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>

Administrators across the state say the school-district-unification plans sent to Gov. Janet Napolitano are not the answer to higher academic results.

The report submitted Friday by the Arizona School District Redistricting Commission would affect more than 330,000 Arizona students.

Twenty-seven districts would replace the existing 76 elementary and high-school districts, eliminating 49 districts of the state's 227.

Washington-A hearing by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on minority overrepresentation in special education expanded into a three-hour discussion that touched on parental choice, school officials judgment calls on special education placements, and effective early-childhood education.

The commission plans to sift through the interconnected issues raised at the Dec. 3 hearing and make recommendations on the minority-overrepresentation issue, which has vexed educators for years.

On June 11, 2007, the Goldwater Institute published A Test of Credibility: NAEP versus TerraNova Test Score Results in Arizona. Recently, the Arizona Department of Education published a 12-page response.  Here, Dr. Matthew Ladner, Goldwater Institute Vice President of Research and coauthor of A Test of Credibility, discusses the ADEs claims.

Mark Twain once quipped, No mans life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. That is often true, but as the lawmaking branch of government, the legislature also has a great capacity to protect life, liberty, and property.

Colleges of Education Not Up to Snuff

The Citizen's Monday editorial ("Achievement, income linked") was both on and off the mark.

The editorial states, "Public schools serving high-income families perform very well. Schools serving poor families tend to founder."

A settlement has been announced of the lawsuit brought by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of five charter schools against Superintendent Tom Horne, the State Board, and the State Board for Charter Schools.  The parties have agreed on the wording of this press release and will not comment further.

1. The plaintiff schools are excellent schools and in particular provide a high-quality Social Studies curriculum.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is all over the media defending the curriculum regulations that are the object of a lawsuit by five high-performing public charter schools. It turns out he can only defend the rules by flagrantly misrepresenting them.

Charter schools are given freedom to pursue innovative educational approaches, and in turn are held to high performance standards. The results are impressive: Even though charters constitute only one in 10 Arizona public schools, six of the state's 10 highest-performing schools are charter schools.

If there was an award for mindless over-regulation by government school bureaucracy, Arizona's Department of Education would be a favorite to win it.

The ADE has decreed that the curricula of all public schools, including charter schools, must be exactly aligned grade by grade.

One of its specific requirements (the educational rationale for which is obscure at best) is that all schools must teach U.S. history in the seventh and eighth grades.

When No Child Left Behind passed in 2001, it enjoyed wide bipartisan support.

Now there are growing concerns that the bill to reauthorize the act will undermine the public school transparency it sought to establish.

NCLB requires schools to test fourth- and eighth-grade students and make the test results public. Schools face sanctions for underperformance.

The requirement for how many students must pass the tests increases each year until reaching 100 percent in 2014.