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.
Over the past 20 years, Arizona teachers, parents, and community leaders have created more than 500 charter schools—independent, tuition-free public schools that operate with fewer regulations in exchange for higher levels of transparency. Some of these schools are among the highest-achieving schools in the nation, with their students routinely topping nationwide comparisons.
Phoenix and New York City are separated by 2,500 miles, but the distance between them in terms of education innovation can only be measured in light years.
This is a big week for Arizona families. First, children in failing schools and children with special needs, along with children from active-duty military families and adopted children have until Wednesday to apply for an education savings account. These accounts, only available in Arizona, have helped more than 300 children in the past two years find better education options than what their zip code assigned them to, including tutoring services, online classes, and private schools.
Last week, MSNBC began advertising their new, full-time babysitting cooperative. It’s free, and every child is eligible. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said in the ad, “Kids belong to whole communities,” and children should be “everybody’s responsibility, and not just the household’s.”
We can get news anywhere, on TV and radio and from blogs and Twitter, not to mention Web sites like CNN.com and FoxNews.com. Over 11 billion results pop up if you type “news” into the Google search bar, creating a flood of information.
Today, 17 states and the District of Columbia allow children to use scholarships to choose between public and private schools, regardless of what public school their zip code assigns them to. Twenty years ago, only one state offered parents this freedom: Wisconsin.
All parents want an effective school for their child. But no parent should have to take the drastic steps that Yolanda Miranda took to give her children a chance at a good education: Yolanda went to jail and was charged with grand larceny for sending her children to better schools in their grandmother’s district instead of their assigned schools.
“If I had to do it again 10 times over, I would,” Yolanda says.
The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team is headed to the “Sweet 16” round of the NCAA tournament, having thumped their first two opponents, Belmont and Harvard. USA Today reports that it’s “hard to find flaws” with the Wildcat’s performance in the tourney so far.
All eyes will be on Arizona when they play second-seed Ohio State on Thursday.