meaning of the results. But it takes a seasoned eye to recognize the subterfuge the union uses to advance its interests. The message from the union may be read at It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Following, quotes from the union missive and interpretation. "But at KNEA, we are focusing on what the 2016 election means for public education."…
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Trump and school choice

Trump and school choice

Could a President Trump bring more school choice to Kansas? One of the campaign planks of President-Elect Donald J. Trump is support for school choice. Specifically, his campaign page states: "Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars."[1. Donald J. Trump for President. Education. November 9, 2016. http://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/education/] In the next point: "Give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economics, and government investment

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economics, and government investment

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita sells a hotel, more subsidy for downtown, Kansas newspaper editorialists fall for a lobbyist's tale, how Kansas can learn from Arizona schools, and government investment. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 131, broadcast October 30, 2016. Shownotes Article: Wichita, give back the Hyatt proceeds. Instead of spending the proceeds of the Hyatt hotel sale, the city should honor those who paid for the hotel -- the city’s taxpayers. Article: In Wichita, developer welfare under a cloud. A downtown Wichita project receives a small benefit from the city, with no mention…
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Kansas and Arizona schools

Kansas and Arizona schools

Arizona shows that Kansas is missing out on an opportunity to provide better education at lower cost. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau tells us this:[1. U.S. Census Bureau. Public Education Finances: 2014. Table 8: Per Pupil Amounts for Current Spending of Public Elementary-Secondary School Systems by State: Fiscal Year 2014. Available at census.gov/library/publications/2016/econ/g14-aspef.html.] Total Spending Per Pupil: Arizona: $7,528. Kansas: $9,972. Spending on Instruction Per Pupil: Arizona: $4,091. Kansas $6,112. This data is from the school year ending in 2014, which is the most recent data from the Census Bureau that includes data from all states in a comparable…
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School choice and funding

School choice and funding

Opponents of school choice programs argue the programs harm traditional public schools, both financially and in their ability to serve their remaining students. Evidence does not support this position. The prevalent argument is that charter schools and other school choice programs drain funds from public schools. That is, if a public school student chooses to attend a charter or private school, and if the money follows the student to the other school, the public school district loses money that it otherwise would have received. Therefore, the public school district is worse off, and so too are its students. A rebuttal…
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The nation’s report card and charter schools

The nation’s report card and charter schools

An interactive table of NAEP scores for the states and races, broken down by charter school and traditional public school. Some states have few or no charter schools. In many states, minority students perform better on the NAEP test when in charter schools. The U.S. Department of Education, through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), conducts the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) every other year. Known as "The Nation's Report Card," it is "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas."[1. National Assessment of Educational Progress. About.…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Cost of Kansas schools, government schools, and understanding Kansas school outcomes

WichitaLiberty.TV: Cost of Kansas schools, government schools, and understanding Kansas school outcomes

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Is it true that some Kansas schoolchildren have no hope of attending a private school? What’s wrong with government schools? Then a talk on "Rethinking Education Tomorrow Starts with Understanding Outcomes Today." View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 122, broadcast June 19, 2016. The talk by Dave Trabert is located at youtu.be/4h_bM6QPKeI. If it does not play, please click here. Shownotes A plea to a legislator regarding Kansas schools. On Facebook, a citizen makes an appeal to her cousin, who is a member of the Kansas Legislature. They really are government…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Charter schools in Kansas, and a victory for speech and association

WichitaLiberty.TV: Charter schools in Kansas, and a victory for speech and association

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Kansas has essentially no charter schools. Here’s why we need them. AFP Foundation scores a victory for free speech and association. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 120, broadcast June 5, 2016. Shownotes Kansas continues to snub school choice reform that helps the most vulnerable schoolchildren After years of low standards, Kansas schools adopt truthful standards Kansas NAEP scores for 2015 Kansas school test scores, two interactive visualizations
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Kansas continues to snub school choice reform that helps the most vulnerable schoolchildren

