In Given School Choice Parents Vote With Their Feet moi said:
AP is reporting in the article, More Students Leaving Failing Schools which was printed in the Seattle Times that given the choice, many parents choose to take their kids out of failing schools. Well, duh.
More parents in Southwest Washington are taking advantage of a federal law that allows them to transfer their kids out of failing schools.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act allows parents to bus their children from a “failing” school to another school at district expense.
More than 160 elementary students in the Longview and Kelso school districts are using the school choice provision of the law this year, The Daily News reported.
That’s still a small percentage of the 5,510 students eligible to transfer in both school districts. But it’s up sharply from the 24 Longview students who switched out of failing schools last year.
Danielle Cline said her 8-year-old daughter wasn’t reading at grade level and educators at Kessler Elementary School wouldn’t develop a plan to help, blaming her failure on attention deficit disorder.
So this school year, Cline transferred her daughter and 6-year-old son to Columbia Heights Elementary School, using provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Columbia Heights created an individual education plan for her daughter and provides 30 minutes of one-on-one tutoring each day, she said.
“She’s actually doing better here. She’s actually reading now,” Cline added.
The increase in student transfers reflects waning patience from families frustrated that their neighborhood schools aren’t measuring up to state and federal standards.
“If they aren’t meeting standards, how can I expect them to help my daughter meet those standards?” Cline asked.
It really doesn’t matter the income level or the color of the parent, most want the best for their child.
In The Great Class Divide In Class I said:
Perhaps, the best testimonial about this school comes from an editorial which describes the emotions of one parent. In the NY Daily News editorial, My Baby is Learning this was the description of the protest against charter schools:
Those words were spoken by a mother who had brought her child for the first day of classes at Harlem Success Academy 2 Charter School – and faced loud protesters with her youngster.
The demonstrators were part of a movement that portrays charter schools as an elitist threat to public education. They are not. They are publicly funded schools that admit neighborhood kids by lottery. Their students far outperform children in traditional public schools.
Charters have proliferated in Harlem, and thousands of parents have children on waiting lists – a trend that has driven activists, including state Sen. Bill Perkins, into shamefully charging that charters are creating a separate and “unequal” system.
But parents, the vast majority of them minorities, know better. Like the woman who confronted the protesters, they’re flocking to charters as a way out of failing local schools. And the bottom line for them is crystal-clear: Their babies are learning.
The only way to overcome the great class divide is to give all children a first class education.
The only perfect choice is school choice.
The Center for Education Reform defines School Choice
The term “school choice” means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. School choice means better and more abundant educational opportunities for all families, not just for those who can afford them.
School choice is one part of a five-part cure for fixing public education detailed in Mandate for Change, a bold agenda for the incoming government. More…
School Choice 101
Answers to School Choice FAQs
Finding School Choice Options State by State
School Choice Information for Parents
School Choice Research
Answering the Critics: Nine Lies About School Choice
Toolkit: Know Your Choices – Updated Sep. 2009
School Choices has information about School Vouchers
Issues and Arguments
School vouchers, also known as scholarships, redirect the flow of education funding, channeling it directly to individual families rather than to school districts. This allows families to select the public or private schools of their choice and have all or part of the tuition paid. Scholarships are advocated on the grounds that parental choice and competition between public and private schools will improve education for all children. Vouchers can be funded and administered by the government, by private organizations, or by some combination of both.
This page brings together some of the most important sources of evidence on the outcomes of existing scholarship programs. It includes studies of both privately- and publicly-funded programs, as well as the results of a key court case. (A more comprehensive discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of both private and government-funded scholarships can be found in the book Market Education: The Unknown History.)
Government-run voucher programs are very controversial, and they have been criticized from two very different angles. The first body of criticism alleges that competitive markets are not well suited to the field of education, and that any school reform based on privatization, competition, and parental choice is doomed to failure. A summary of these arguments, with responses, can be found by clicking here.
The second body of criticism states that government-funded scholarships would not create a genuinely free educational market, but instead would perpetuate dependence on government funding and regulation to the continued detriment of families. These arguments, along with responses are described here.
Charter schools and vouchers are possible options in the theory of “school choice.”
Andrew Rotherham has an excellent article in Time, The 5 Biggest Myths About School Vouchers
1. Vouchers skim the best students from public schools. Although many voucher proponents want universal vouchers, today, the programs are targeted to specific populations, for instance low-income students or students with disabilities. So while vouchers don’t generally serve the absolute poorest of the poor, they do not skim off the most affluent or easiest-to-educate students either….
2. Students who receive vouchers do better academically than their public school peers. That depends on the measure. Overall the test scores of students who use vouchers are largely indistinguishable from students who stay behind in public schools. On the other hand, parent satisfaction is generally greater among parents whose children received vouchers. And while it’s too soon to tell for sure, there is some evidence that other outcomes, for instance graduation rates, may be better for students who receive vouchers. ….
3. Vouchers drain money from the public schools. It seems obvious that taking money from the public schools and sending it to private schools would leave public schools with less money. But in the through the looking glass world of school finance, things rarely are what they seem. In Milwaukee for instance, Robert Costrell of the School Choice Demonstration Project analyzed the financial outcomes of the voucher program and found that it is saving money in Wisconsin. And, in Washington, D.C. there was an infusion of federal funds into the city’s public schools in exchange for the passage of the voucher program.
4. Vouchers make all schools get better because they have to compete for students. It seems logical to assume that forcing schools to vie for students will improve quality. But schools are not economic entities like a store and respond differently to competition — for instance by going to court or to lobby state legislators. There have been vouchers for years in Cleveland and Milwaukee yet the schools there are still generally poor quality. In Washington almost a third of the city’s students were using various choice options (mostly charter schools) before the public schools began to make real changes. But, we’re still learning. Researchers at the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research have found evidence that competition improved schools in Florida.
5. Private, parochial, or even public charter schools are better than regular public schools. Parents should worry a lot less about the legal status of a particular school than whether it’s the right school for their child. A good fit depends on a host of factors including a strong academic program, successful outcomes, a clear curriculum, areas of emphasis like arts or technology, and even lifestyle factors such as limiting time spent in transit or a year-round schedule. Just because a school is private doesn’t mean it is better overall or better for your child and even in places where the public schools are struggling overall there are often hidden gems. ….
In There Is No One Magic Bullet or Holy Grail In Education, Period moi said:
There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.
It Is Time to Consider Charter School Authorization in Washington?
Focus on Charter Schools: New Orleans After Katrina
The Only Perfect Choice Is School Choice
Dr. Wilda may be contacted at [email protected]
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