Category Archives: School choice

School choice on the move, though not in Kansas

School choice is on the move, according to the American Federation of Children. The pro-school choice group cites developments in 11 states during the first six months of this year. The states are: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin. (Where’s Kansas?) The actions included:

– Removing caps on the number of charter schools

– Creation of education savings accounts

– Creation of new voucher programs

– Expansion of existing voucher programs

– Expansion of tax-credit programs for education

Students benefit from Voucher Programs

Writing for the Foundation for Education Choice, Jeff Reed explains the benefits of school choice in a letter to the Johnson County Sun.

“Nine of the 10 “gold standard” studies examining voucher programs concluded that some or all participants benefited academically. One found no difference. As for public schools, 18 of 19 empirical studies showed vouchers impacted them positively, with one reporting no effect. No empirical analysis has discovered negative effects from vouchers.”

All that is good for an advocate of school choice. On the other hand, school choice has a moral dimension, too: It lets the poor have the options that people of means currently have. It also promotes the tailoring of an education to the learning style and personality of each student. Though if I were philosopher-king, I would establish some sort of tax-credit mechanism rather than vouchers.

Two New Resources

If you’re interested in education in Kansas, here are some websites you should check out:

Kansas Open Gov takes information from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and transforms it into an easy to understand, sortable format. You can look at district revenues and spending per pupil, as well as district checkbooks, cash balances, and other financial information. You can also compare one district to another.

Kansas Open Gov also has achievement data, for both the state  (NAEP) and districts (state assessments).

Why Not Kansas is all about school choice–tax credits, charter schools, vouchers, what have you. It has news on the latest developments in school choice programs and laws across the nation, as well as the basics about various forms of school choice.

Colorado district considers multiple options for funding education

The Douglas County school board in south suburban Denver is contemplating something very unusual–letting children take a portion of the funds the district collects to any school of their choice, even private schools. The Denver Post offers some information, as does Ed is Watching. Under a proposed “Option Certificate Program,” parents could take 75 percent of the money the state gives the  district and spend it on tuition at a private school.

Much is made of the fact that this money could be spent at religious schools. Critics say this is simply a way for residents to spend taxpayer money on religious schools; advocates say it’s a way of offering families more options.

I believe the advocates are right, but the point deserves some elaboration. First, what matters is whether children have the opportunity to learn, not the name of the school they attend. Too often, we confuse the terms “public education” and “public schools.” “Public education” means … the education of the public. By contrast, “public schools” — schools owned and run by units of government — are one of several means towards that end. Home schooling, private schools, public charter schools, and public school districts–all of them–offer public education.

Isn’t there a “separation of church and state” argument? Not really. The U.S.  Supreme Court has ruled that public money for the education of children can be spent on religious schools as long as it’s the parents who do the choosing, and children are not coerced into attending a religious school. (See Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 2002.) Do such programs violate state constitutions? Some state courts (though none in Kansas that I know of) have said no as well, following a similar reasoning that the U.S. Supreme Court used in Zelman.

But if that possibility still troubles you, ask this yourself this: why are so many private schools religious ones? Here’s one answer: As a parent, you’re probably already paying taxes to support a school district to which you can by law send your child. What’s going to motivate you to pay tuition on top of that? Religious faith is one compelling reason, and probably the most commonly used one.

Let parents take some of the money spent on behalf of their child to a private school, and you’ve expanded the range of choices for those parents. Isn’t that a good thing? Most Americans like having more choices rather than fewer.

One very interesting element of this proposal for your policy nerds out there. These sorts of efforts, where they have been enacted at all (Cleveland, Milwaukee, and a few other places) have been implemented by state politicians. This idea, by contrast, is an effort by some local officials to shake things up.

Good for them. The traditional public school can’t be all things to all people. Parents need more options.

U.S. Supreme Court to hear case on Arizona tax credit program

The constitutionality of school voucher programs under the U.S. Constitution has been long-established, under the 2002 case known as Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, which arose out of a program in Cleveland, Ohio.

Arizona takes a different approach: Donate to an organization that gives scholarships that students can use to attend a private school, and you get a tax credit. The organizations are called “student tuitioning organizations,” as you might expect, they’re a hit with both donors and the families that benefit from the resulting scholarships. Since Arizona adopted this approach in 1997, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have followed suit.

