Tag: voucher wars


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The Read: Thinks tanks go wild edition


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NEWS AND COMMENTARY FROM AROUND the dropout nation. Updates are marked with an *: Widespread academic failure — on an international scale: Last week, during a debate with immigration skeptic…

The real question isn't about the effectiveness of vouchers, but about assuring every child gets a chance at a high-quality education that gets each one on the path to success in their life. (Photo courtesy of Viewimages)

The real question isn't about the effectiveness of vouchers, but about assuring every child gets a chance at a high-quality education that gets each one on the path to success in their life. (Photo courtesy of Viewimages)

NEWS AND COMMENTARY FROM AROUND the dropout nation. Updates are marked with an *:

  • Widespread academic failure — on an international scale: Last week, during a debate with immigration skeptic Norman Matloff, he disputed my citing of PISA and TIMMS international testing results, which showed American students scoring in the 95th percentile — the nation’s best students — trailing their peers in ten countries. He continued arguing that the academic underperformance was merely limited to an “underclass” of poor students, even though these are unlikely to be the poorest students and more likely to be the product of middle-class households. Now, at Edspresso, Vicki Murray and Evelyn Stacey of the Pacific Research Institute offer more evidence that academic failure and underperformance extends beyond the poorest Americans. Half the students at one in every ten middle-class California schools, for example, are failing the state’s CST standards test.
  • The source of academic struggle: EducationNews.org’s Michael Shaughnessy interviews George Leef, who had written a piece earlier this week on the woeful math instruction training at America’s education schools. Leef offers another reason why many teachers have become inept at teaching math: “Many students grow up with teachers who have been trained to think that feeling good is more important than getting correct answers.” And the administrators and the parents sometimes engage in the same garbage. Why does anyone think social promotion — moving kids from grade to grade despite failing school — continues to exist despite evidence that it is an abject failure?
  • The value of vouchers: Edsize’s Leo Casey accuses voucher supporters of cherry-picking studies that support their positions. Jay Greene responds by listing a series of different studies proving the value of the school choice plans. Greg Forster joins the fray by offering the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation’s latest report on the Ohio voucher program. Andrew Coulson also joins in on the fun. All of this began with Greene demanding that Casey and his allies in the Broader, Bolder Coalition submit their concept for school reform to major study.
  • At least the argument isn’t pointless like the debate over whether it is proper for the latest book released by Fordham to have “Paternalism” in the title. Or the debate among priests over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
  • And the usefulness of national standards: Neil McCluskey of Cato calls out Fordham and Mike Petrilli for not responding to McCluskey’s question (and that of Eduwonk’s Andy Rotherham) as to whether the political forces at the state level that often collide over development of curriculum standards won’t rear themselves during the development of national standards. Petrilli responds. All I’ll say is if you think the battle between advocates of phonics and supporters of whole language was rather nasty, wait until USDOE tries to develop standards for history. The NAACP, La Raza and the Knights of Columbus will get into this, along with the NEA, the AFT and the other usual suspects.
  • Here is the REL WestEd study of dropouts and the revolving door at San Bernardino schools mentioned on Dropout Nation last week. Read. Think. Take action.
  • But will they keep them there: Schools in Texas are trying to get dropouts to re-enroll in school. But they have until the end of September to make it happen. Or else they won’t get any money for them. Yes, it is always about the money.

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