Kansas continues to snub school choice reform that helps the most vulnerable schoolchildren

Charter schools benefit minority and poor children, yet Kansas does not leverage their benefits, despite having a pressing need to boost the prospects of these children. The CREDO studies at Stanford University are often cited as the most comprehensive and reliable research on charter schools. Opponents of charter school focus on a finding that some charter schools are worse than local traditional public schools, the figures being 19 percent for reading and 31 percent for math. Because of this, opponents of charter schools feel justified in keeping them out of Kansas. (Kansas does allow charter schools, but the law is…
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Kansas teachers union objects. Strenuously.

Kansas teachers union objects. Strenuously.

Here are a few items from today's missive from Kansas National Education Association, the teachers union, along with commentary. KNEA says: "Jeff Melcher, the man who has fought to completely eliminate collective bargaining and other rights for teachers continued his war today with his bill intended to end teacher representation." The bill simply mandates elections every three years on whether teachers are satisfied with their current representation, which is almost always KNEA or an affiliate. It's not surprising the union is opposed to this. Accountability, after all. KNEA says: "Make no mistake, the intent of this bill is to end…
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Kansas and Colorado, compared

Kansas and Colorado, compared

News that a Wichita-based company is moving to Colorado sparked a round of Kansas-bashing, most not based on facts. When a Kansas company announced moving its headquarters to Denver, comments left to a newspaper article made several statements that deserve closer examination.[8. Carrie Rengers. Viega to move corporate headquarters and 113 jobs to Denver. Wichita Eagle, March 18, 2016. Available at: http://www.kansas.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/carrie-rengers/article66851717.html.] One reader wrote "Yup another example that the tax relief for businesses is working in Kansas." Another wrote "The biggest takeaway here is that then didn't bother to mention the benefits of lower taxes meaning the tax policy…
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Must it be public schools?

Must it be public schools?

A joint statement released by Kansas Association of School Boards, United School Administrators of Kansas, Kansas School Superintendents' Association, and Kansas National Education Association exposes the attitudes of the Kansas public school establishment. In a joint statement by the leaders of the Kansas public school establishment the clear theme is that education must be provided by public schools. Not schools in general, but public schools. There's no reason that education must be provided by government, and many reasons to keep government out of education. Across the spectrum of human activity, government provides services at high cost, with low levels of…
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Kansas public school establishment ought to thank Sam Brownback

Kansas public school establishment ought to thank Sam Brownback

Kansas public schools ought to thank the governor and legislature for failing to give parents the power of school choice. The public school establishment in Kansas is angry with the governor and legislature over school finance. Really, the public schools ought to be grateful for Governor Sam Brownback. In many states with conservative Republican governors, school choice programs have grown. In the summer of 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported on what it called “The Year of School Choice.” Some governors have been warriors for school choice. Not Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, however. He signed a small school choice bill…
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Block grants a chance for more school choice in Kansas

Block grants a chance for more school choice in Kansas

The block grant school funding bill under consideration in the Kansas Legislature would hold districts harmless for enrollment declines due to school choice. Critics of school choice programs allege that as public school districts lost students to other schools, and the students' funding follows the students to the new schools, school districts are worse off, financially speaking. That's because school districts say that their costs do not fall as rapidly as does enrollment, although this has been found to be untrue. But under the block grant bill in Kansas, school funding is no longer tied to enrollment, at least for…
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How do school choice programs affect budgets and performance of school districts?

How do school choice programs affect budgets and performance of school districts?

Opponents of school choice programs argue the programs harm school districts, both financially and in their ability to serve their remaining students. Evidence does not support this position. If school choice programs -- charter schools, vouchers, or tax credit scholarships -- harmed the existing public schools, it would be a reasonable argument against school choice. Especially if the students who remain in public schools had less of an opportunity to learn. The prevalent argument is that charter schools and other public school alternatives drain funds from public schools. That is, if a public school student chooses a charter or private…
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