The ACLU and others have challenged the constitutionality of the Arizona program, saying that it creates an establishment of religion. Some students use the scholarships at religious schools.

The Court will hear oral arguments in October, and deliver its opinion in May or June, 2011.

The Arizona Republic has more on the controversy. The Goldwater Institute is a party to the lawsuit, on the side of families receiving STO money.

Everybody loves a convert

No surprise here, I suppose: The NEA has given the “Friend of Education” award to Diane Ravitch, an historian and one-time official in the Bush Administration. Ravitch was at one time an advocate of school choice and school charters, but has recently recanted her views.

Admittedly, this is old news, but I just saw it today.

For a contrary position, see this short article from the New York Post.

Book notes: Feds in the Classroom

What should the policy of the U.S. government be towards education? For the most part, says Neal. P. McCluskey, it’s a simple one: Butt out. McCluskey elaborates in his book Feds in the Classroom, published in 2007.

Here are some point he makes in the book.

Chapter 1, “From the first settlers to the fifties,” starts with the earliest settlers in the New World and continues through Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954. One of the key points of this chapter is the fact that early settlers valued education but not necessarily schooling. Their approach gave way over time to the centralizing tendencies of Horace Mann and then professional (that is to say, bureaucratic) schools. This evolution took place over many decades, and at different rates throughout the country. Another point is that there have many different purposes projected for education, including preparing good Christians and workers for an increasing number of factories. A third point is that as schools became larger and more centralized, cultural conflicts arose among different groups over ethnic, religious, and other lines. Finally, blacks were systematically and widely harmed or at best ignored by public policies concerning education.

Chapter 2, “Rise of the feds,” describes how federal spending on education (and later, influence in) education took off under LBJ. A law known as ESEA enacted “Title I” and other programs. ESEA has been revisited several times since then, most recently, as No Child Left Behind. Federal involvement continued to grow during the years of Nixon (federal courts mandated busing to achieve racial integration), Carter (a new Department of Education), Reagan (his secretary of education undermined his promise to abolish the department, and published A Nation at Risk, which led to even more federal involvement), Bush 41 and Bill Clinton (Goals 2000), and finally, Bush 43 (No Child Left Behind). Yet as centralization continued apace, the 1990s saw several developments that would partly decentralize education: Charter schools grew from scratch; Cleveland launched a voucher program, and homeschooling came out of the legal shadows, where it had been in many states.

Chapter 3, “No Child Left Behind,” describes how this large and influential law came into being, and what it does.  One lesson is that “the political calculus of Washington almost always produces results in education that end up helping the special interests who make their livelihoods off the system, not the parents and children public schooling is supposed to serve.” An interesting fact from the chapter is that the National Conference of State Legislatures criticized NCLB as a violation of the Tenth Amendment. The chapter also discusses a key Supreme Court case that affirmed that voucher programs do not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Chapter 4, “The reckoning,” compares increases in federal spending with changes in student achievement. By 2005, inflation-adjusted federal spending grew to at least 7 times its size in 1965. What have we gotten in return? Not much. Most federal programs in education have grown, despite the fact–or perhaps, in the twisted logic of politics, because–they have failed to deliver. While sympathetic to the belief that there’s more to education than can be measured by standardized tests, the author considers and dismisses various explanations for stagnant test scores, including insufficient funding, an increase in the “unteachability” of students, and “Baumol’s Disease,” which posits that increased productivity in services is, if not impossible, very hard to achieve. A final point in the chapter is that even when legally required evaluations of new programs are conducted, negative evaluations of those programs does not kill them. Indeed, failing programs keep receiving more money.

Chapter 5, “Enforce the Constitution,” argues that there is (aside from schooling military dependents, providing for education in Washington, DC,  and enforcing civil rights) little or no constitutional justification for a federal role in education. Even when judged by rationales offered in federal law–that federal involvement is required due to academic emergencies, to promote educational excellence, and to promote national competitiveness–federal programs fail. This chapter discusses the various programs justified under ESEA, among other laws. A proper understanding of the U.S. Constitution affirms that the founders meant for education to be the province of states, communities, and families, an understanding that has been changed not through the constitutionally mandated process of amending the Constitution, but through executive power and laws laid down by Congress.

