August 28, 2011
Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation We're used to hearing bad news from the education front - poor test scores, falling literacy, slipping standards. But the new academic year brings a welcome change: School-choice programs have expanded significantly in recent months. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal has already dubbed 2011 "The Year of School Choice. " As of this month, 18 states and Washington have policies that support private-school choice. But public-school choice options also continue to grow.
July 29, 2011
STATE REP. Mark Longietti shuffled through his sheaf of papers and pulled up the study that summed up his concerns about expanding school choice. "What these studies show," Longietti concluded, "is that vouchers have not improved public school outcomes. " In fact, the studies he referred to, in particular one by the University of Arizona, showed that children in voucher schools in Wisconsin had done significantly worse on standardized tests than kids in traditional public schools.
July 21, 2011 |
WITH all that's embroiled the Philadelphia School District over the last three months - a surprise deficit topping half a billion dollars, staff layoffs by the thousands, evidence suggesting possible widespread cheating on standardized tests - it's no surprise that the contract controversy at Martin Luther King High has faded from the headlines. But with Mayor Nutter's investigation into the whole tangled affair said to be nearly complete, Philadelphians may soon learn much more about why a high-stakes process that started so smoothly collapsed so completely.
July 6, 2011
Reasons to get out of Philadelphia I was amused and amazed at the article about the supposed dilemma parents of preschool children face over whether or not to remain residents of Philadelphia ("Young and restless, facing school choice," last Wednesday). Friends who have been teachers in the Philadelphia public schools for many years often recount the horror stories that confront them and their students daily. But there is another factor driving many people - and not only families with young children - to move: the outrageously high taxes on residents and businesses.
June 26, 2011
Donna Cooper's article on Monday ("School spending worked, data show") turned cherry-picking data into a fine art. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the national exam used to compare performance among states, more than half of Pennsylvania's fourth- and eighth-grade students are not proficient in reading or math. Since 1996, Pennsylvania has doubled what it spends on education, from $13 billion to $26 billion. But performance on the NAEP has changed little, and recent tests show fourth-grade students' scores actually declined.
June 14, 2011 |
We like to think it's nice and neat: non-public schools in this corner and public schools in that corner. The non-public schools can attract student-athletes from anywhere. They can recruit. They have the advantage. The public schools are limited to the student-athletes in their sending district. They can't recruit. They are at a disadvantage. The truth is a little murkier than that, though, isn't it? The field isn't always level for public schools, is it?
May 25, 2011
WILL BUNCH's recent article identifies wealthy Americans who are voluntarily donating their money to push greater school choice. Bunch fails to balance the story by identifying the groups lobbying against school choice - groups profiting off the $26 billion Pennsylvanians spend on public schools, whose revenue comes not by voluntary contributions, but by tax dollars and forced dues. More than $81 million is funneled through school districts to the numerous acronyms of special-interest groups.
May 11, 2011
While it's good to hear that Gov. Christie is busy working on a plan to fix the failing Camden school system, given the state's track record it is hard to get excited about the state coming to the rescue again. Certainly, it is good to see Camden get any attention from Christie. Only months ago, he was telling the poor city that it should learn to stand on its own. Christie still hasn't revealed exactly what he has in store for Camden schools. But after declaring this the year for education reform in New Jersey, he has waged an all-out assault on public schools with a push for vouchers and more charters.
May 10, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Gov. Corbett, making his first appearance on a national stage since taking office in January, told an audience at an education conference Monday that providing families with an alternative to failing public schools was a "moral obligation. " The featured lunch speaker at a policy summit sponsored by the advocacy group American Federation for Children, Corbett said school districts had become "labor-management battlegrounds" and portrayed school choice as a powerful tool for repairing a broken system.
May 10, 2011 |
Pennsylvania's public schools have focused too much on teacher contracts and not enough on curriculum, Gov. Corbett said yesterday, telling supporters of public-school alternatives that competition with private, religious or charter schools will improve the quality of education and help society erase class divisions. Corbett linked teachers' unions to poorly performing schools and said that giving students the ability to take taxpayer-provided tuition money to the school of their choice would open up a "mansion of opportunities" for kids who want to learn.