Education Reform

Too often, the traditional public-school model fails students and teachers. Charter schools, scholarship tax credits, and merit pay are giving students a better education and teachers a better career.

<p>Too often, the traditional public-school model fails students and teachers. Charter schools, scholarship tax credits, and merit pay are giving students a better education and teachers a better career. </p>

I received the following question after last week’s article explained that (once again) Arizona scored below the national average on the Nation’s Report Card, this time in Math:

Do these test scores take into consideration the massive influx of students who do not speak English and who do poorly on tests?

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently stated:

People have said to me ‘Chancellor, we will never fix education in America until we fix poverty in America.’ Now I care about fixing poverty, but those people have got it exactly backwards folks. We are never going to fix poverty in America until we fix education in America, and this report shows that it is entirely doable.

Baylor University economist Dr. Charles North developed an estimate of the savings to state taxpayers due to the individual tax credit, and shared his findings with the Arizona Legislature last week. You can find Dr. North’s analysis here and view his testimony to the Ad Hoc Committee on Private School Tax Credit Review here.

ABC’s John Stossel did a story a few years ago on the nation’s failed education system. Among the deficiencies are provisions in union contracts that hamstring the ability of school officials to weed out bad teachers. According to New York City Education Chancellor Joel Klein, it’s “just about impossible” to fire a bad teacher in New York. Klein said, “We tolerate mediocrity because people get paid the same, whether they are outstanding, average, or way below average.”

In the latest edition of City Journal, William Voegeli's article about the public sector strangling of the California economy provided the following nugget of wisdom:

Last week I wrote that the Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s official figures show that total per pupil school spending in Arizona increased by 20 percent between 2000 and 2009, while the state’s scores on the Nation's Report Card have increased by less than 1 percent.

The Department of Health and Human Services has been sitting on an evaluation of the Head Start government run pre-school program. Well, the study was released.

As the leaks suggested, the study found virtually no lasting effects to participation in Head Start. The study used a gold-standard, random assignment design and had a very large nationally representative sample. This was a well done study.

The Founders, in their genius, created a government system where our 50 states function as “laboratories of reform.” Arizona can lead the way for other states in policy areas where we excel and build upon other states’ success for our own benefit.

On March 10, 2009, President Barack Obama gave a major education speech before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In that speech, he declared that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan “will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works.”

Governor Jan Brewer has been encouraging the universities to develop lower cost alternatives to getting a four-year degree. But, the state is bankrupt and will not be able to find additional money to help create such options.

I have an idea that would help, and it will not cost a dime.

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