Chapter 6, “How the Judiciary Found a Federal Role,” explains the concept of judicial review (if you don’t remember Marbury v. Madison, here’s your review). Race, however, is the key. The Fourteenth Amendment was enacted after the Civil War to ensure that states would not deny constitutional rights to newly freed slaves. FDR’s court-packing scheme comes into play, too, with the result that courts removed many previously understood roadblocks to government action. Race again came to the fore with Brown v. Board of Education (the 1950s) and then rulings requiring not only the end to the law of segregation but also laws requiring busing to achieve integration. In the 1990s, however, the courts backed away from mandatory busing. On religion, the author says that the courts have gotten it right, forbidding both the establishment of religion (school prayer, among other decisions) and laws that forbid the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately, the courts have let Congress bully states by passing laws and then withholding money from non-compliant states, a practice that has been used to, among other things, impose a national drinking age and a national speed limit. States are free to refuse federal money (and thus, federal strings), but that doesn’t keep their residents from having to pay federal taxes to support programs legislators don’t like.

Chapter 7, “No G Men Need Apply” is an argument against national standards. Progressive educators have taken sway over an increasingly centralized approach to education. Traditionalists, by contrast, are content (and in some cases eager) to keep a top-down approach, as long as they are the ones who get to control it. The author, instead, argues that “the millions of American students in tens of thousands of schools across the country are simply far too diverse for any uniform system of education to work.” He then asks, “who should control education,” and outlines a series of options, from worst to best: national control, state control, local control, and finally, parental control, through school choice measures. Centralization inevitably means increased clashes over the scope, content, and style of education. It also runs the risk of making small mistakes writ large. Some research suggests that decentralization has academic and other benefits.

Chapter 8, “Out of the Jaws,” calls for both state governments and the national government to scale back regulations and for states to create school choice options. But what about soccer moms who “form one of the most vehemently antichoice demographics in the country”? They should understand, the author says, that “the rot in system is not receding, but growing, and inching ever closer to their children.”

McCluskey thus challenges Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, and experts of all stripes who think if only they were in charge and had more money to work with, American education would excel.

Race to the Top and competition

What lesson can we draw from the federal Race-to-the-Top fund? Evelyn Stacey of the Pacific Research Institute says that it’s that competition matters:

Race to the Top concedes that competition is a valid principle in education. After all, in this “race” the federal government urges the states to compete for money by implementing various reforms. The same principle of competition being endorsed by President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan has been advocated by school-choice supporters for years.

Now, you can argue that RTTP imperils state and local control of education, and I do agree that there’s too much centralization in education as it is. But give the federal government its due in this case: Many of the reforms envisioned by RTTP, such as tying at least a portion of teacher pay to student performance, are worthwhile. It’s unfortunate that states don’t implement these reforms on their own.

Kansas has pointedly decided to sit out of the second round of the RTTP competition. From the point of view of federal-state relations, that’s not a bad idea. But Kansans should implement some of the RTTP reforms.

Oklahoma enacts scholarships for special-needs students

The ability of parents rather than government officials to direct where education dollars are spent advanced just a little bit this week, as Oklahoma enacted a scholarship program for children with special needs.

Friedman The Foundation for Educational Choice reports:

The Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act redirects dollars spent on a participating child at his current public school to the public or private school of his family’s choice. The scholarship, named after the governor’s infant daughter who died of Werdnig-Hoffman Disease, will be equal to state and local dollars that would have been spent to educate the child in his public school or the amount of private school tuition, whichever is less.

[snip]

Oklahoma joins Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Utah as states that offer school choice opportunities for students with special needs, according to the Foundation for Educational Choice.

The law was supported by a bipartisan coalition in the Legislature, and signed by a Democrat governor. According to the Daily Oklahoman, “House Bill 3393 will not require new spending but redirects existing state funds currently spent on the student, said Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, author of HB 3393.”

You can read the legislation here.

Save the child, or the ideal?

