In an op-ed piece printed in the Wichita Eagle ("Barb Fuller: Feds should facilitate, not dictate, on education," February 20, 2009 Wichita Eagle, no longer available online), Wichita school board vice president Barb Fuller makes, indirectly, the case that the U.S. Federal government should fund education, but keep its nose out of how local school boards spend the money.
Posts tagged as “School choice”
Charity, Kansas legal intrigue, Kansas infant mortality rate rises under Sebelius, taxing it all, bailouts not wanted, cap-and-trade costs, school choice saves.
Budget woes linked to how justices are chosen (Kris W. Kobach in the Wichita Eagle). Explains how with a better method of selecting Kansas state…
Here's a letter that appeared in today's Wichita Eagle. The author makes a good point. I think the answer to the author's rhetorical question is that USD 259, the Wichita school district, believes in choice, as long as it's choice on their terms. The choices offered by USD 259 are very limited when compared to the spectrum of opportunities children and parents have in many parts of the country.
Two articles appearing close together in the same prominent newspaper illustrate the problem in trying to make sense of school choice programs.
These articles are Voucher plan would help sponsor, not students (February 4, 2009 Atlanta Journal-Constitution), which is opposed to vouchers, and Will School vouchers improve public education? Yes: New studies show all students’ scores rise (February 12, 2009, same newspaper).
Jay P. Greene discusses a news study examining charter schools:
The researchers look at whether attending a charter high school in Chicago and Florida increases the likelihood that students would graduate high school and go on to college. The short answer is that it does. ... This study comes on the heels of positive results from Caroline Hoxby’s random-assignment evaluation of charter schools in New York City.
We don’t have these, to my knowledge, in USD 259, the Wichita public school district, and there are very few in Kansas. Across the country,…
Just 12 years later, economically disadvantaged students -- defined as those eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches -- in secondary charter schools are twice as likely to score at advanced or proficient levels on math and reading tests as their peers in traditional public schools, based on federally mandated national tests.
Wow. That sounds like something we could use in Wichita. Charter schools, wherever they are allowed to exist, often produce results like those described above. Why?
At the Goldwater Institute, Clint Bolick exposes Barack Obama as another in a long line of politicians that deny school choice to the masses, but…
This press release spotlights the fact that charter schools operate much more efficiently than to public schools. Kansas could save money and increase parent satisfaction if our state had more charter schools. The education establishment in Kansas -- the teachers unions, administrators, and school boards -- are happy with as few charter schools as possible, and they spend significant sums lobbying for laws that suppress charter schools. Meanwhile, students, parents, and taxpayers suffer.
If you care about the future of education in Kansas, I urge you to sign up to join this effort. You'll receive some useful things from them, including a free School Choice Works bumper sticker, a copy of their new FastFacts handout, and a subscription to School Choice Activist and School Choice Digest newsmagazines.
On October 8, 2008, Citizens for Better Education, the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, and Americans For Prosperity -- Kansas sponsored a screening of Flunked the Movie. I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Steven Maggi, the film's executive producer. Following are some excerpts from our conversation.
A recent Wichita Eagle Editorial Blog post mentioned charter schools in Arizona. A comment writer wrote "Arizona found out, 'Charter schools tend to be fly by night' schools operated by entrepreneurs looking for new profit centers at the giant expense of the public school system."
I’ve created a small portal of information and links about school choice. I hope to expand this as I become aware of more school choice…
The "Kansas Political Action Committee," a group associated with the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA, the teachers union) has a questionnaire it asks candidates for the Kansas legislature to complete. After reading a few of these questions, it became clear to me that the questions are formulated to advance the interests of the teachers union and others wrapped up in -- and profiting from -- the public school bureaucracy and its monopoly on the use of state education funds.
Here's a question they asked:
KNEA opposes private school vouchers or tuition tax credits. Such proposals will divert needed resources from public schools. KNEA believes that every child in Kansas deserves a quality public school.
Helen (like myself) has tried to get test scores from USD 259 (Wichita public school district), but it's a difficult process. There's always a delay or reason why figures aren't available. But, as Helen noted in her talk, school board president Lynn Rogers and Wichita Eagle columnist Mark McCormick seem to have access to the data. Openness and transparency, as I noted in posts like Wichita Public Schools: Open Records Requests Are a Burden isn't a competency at USD 259.
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has produced the report Promising Start -- An Empirical Analysis of How EdChoice Vouchers Affect Ohio Public Schools, which finds these results:
This study finds that the EdChoice program produced academic improvements in voucher-eligible public schools. ... This study adds to a large body of empirical research that consistently finds vouchers improve academic outcomes at public schools. Vouchers allow families to choose the right schools to meet their children’s needs and introduce competitive incentives for improvement that are lacking in the traditional government-run education system.
I attended the meeting of the USD 259, the Wichita public school district, board on August 11, 2008. The proposed bond issue for 2008 was a big part of this meeting.
There were many speakers from the audience at this meeting. Almost all were employees of USD 259 or parents of students. Most said so, proudly in most cases, as they introduced themselves. To me, the fact that the swim team coach at a high school is in favor of building a swimming pool at that school is not remarkable, to say the least. It's also not a very persuasive argument from a public policy perspective. That so many of the speakers went out of their way to emphasize their close relationship with the school district highlights the nature of the proposed Wichita school bond issue: it's all about special interests.