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Jeff Bernstein

'School Choice' and Disenfranchising the Public | Peter Greene - 0 views

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    ""School choice" is one of those policy ideas that just never goes away, and it probably never will. For some people it is an irresistible way to unlock all those public tax dollars and turn them into private profits. For others it's a way to make sure their children don't have to go to school with "those people." Other people are justifiably attracted to the idea of more control over their child's education. And still others have a sincere belief that competition really does create greatness.

    Voucher fans and proponents of modern charters like to focus on those promises. They're much quieter about one of the other effects of a choice system.

    School choice disenfranchises the public."
Jeff Bernstein

The plot to overhaul No Child Left Behind - Maggie Severns - POLITICO - 0 views

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    "Republicans are hatching an ambitious plan to rewrite No Child Left Behind this year - one that could end up dramatically rolling back the federal role in education and trigger national blowouts over standardized tests and teacher training.
    NCLB cleared Congress in 2002 with massive bipartisan support but has since become a political catastrophe: The law's strategy for prodding and shaming schools into improvement proved deeply flawed over time, and its unintended failures have eclipsed its bright spots. Today, NCLB is despised by some parents who blame it for schools "teaching to the test," protested by some on the left for promoting education reform and reviled by Republicans in Congress who say the law represents aggressive federal overreach."
Jeff Bernstein

Murphy's Law: The Legacy of Annette Polly Williams - Urban Milwaukee - 0 views

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    "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obituary on longtime state legislator Annette Polly Williams portrayed her as the "mother of school choice," who made common cause with conservatives to create this program. The story completely left out her change of heart - her increasing disenchantment with the school voucher movement."
Jeff Bernstein

Milwaukee: Ruth Conniff on the Disgrace of Voucher Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "What they saw should chill the ardor of the most doctrinaire followers of Milton Friedman. Vouchers began in Milwaukee nearly 25 years ago based on the claim that they would save poor black children from "failing" public schools. Today, Milwaukee should be a national symbol of the failure of vouchers. Yet state after state is endorsing vouchers, egged on by the Friedman Foundation and rightwing think tanks.

    Let's be clear. Vouchers, charters, and choice have failed the children of Milwaukee. The city ranks near the bottom of all cities tested by the federal NAEP, barely ahead of Detroit. Black children in Milwaukee score behind their peers in most other cities and states. Study after study shows they don't get better test scores than their peers in public schools."
Jeff Bernstein

Bruce Baker: How to Get Rid of Accountability, Transparency, and Student Rights | Diane... - 0 views

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    "This may be the most important article you read this week, this month, or this year. It was published last year, and I missed it. But, wow, Bruce Baker nails what is wrong with "education reform.""
Jeff Bernstein

What is Wrong with Vouchers? | Nicholas Meier - 0 views

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    "The rhetoric behind vouchers is that if everyone had vouchers parents could select the best school for their child instead of being forced to go to "government" schools*.

    Where does such logic fall apart? There are two main logistical reasons it is really a false promise. One is economic and the other is question of who gets to choose."
Jeff Bernstein

Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, Book Says - Education Week - 0 views

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    "Public schools achieve the same or better mathematics results as private schools with demographically similar students, concludes The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, published in November by the University of Chicago Press. The authors are Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, a husband-and-wife team of education professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Central to the controversy is their suggestion that vouchers, which provide public funding for private school tuition, are based on the premise that private schools do better-an assumption that is undercut by the book's overall findings."
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."
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