Opponents of school choice say that school choice is bad because it “abandons” children who don’t end up exercising choice. Better than letting some children pursue what their parents rightly or wrongly think is a better school, the argument goes, is fixing schools so that every child has an excellent school. (A member of the San Francisco school board gives a longer and more nuanced version of this argument on her blog, in which she says that we must limit school choice, even if some of its strongest supporters are low-income families.)

But at some point we should ask  “Haven’t we barred the doors long enough?” Efforts at reinventing public education go back decades, and public schools have been afflicted with–not enough money, too few teachers, outdated pedagogy, union work rules, pick your favorite impediment–and thousand upon thousands of students are not graduating, or graduating with substandard academic or work skills. In other words, while we experiment with school reform, children are being harmed.

That should change. It would change, at least for some kids, if we increased schooling options. Charter schools. Virtual schooling. Public financing of scholarships to attend privately owned schools. Cross-district enrollment. Freedom to choose a school within a district. Whatever.  It’s time to stop letting the perfect being the enemy of the good.

Florida expands school tax credit program

About a dozen states have various forms of school choice measures that help families who want their children to attend a private school or a public school district other than the one they live in.

Florida is among the leading states, with several programs. One is the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. You can read the authorizing legislation here, and the basics about the program in this PDF document. In brief, companies that make donations to organizations that grant scholarships to private schools get a credit against their state taxes. The “school funding organizations” give money to low-income families, who can use the money either for private school tuition or to cover the costs of transportation to an alternative, nearby public school.

Last week, Gov. Charlie Crist signed SB2126, which expands the amount of money available in the program. The Jacksonville Observer offers a short description of the new law does for it:

The program is funded by private companies that get a corporate tax credit in return for a donation. Currently, more than 27,000 students receive a $3,950 scholarship. Under the new law, the $118 million cap expands to $140 million this year, and then allows it to expand by 25 percent whenever the donations reach 90 percent of the cap. The measure also provides additional tax credits for the program, adding oil and gas severance taxes, beverage taxes on alcohol and other types of business taxes.

The goal is to increase the amount of students who receive the scholarship and boost the individual award amount, so that it eventually reaches 80 percent of the state allocation for per pupil spending, which is currently at about $6,866 per student.

The Observer article quotes a study saying the program costs the state money–a finding consistent with critics.

Opponents of expanding the corporate tax credit vouchers argue that the program takes tax money away from public schools, while supporters say that it actually saves the state money because the amount the public schools spend per pupil is higher than the voucher tax credit. A legislative analysis of the measure predicted there would be a $31 million hit on the state budget for fiscal year 2010-2011, with a recurring impact on general revenue of $228.8 million.

After trying to find the source of this information, I found something that suggests that Observer missed a key part of the estimate:

The Revenue Estimating Conference’s estimated impact on General Revenue receipts of the additional tax credits authorized by the bill is -$31.0 million in fiscal year 2010-11 with a recurring impact on General Revenue of -$228.8 million. The bill is also expected to result in increased savings to the state as fewer students will require funding within the FEFP as the FTC program is expanded. The increased FEFP savings are expected to exceed the revenue impacts [PDF] in each of the first four years under the legislation.

Money aside, 2009  report on the program has found participating parents were very satisfied with the schooling their children received as a result. Remember, these are not country-club parents who are sending their kids off to elite prep schools on the taxpayer’s dime. These are low-income parents who are able, as a result of the scholarship, to pay in tuition only a fraction of what public schools in the state spend.

Talking with parents was a key factor for one legislator, according to the Observer:

Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, who was initially against the program, flipped his position over the years after learning that 78 students in his district received the scholarship and talking to them about their choice.

“If it helps whatever that little guy or gal is, that’s the bottom line for me,” Heller said.

Good for him.

The State of School Choice in 2010

The 2009-10 School Choice Yearbook (PDF) is out, and it’s full of interesting statistics and facts.

What do school choice programs look like? “There are now 18 publicly funded private school choice programs operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia. These programs are evenly divided between school voucher programs (9) and scholarship tax credit programs (9). Of the 18 programs in existence, five
are specifically designed to assist children with special needs.” The yearbook describes the various sorts of programs that are available.

The average amount per child: $3,373, which is a pittance compared with total spending by school districts–but enough to get some children new options. The state with the largest number of students who benefit is Florida, with nearly 47,000 students participating.

