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.
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:
It looks like Arizona is set to opt out of No Child Left Behind. Arizonans need transparency and accountability in public schooling, but they do not need NCLB.
The Goldwater Institute has written extensively about the flaws of NCLB. Chief among them is the fact that NCLB creates an entirely perverse incentive for states to lower their academic standards in order to meet a federal goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.
We have a new entrant in the K-12 fable-making industry: a website called Stand Up for Arizona.
A few weeks ago, the Arizona Economic Council created an advertisement equating Arizona public school funding to that of a Third World country. Of course, Arizona spends many times above and beyond the wildest dreams of Third World school administrators. But that didn't stop them from making the claim.
President-elect Barack Obama belongs to a growing club of elected officials who oppose school vouchers for poor families while sending their own children to private school.