Friday, November 22, 2013

School choice for Dhimmis

Opponents of school choice like to say that parents are free to choose any school they want, but if it's a faith-based school then parents have to pay for it themselves. This reminds me of something that Jay Greene recently wrote in another context:

So, the state only pays for its own vision of a good education but you have to pay extra if you want to pursue something else. This is roughly comparable to the status of Dhimmis (non-Muslims in an Islamic state) who are allowed to practice a different religion as long as they pay an extra tax. Doesn’t feel compatible with a free society, does it?

No, it doesn't. Sadly, in the Western Hemisphere, only Cuba and the United States do not routinely provide public support for parents to choose a faith-based school.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Should state funding require state accountability?

In a new piece over at Education Next, Jay P. Greene argues that "the oft-repeated claim that state funding requires accountability to the state is an obviously shallow and false political slogan rather than a well-considered policy view." After all,
Most state funded programs require no formal accountability to the state and instead rely primarily on the self-interest of the recipients to use the funds wisely. For example, the largest domestic program, social security, is designed to prevent seniors from lacking basic resources for housing, food, or clothing. But we don’t demand that seniors account for the use of their social security checks. They could blow it at the casino if they want. We’re just counting on the fact that most would have the good sense to make sure that their basic needs are covered first.

Even in the area of education most government programs require no formal accountability. Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and the Daycare Tuition Tax Credit do not require state testing for people using those funds. We just trust that the public purpose of subsidizing education will be served by people pursuing their own interests. Anyone who declares that state funding requires state accountability obviously hasn’t thought about this for more than 10 seconds.

'Proud history, perilous future for faith-based schools'

Here is an excellent new report.

'We now have hope'

See what these grandparents have to say about what a Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship has meant for their grandson.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Revolving door

It turns out that a former teacher in Porter, Oklahoma, who is now charged with sex offenses resigned from a teaching position in Drumright five years ago after a 17-year-old student told police that he had sex with her, the Tulsa World reports.

Friday, November 15, 2013

School choice, not 'anti-bullying' programs

A new study says anti-bullying programs may actually increase bullying. Whoops. As I never tire of repeating, bullied students need a life preserver right now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More than scores

An excellent new study from the Friedman Foundation analyzes how and why parents choose private schools. I encourage you to read it here.

Simulation: How a Parent Chooses a School for Their Child

Monday, November 11, 2013

For parental choice, all along the continuum

Universal pre-kindergarten is "every progressive’s fondest dream," Red Jahncke wrote last month in The Wall Street Journal ("The ‘Universal Pre-K’ Fallacy").

Whether it's the National Education Association with its call for early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight, or whether it's Mr. Obama talking about his "birth-to-five continuum," or the National Governors Association with its "birth-to-third-grade continuum," or New York City's Sandinista-loving Mayor Bill de Blasio with his push for universal pre-K, so-called progressives want your tax dollars and your kids.

But that's the wrong vision for one of the most conservative states in the nation. Here's a better idea: parental choice.

What is school choice?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

'Not good enough'

"Most American fourth- and eighth-graders still lack basic skills in math and reading despite record high scores on a national exam," AP education writer Kimberly Hefling reports over at Tulsa's channel 8.
Yes, today's students are doing better than those who came before them. But the improvements have come at a snail's pace. The 2013 Nation's Report Card released Thursday finds that the vast majority of the students still are not demonstrating solid academic performance in either math or reading. ... Overall, just 42 percent of fourth-graders and 35 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above the proficient level in math. In reading, 35 percent of fourth graders and 36 percent of eighth graders hit that mark. ...

This test specifically looked at the performance of American children, but the results from other recent assessments and studies have shown American children and adults scoring below peers in many other countries.

In Oklahoma, state superintendent Janet Barresi was pleased that some Oklahoma scores were on the upswing. "Overall, however, the NAEP report confirms what we’ve long known," she said. "Oklahoma students lag behind their national counterparts in these key subject areas."

The percentage of Oklahoma students scoring at or above proficiency is 36 percent in fourth-grade math and 25 percent in eighth-grade math, according to a press release from the state department of education. In reading, the percentage of Oklahoma students scoring at or above proficient is 30 percent in fourth grade and 29 percent in eighth-grade.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Catholic schools should reject the Common Core

"One hundred and thirty-two Catholic professors have sent a letter to each Roman Catholic bishop in the country pleading for them to reject the Common Core national standards in their parochial schools," Brittany Corona writes.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A-F report 'argues for the irrelevancy of public schools'

A new report from researchers at OU and OSU which is highly critical of Oklahoma's A-F grading system is actually serving to "undermine the advocates of public education." This according to Robert Sommers, Oklahoma's secretary of education and workforce development, in a Tulsa World column today.

Sommers says the OU/OSU report "argues for the irrelevancy of public schools in general" and "could negatively impact public school advocates during the upcoming state budget process."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

School choice and parental satisfaction

According to the Council for American Private Education,
A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics confirms the fact that parents who choose their child’s school are indeed more satisfied with the school and its various characteristics than parents who are assigned a school by the government.

Oklahoma's performance problems are real, Fallin says

The shortcomings of Oklahoma's public education system are real, Gov. Mary Fallin points out in her latest column.
Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for instance, shows that 73 percent of Oklahoma fourth graders are below proficient in reading and 66 percent are below proficient in math. Furthermore, when our high school graduates reach college, they are often doing so without the skill-sets needed to succeed in college courses. More than two in every five Oklahoma college students must take remedial courses, adding time and expense to their education, and making it more likely they will dropout without acquiring a degree.

'Why classical schools just might save America'

"It’s time for a partnership between religion and freedom," Owen Strachan writes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Interesting facts about faith-based schools

In the Western Hemisphere, only Cuba and the United States do not routinely provide public support for parents to choose a faith-based school as part of their public education systems.

That's just one of the interesting facts you'll find in this interesting post about faith-based schools.

For religious freedom

In today's Tulsa World, I argue for religious freedom on both the east and west sides of Lewis Avenue.