Last year, legislatures created new programs: “Indiana’s legislature created a $2.5 million individual and corporate scholarship tax credit program.”

They also expanded old ones: “Florida approved, with record bipartisan support, a dramatic
expansion to its tax credit program—making that program the largest in the nation.”

Iowa let companies receive tax credits for donations to student scholarship funds. Previously, only individual and family taxpayers could receive the credits.

Louisiana put more money into a scholarship program for students in New Orleans. (This is on top of the city’s massive charter school program.)

Utah put more money into a scholarship program for children with autism.

How many children participate in school choice programs? About 180,000. That’s a rounding error in the total number of students (about 46 million), but you have to start somewhere.

Another bright spot: School choice is picking up support, slowly, among both progressives and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats: “Prominent Democratic supporters of private school choice include: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Robert Byrd, Senator Joe Lieberman, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, Louisiana State Senator Ann Duplessis, and former U.S. Representative Carrie Meek. Furthermore, a majority of school choice programs enacted over the past five years have been approved by a Democratic legislative body or signed by a Democratic governor.”

On the other hand, school choice programs came under fire in a number of states, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. A popular (with parents) voucher program in Washington DC was effectively ended.

The yearbook also offers a review of how students perform in school choice programs, their financial impact (generally, saving money).

Unfortunately, school choice in Kansas is limited, especially for children in low-income families who might not be able to afford to move to another school district or pay even $3,000-$4,000 for private school tuition. There are some charter schools, but they are few and far between. Virtual schools are one option, as is homeschooling.

Choice For Me But Not You

From an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, titled Arne Duncan’s Choice:

Science magazine recently asked Mr. Duncan where his daughter attends school and “how important was the school district in your decision about where to live?” He responded: “She goes to Arlington [Virginia] public schools. That was why we chose where we live, it was the determining factor . . . I didn’t want to try to save the country’s children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children’s education.” It certainly is easier to champion public schools when you have your pick of the better ones (like the Duncans) or the means to send your children to a private school (like the Obamas).

School Choice Across the Nation

How many ways can governments provide school choice to parents? More than you think. The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy has released my report on the subject, called School Innovations Across the Nation. You can get it (PDF) here.

The report discusses four areas of school choice:

  1. Charter schools
  2. Tax credits and tax deducations
  3. Vouchers
  4. Virtual schools

You’ll find an explanation of why some parents like charter schools, and a small sampling of the varieties of charter schools. But for the most part the report doesn’t seek to argue for these innovations or talk about evidence for why they can be useful. While those are worthy topics, to be sure, the report has a more basic purpose, that of describing how states have set up these innovations.

For example, in Kansas, if you want to start a charter school, you have to get the approval of the local school board. In effect, a charter school is nothing more (or nothing less) than an alternative school operated by the district.

But did you know that in some states–including those with a good record on education, such as Minnesota–allow people to petition a university, private foundation, or alternative state board of education if they want to start a charter school? There are many benefits to such arrangements.

In addition, some states let corporations and/or personal income tax filers get a tax credit for education. Give money to a scholarship-granting organization, and get a credit. The organization, in turn, gives a scholarship to a child wanting another option. What a great way to contribute to the education of a needy child!

That’s a short introduction. Read the report and you’ll find out more about the ways that Kansas can open the horizons of children.

Research Note: School Choice Boosts Achievement

Here’s a note from my friends at the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

Since the start of the Horizon program nine years ago, Edgewood ISD test scores and graduation rates have increased and more than 90% of program participants have gone on to college. Public and private school students alike have thrived under school choice in San Antonio.

To see a report on the program (PDF file), click here.

Save money through school choice

In light of the Kansas budget situation, officials ought to consider an option that will save the money over the long run: make it easier for students to attend private schools through enacting a voucher or tax credit program.

“What does that have to do with anything?,” you may ask. A lot. Yes, some private schools charge more in tuition each year than a local school district will spend. But those are the exceptions. Private schools as a rule spend less.

One tax credit program in effect is in Florida, where companies get a tax credit for education-related donations. Give money to a non-profit organization that gives scholarships to help students attend a private school, and get a tax credit. Students get another option for education, and taxpayer benefit: One official report in Florida says: “We estimate that in Fiscal Year 2007-08, taxpayers saved $1.49 in state education funding for every dollar loss in corporate income tax revenue due to credits for scholarship contributions.”

