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Jeff Bernstein

Public Schools: Adam Smith Won't Fix Them - 0 views

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    "Recently, I have been on the radio talk-show circuit promoting my new book, which exposes the ugly realities of what passes for "school reform,"and how the current obsession with test scores and other data is playing a big part in destroying a public education system that once was the envy of the world.

    Of course, much of talk radio takes an anti-government attitude on just about every subject ("Traffic lights? Why should the government have a monopoly on traffic lights?!"). So my plea for fixing - not dismantling - our public schools rarely is met with sympathy."
Jeff Bernstein

Where Education Is 'Sold to the Highest Bidder' - Truthdig - 0 views

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    "The attack on the spirit of higher education is exemplified in the installation of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a neoliberal archfiend of public schooling, as president of Purdue University."
Jeff Bernstein

In Plain English: Why "Reform" is the Problem, Not the Solution | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "Alan Brown, a professor in North Carolina, wrote this open letter to State Senator Berger, who has sponsored a series of destructive bills that were passed into law. It was published here. It is clear, informed, and coherent. The tone is friendly and non-confrontational. Brown invites Senator Berger to look at the evidence. This letter could serve as a model. Everyone should write to their elected representatives, bringing to light the facts of your own state."
Jeff Bernstein

Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City - 0 views

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    "We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of a school voucher experiment across the distribution of student achievement. In 1997, the School Choice Scholarship Foundation granted $1,400 private school vouchers to a randomly-selected group of low-income New York City elementary school students. Prior research indicates that this program had no average effect on student achievement. If vouchers boost achievement at one part of the distribution and hurt achievement at another, zero or small mean effects may obscure theoretically important but offsetting program effects. Drawing upon prior research related to Catholic schools and school choice, we derive three hypotheses regarding the program's distributional consequences. Our analyses suggest that the program had no significant effect at any point in the skill distribution."
Jeff Bernstein

North Carolina: A First Look at the Destruction of Public Education | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "Lindsay Wagner is an excellent journalist at NC Policy Watch. She covers the legislature.

    Here is her summary of the slash-and-burn policies that the legislature applied to public education"
Jeff Bernstein

Why Not Vouchers for Special Education Students? | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "One of the model laws promoted by ALEC creates vouchers for students with disabilities.

    ALEC is the far-right group that brings together big corporations and very conservative state legislators to figure out strategies to advance privatization and protect corporate interests. ALEC does not like public education, does not like regulation, does not like unions, and does not like teacher professionalism. It likes vouchers, charters, online learning, all as unregulated as possible, and teachers who can enter the classroom with little or no certification or training.

    ALEC pushes vouchers for students with disabilities as a way of establishing the legitimacy of vouchers, using the most vulnerable children as the poster children for their favorite anti-regulation, anti-government ideas."
Jeff Bernstein

Marc Epstein: The Education Reformers' End Game - 0 views

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    "Okay, you've won! Tenure has been abolished. There are no limits on charters, and vouchers are available to all takers. Collective bargaining is a thing of the past. The dreaded fire-breathing dragon union now resembles a salamander. Governors, state legislatures, mayors and editorial boards, who've claimed that they can turn around the dismally depressing performance levels in our urban inner cities -- if only these vestiges of the past were abolished -- have had their way.

    But some questions remain, because as Colin Powell once said when referring to post-war Iraq, the "Pottery Barn Rule" now applies. That is, "you break it, you own it." So it might be useful if we ask the victors some questions about the new education landscape now that the "War on Entrenched Teachers & Unions" has been brought to a successful conclusion."
Jeff Bernstein

'Neovouchers': A primer on private school tax credits - 0 views

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    "Some people, not surprisingly, weren't thrilled with my post titled "Welfare for the rich? Private school tax credit programs expanding." Here Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, looks at the criticism and gives us a primer on private school tax credit programs, which he calls "neovouchers." He's the author of the 2008 book "NeoVouchers: The Emergence of Tuition Tax Credits for Private Schooling.""
Jeff Bernstein

Welfare for the rich? Private school tax credit programs expanding - 0 views

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    At a time when government budgets at all levels are under enormous strain, families and businesses are struggling and federal agencies are facing dramatic across-the-board spending cuts, you would think lawmakers would be careful about spending public money. So it may surprise you to learn that in a growing number of states, legislators are setting aside public money to pay for private school tuition - and rich people are benefiting.
Jeff Bernstein

Asymmetric Information, Parental Choice, Vouchers, Charter Schools and Stiglitz - 0 views

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    "Today institutions of higher education, public and private, remain largely segregated by race, religion and economic condition. White colleges and universities remain primarily white, Black institutions remain primarily black, and denominational institutions remain even more religiously identifiable.

    Such segregation is sanctified with tons of federal and state money in the forms of tuition vouchers, tax credits and government subsidized loans. The Obama administration has been largely foreclosed from remedying the situation for fear of offending powerful political forces representing the investors and private institutions. The higher education voucher/loan dilemma portends a probable scenario for the future of tuition vouchers and charter schools at the primary and secondary levels.

    Stiglitz quotes Alexis de Tocqueville who said that the main element of the "peculiar genius of American society" is "self-interest properly understood." The last two words, "properly understood," are the key, says Stiglitz. According to Stiglitz, everyone possesses self-interest in the "narrow sense." This "narrow sense" with regard to educational choice is usually exercised for reasons other than educational quality, the chief reasons being race, religion, economic and social status, and similarity with persons with comparable information, biases and prejudices. But Stiglitz interprets Tocqueville's "properly understood" to mean a much broader and more desirable and moral objective, that of "appreciating" and paying attention to everyone else's self-interest. In other words, the common welfare is, in fact, "a precondition for one's own ultimate well being."17 Such commonality in the advancement of the public good is lost by the narrow self-interest. School tuition vouchers and charter schools are the operational models for implementation of the "narrow self-interest." It is easy to recognize, but difficult to justify. "
Jeff Bernstein

Randi Weingarten - A Binder Full of Bad Ideas - 0 views

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    "Earlier this year at a roundtable discussion in Colorado, Mitt Romney was talking about education-extolling the virtues of private schools and vouchers, and criticizing public schools and teachers unions. When a teacher participating in the discussion tried to offer her perspective, Romney shot back: "I didn't ask you a question."

    But teachers, like many other Americans, have questions about Romney's policies and proposals. They worry about their impact on the education that kids receive, because he advocates slashing education funding and privatizing public education. They question his taking credit for educational success in Massachusetts that was spurred by reforms instituted a decade before he became governor, and wonder why as a presidential candidate he is proposing entirely different, discredited education policies. They are incredulous that he says he would preserve the U.S. Department of Education only so he'd have a club to go after teachers unions, when most teachers in Massachusetts and other high-performing states are unionized. They doubt his pledges to middle-income voters because, according to numerous independent analyses, the math doesn't add up for his tax and job creation proposals.

    This presidential election presents a choice between starkly different visions for the future of our country."
Jeff Bernstein

The False Promises of "School Choice" | National Education Policy Center - 0 views

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    "Milwaukee's program has long been a model for other cities and state programs, from Cleveland, to New Orleans, Florida, and Indiana. Beginning in 1990 with 300 students in seven non-sectarian schools, by 2012 vouchers had expanded to almost 23,000 students in more than 100 private schools, most of them religious-based. In size, the voucher program now rivals Wisconsin's largest school districts, but with minimal public accountability or oversight.

    For more than twenty years, supporters of vouchers for private schools have had a chance to prove their assertion that the marketplace and parental choice are the bedrocks of educational success, that unions and government bureaucracy are the enemies of reform, and that vouchers will lead to increased academic achievement.

    After two decades and more than $1.27 billion in public funding, however, the Milwaukee voucher program's enticing promises have not materialized."
Jeff Bernstein

La. Approves New Voucher Rules for Private Schools - Charters & Choice - Education Week - 0 views

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    "A new set of rules for private and parochial schools in Louisiana eligible for state tax dollars looks set to be approved by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, several months after the state adopted a plan to expand access to private school using public money, the Associated Press reported."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » How Can We Tell If Vouchers Work? - 0 views

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    "Brookings recently released an evaluation of New York City's voucher program, called the School Choice Scholarship Foundation Program (SCSF), which was implemented in the late 1990s. Voucher offers were randomized, and the authors looked at the impact of being offered/accepting them on a very important medium-term outcome - college enrollment (they were also able to follow an unusually high proportion of the original voucher recipients to check this outcome).

    The short version of the story is that, overall, the vouchers didn't have any statistically discernible impact on college enrollment. But, as is often the case, there was some underlying variation in the results, including positive estimated impacts among African-American students, which certainly merit discussion.*

    Unfortunately, such nuance was not always evident in the coverage of and reaction to the report, with some voucher supporters (strangely, given the results) exclaiming that the program was an unqualified success, and some opponents questioning the affiliations of the researchers. For my part, I'd like to make a quick, not-particularly-original point about voucher studies in general: Even the best of them don't necessarily tell us much about whether "vouchers work.""
Jeff Bernstein

Sara Goldrick-Rab: Vouchers and College Attendance: Puzzling Findings Deserve Much Caut... - 0 views

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    "Several months ago I described the problems in a study that seemed to have great policy relevance, but little empirical support for its contentions.  Sadly, examples of studies like these abound in education, and another is currently making headlines.  "Vouchers Boost Blacks' College Enrollment Rates," claim the stories-- and boy do the effects seem large! A "24 percent increase" in college attendance among black recipients of those vouchers-- what a dream. And it must be an accurate statement, right, since this was an experiment?"
Jeff Bernstein

Helicopters can improve minority college attendance & other misguided policy ... - 0 views

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    "Here's my quick response to the Brookings report released yesterday on the long term effects of vouchers on a randomized pool of participants in New York City."
Jeff Bernstein

Chingos & Peterson: The Effects Of School Vouchers On College Enrollment: Experimental ... - 0 views

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    "Most research on educational interventions, including school vouchers, focuses on impacts on short-term outcomes such as students' scores on standardized tests. Few studies are able to track longer-term outcomes, and even fewer are able to do so in the context of a randomized experiment. In the first study using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, we examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. We find no overall impacts on college enrollments but we do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African American students who participated in the study. Our estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent."
Jeff Bernstein

Education Experts Discuss the Success of School Choice Programs | C-SPAN - 0 views

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    "The National Press Club Newsmaker Program holds a discussion on school choice programs in Washington, D.C.

    Speakers discuss whether the choice options work for students and how options such as charter schools, vouchers, online education and homeschooling compare to traditional public schools. They also examine what political candidates are saying about school choice options and whether their claims are true.

    Participants include: Dr. Kevin Welner of the University of Colorado and Dir. of the Natl. Education Policy Center; Dr. Gary Miron of Western Michigan University; Policy and Advocacy for the Natl. Association of Charter School Authorizers Vice President Alex Medler; Executive Director of the District of Columbia's 21st Century School Fund Mary Filardo; and Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute Policy Analyst Adam Schaeffer.

    Drs. Kevin Welner and Gary Miron are contributors to the book: Exploring the School Choice Universe: Evidence and Recommendations, being released this week. The book raises critical questions about the performance of choice programs."
Jeff Bernstein

Jindal's education department refuses to release voucher records | NOLA.com - 0 views

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    "Louisiana's education chief has refused to provide records from the deliberations over how schools were chosen to participate in Gov. Bobby Jindal's new statewide voucher program, which is using tax dollars to send students to private and parochial schools.
    The Department of Education isn't claiming an exemption in public records law in denying the June 12 request from The Associated Press and delaying any production of the internal documents for at least several more weeks.
    Instead, the department is claiming "a deliberative process privilege" cited in two court rulings that have nothing to do with education issues, but involve legal battles over what records should be available to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » The Louisiana Voucher Accountability Sweepstakes - 0 views

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    "The situation with vouchers in Louisiana is obviously quite complicated, and there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, but I'd like to comment quickly on the new "accountability" provision. It's a great example of how, too often, people focus on the concept of accountability and ignore how it is actually implemented in policy."
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