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.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled last month against voucher programs for children with disabilities and for children in foster care. The almost 500 children in those two programs will only be allowed to finish out the remaining few months of the school year, but are out of luck next fall.
Governor Janet Napolitano called for the doubling of the number of college graduates by 2020 in her 2007 state of the state address and paying the tuition for students who graduate high school with a B average. How fast can you say grade inflation?
Just in time to celebrate Independence Day, the Goldwater Institute will release its new report, "Freedom from Responsibility: A Survey of Civic Knowledge Among Arizona High School Students," which reveals only 3.5 percent of Arizona high school students have learned the basic history, government and geography necessary to pass the U.S. Citizenship test.
Jon Talton, bless his heart, is at it again
Jon Talton’s January 29 column against the evils of providing English language learners school choice offered up the following:
“The real issue is a sustained war by extremist lawmakers on public education. Bogus ’school choice’ and other questionable experiments have been no substitute for quality. It's all the more shocking considering that most baby-boomer voters were the beneficiaries of quality public schools (as I was at Kenilworth School in central Phoenix).”
I've heard people say that Arizona's scholarship tax credits "only help rich kids go to private schools." This is a myth.
Based on the fact that three of the larger student tuition organizations (the Dioceses of Phoenix and Tucson and the Arizona School Choice Trust) means test their scholarships, we know a minimum of 41 percent of individual tax credit scholarships go to low-income students.
On education policy, appeasement is about as ineffective as it is in foreign affairs. Many proponents of school choice, especially Democrats, have tried to appease teachers unions by limiting their support to charter schools while opposing private school vouchers. They hope that by sacrificing vouchers, the unions will spare charter schools from political destruction.
The current discussion over higher education funding provides a good opportunity to ask: what is it we want from state universities?
I, for one, am confused by videos Arizona State University has posted on You Tube, like one called "University as Entrepreneur." This video uses buzzwords like innovation, entrepreneur, empowerment, experiential, sustainability, and (my favorite) the New American University.
While I'm more of a Robert Nozick guy, it is an interesting thought experiment to judge todays public schools against the principles of John Rawls, an enormously influential liberal political philosopher.
The Arizona Economic Council shot an advertisement in Africa claiming that the looming budget cuts to K-12 funding threaten to move Arizona to Third World Status. This is a popular refrain. Just a few months ago ASU President Michael Crow said cuts to higher education were going to move us to Third World status. There is just one problem with this statement: objective reality.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development collects spending-per-pupil data; here is Arizona compared to Third World Countries: