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.
Earlier this year, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) assessed the literacy of 1,800 graduating seniors from 80 randomly selected two- and four-year colleges and universities. What they found was not pretty.
20 percent of U.S. college students completing four-year degrees have only basic quantitative literacy skills. That means they are unable to estimate if their car has enough gas to get to the next gas station or to calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies.
Occasionally, a teacher union official tells you what he really thinks. The reigning champion in this regard was the late Albert Shanker, former President of the American Federation of Teachers, who famously said, "When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children."
According to the National Education Association (NEA), "A pure voucher system would only encourage economic, racial, ethnic, and religious stratification in our society." One wonders how the NEA could reach this conclusion when both the Milwaukee and Cleveland voucher experiences show otherwise.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has launched a war of words in an effort to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Villaraigosa has rhetorically lambasted the leaders of the LAUSD over lagging test scores and dismal dropout rates. Villaraigosa has impeccable progressive credentials, but his attempt to improve the grim status of the LAUSD has led him into a conflict with the same teacher's unions that he once served as an organizer.
A new Gates Foundation report detailing survey and focus-group responses by more than 500 dropouts nationwide prompted a two-day Oprah Winfrey special and a Time Magazine cover story. The coverage exposed the sad reality that nearly one in three high school students drops out.
High school dropouts need options, not opt-outs.
Morty Rosenfeld, President of the Plainview-Old Bethpage (New York) Congress of Teachers, strikes again, this time on the subject of charter schools. I am struck by the straight talk offered by this teacher union president:
Would "The Donald" be satisfied with public school return on investment?
Imagine that I was on "The Apprentice," and Donald Trump gave me a very special project: teach 100 children how to read. Because of the vital nature of this project, Trump gives me five years and $4 million to get the job done. $4 million is equivalent to the total revenue provided to Arizona public schools for 100 non-special education students for five years.
"Hire your team, solicit whatever outside help you can for your task, but get the job done!" barks the Donald.
Mark your calendar for Friday, September 28, when the feature film Won’t Back Down hits theaters. Based on real events in California, the movie depicts a group of parents’ efforts to reform a failing school.
One of the perks of being a dad is that your children keep you current on popular culture. My son worked his way through the Harry Potter series this summer and informed me that “rememberalls” are small orbs to help you remember things and you can eat chocolate frogs, if they don’t hop away first.
He told me about the Mirror of Erised, which appears in the first of the seven-book series, and is a mirror that allows Harry to see exactly what he wants to. Everyone who looks into the mirror sees what they want to see.