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>

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.

You may be among the thousands of Arizona parents who bought pencils, notebooks, and backpacks last month to help your kids get ready for that first day of school. But with all the supply checklists, did you remember to check the grade for your child’s school?

As the evidence about the benefits of school choice accumulates, opponents start inventing new arguments.

For years, opponents of school choice have argued that voucher programs would drain taxpayer resources from public education. But it turns out they got things backwards. A new report by Dr. Susan Aud finds that school choice programs have led to substantial savings for public schools and steady increases in per-student spending.

Arthur Levine, former President of the Teachers College of Columbia University, has issued no-holds barred critiques of teacher training and school leadership training. This month Levine released an overview of researcher training in the nations colleges of education.

Senator Hillary Clinton recently unveiled a proposal for a new $10 billion federal program to offer preschool for all children. But, the Clinton plan is based on two flawed assumptions; first, that preschool is an essential component of all children's early education; second, that it's the federal government's responsibility to promote and manage it.

Since Arizona blazed the trail for tuition scholarship tax credits in 1997, Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have followed our example with programs of their own. More states will likely follow in the next few years.

This year the Arizona legislature is considering an improvement to the individual tax credit law that would allow taxpayers to contribute to scholarship organizations up to the April 15th tax filing deadline, similar to an Individual Retirement Account. Currently, a contributor must take action by December 31st.

Political commentators use the term "Dukakis in the Tank" as shorthand for a public relations effort that backfires. Arizona is in the midst of a home-grown version.

On August 15th, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) issued a press release proclaiming "Horne: Latest ACT College Entrance Exams are Further Proof that Arizona Students Perform Above the National Average."

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