Adam Schaeffer has more.

Would such a program work in Kansas? The actual amount of the cost savings depends on a variety of factors, but the idea is certainly worth exploring.

Lecture Parents, or Give them Power to Choose?

The Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey has had enough of politicians telling parents to read to their children. No, he’s not against reading.

“Consider the gall: Public-schooling defenders insist that parents pay for public schools, largely on the grounds that parents can’t handle education themselves. Then they spin right around to blame parents when the schooling is a dud!”

In other words, parents are welcome to “participate” in their children’s education–as long as they support the administration and teachers union and don’t ask any questions–especially “Can we take our money elsewhere?”

Flunked

The Wichita Eagle takes note of Flunked the Movie, recently shown in Wichita. The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy was one of the sponsors. Contrary to what you might think from the title, the movie isn’t entirely about schools that fail and why they fail. It also shows some schools–unconventional schools–that are working and succeeding.

It has this interesting piece of information:

“But school board president Lynn Rogers said if people vote against the bond issue hoping to expand school choice, “it’d probably take a constitutional amendment” to accomplish it.

Kansas law has rules limiting the formation of charter schools and doesn’t provide money for school vouchers or tax credits.”

Kansas law on charter schools is very restrictive, as we have pointed out. Unlike charter schools in some other states, Kansas charter schools have no financial or legal independence from school districts. That dependence–something that not every school district would want–works counter to the independence that is inherent in the concept of charter schools. Kansans should develop a strong charter school sector, and one step towards that end is changing the law so that entities other than school districts–perhaps universities, perhaps an independent state board of education for charter schools–are authorized to grant and oversee charter schools. That step would require a change in law–but not a constitutional amendment.

As for whether a voucher or tax credit arrangement would require a change in the constitution, opinions differ. See, for example, this testimony (PDF) given before the Kansas Legislature.

Public Support for School Choice

A national survey conducted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools shows some significant support for school choice: More than three out of four voters (77%) favor giving parents more options when choosing a public school for their children.”

Regulations Governing Private Schools

It’s commonly assumed that private schools are not subject to regulations. Not so, says the Friedman Foundation, which offers a review of the laws governing private schools in the 50 states.

(To the extent that private schools face a competitive advantage due to a lighter regulatory burden, that might serve as an argument for cutting some red tape in public schools.)

Vouchers Help Special Education Kids

A new report from the Manhattan Institute says that special education vouchers have helped children in Florida. Some programs of choice in that state have been struck down due to lawsuits, but the McKay Scholarship Program lives on–and appears to have some benefits.

Do School Choice Measures Mean “Giving Up?”

Our friends at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs report on a legislative plan to offer tax deductions to people who donate money to organizations that grant educational scholarships. The idea, according to proponents, is to make it easier for parents to find a more suitable setting for children who are in failing schools.

Opponents claim, on the other hand, that it’s important to keep those children in those failing schools because to do otherwise would be to “give up.”

Start for a minute with this question: If you had the means to move your children out of a school that isn’t working for you?

A Democratic state senator, who had been on the Tulsa school board for 16 years, voted in favor of the measure, and had some rather powerful words to say on the subject: “It was one of those relatively rare moments in politics, when a speech really does make a difference.”\

Another senator made this remark: “Children weren’t made for the public schools; public schools were made for the children.”

Myths About Charter Schools

With its innovation-stifling laws on the subject, Kansas doesn’t make much use of charter schools. One reason may be that too many people have bought into some myths about charter schools. A few years ago the Center for Education Reform put together a response to some myths it found people frequently holding about charter schools.

Among the arguments: “Choice is bad for democracy” and “Competition has no impact.”

Two Ideas from Georgia

There are a couple of proposals in the Georgia legislature that might be of interest elsewhere. SB 458 would, among other things, give a scholarship to students who attend schools that lose their accreditation.

HB would create a commission to review charter school applications.

Competition for Baskets, Why not Students?

As March Madness comes near, it’s time to ask: we have no problem seeing schools compete against each other in sports. Why shouldn’t they compete against each other for the right to educate students?