Tag Archives: Charter Schools

Which presidential candidate will help minorites get a better education in better schools?

One of the major issues affecting blacks and Hispanics in America is the issue of poor-performing public schools. Because the administrators and teachers are unionized, they are immune to criticism, discipline or termination for poor performance. And many of the administrators and teachers have no real-world experience at earning money in the private sector. Who will fix it?

Here’s Daily Wire reporting on Trump in his own words:

On Thursday, President Trump redeclared his commitment to enacting school choice, a conservative pitch most popular in the black American community, many of whom have grown weary of sending their children to government-funded public schools.

Speaking at the “Transition to Greatness” roundtable, the president called upon Congress to enact school choice now, hailing it as the great “civil rights issue of our time.”

“We are renewing our call on Congress to finally enact school choice now, school choice is a big deal, because access to education is the civil rights issue our time,” the president said. “I’ve heard that for the last, I would say year, it really is, it’s the civil rights issue of our time.”

President Trump elaborated on the benefits of school choice by forcing underperforming schools to better improve their methods.

“When you can have children go to a school where their parents want them to go, and it creates competition, and other schools fight harder, because all of a sudden they say, ‘Wow, we’re losing it, we have to fight hard,’” the president said. “It gets better in so many different ways, but there are groups of people against that. You have unions against it, you have others against it, and they’re not against it for the right reasons, they were against it for a lot of the wrong reasons.”

So basically, Trump wants schools to work more like companies in the private sector that are accountable to customers. When private sector companies compete, you get Amazon, Apple, Dell, Samsung, LG, etc. Competition gives you more choice, so you can find better quality for less money. Public schools don’t work like that, and children suffer as a result.

And note:

President Trump’s push for school choice at this turbulent moment in history is not coincidental, being that black American voters routinely have expressed support for it alongside criminal justice reform, which the president helped to enact with the First Step Act.

The Washington Times reports on more differences:

President Trump is pushing schools to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying parents want it, the children can handle it and the economy needs it.

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden says the teachers don’t want it, the children can spread the coronavirus and the country can’t stomach another surge of COVID-19 cases he fears would result.

[…]Beyond school choice, Mr. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have rescinded Obama administration rules on school discipline, racial disparities and gender identity, and have given states more flexibility in meeting federal mandates.

And here’s Biden:

Mr. Biden counters Mr. Trump’s parent-centered approach to education with a teacher-centered platform, promising the money will flow to public education instead.

Mr. Biden counters Mr. Trump’s parent-centered approach to education with a teacher-centered platform, promising the money will flow to public education instead.

He wants to triple federal spending on schools with significant low-income populations and require that much of that cover higher salaries for teachers. He also would increase the availability of student loan forgiveness for graduates who go on to work in education.

Mr. Biden’s campaign says he will hire up to 60,000 more psychologists for schools to help with what he warned is a mental health crisis.

His unity platform, reached with former opponent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, opposes vouchers that support private schools and takes a dim view of public charter schools.

The Biden-Sanders plan would impose bureaucratic standards for diversity and discipline on charter schools, cut off money for those deemed underperforming and impose an outright ban on federal money for for-profit charter schools.

I don’t see the profit motive as a problem, as it is profits that causes people in the private sector to produce quality goods and services for their customers – or risk losing those customers to competitors who do a better job of pleasing customers.

You can see from this chart how well throwing money into a unionized monopoly has worked over time:

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores

In public schools, administrators and teachers are not paid more or less based on pleasing their customers (parents) by achieving results (student performance).

Reason.com is a libertarian web site, interviewed Education Secretary Betsy Devos. I liked this:

You are someone who has advocated for more choice, more local decision making, in education. But then you were thrust into the role of national education official. It had to be tempting to use that position to really push local governments to implement more of the ideas that you have. But your idea is that there shouldn’t be some person in charge of telling everyone what to do. Do you ever feel this tension?

I do. The previous administration went exactly the opposite direction and overreached in multiple areas. Much of what I’ve had to do is come back and undo a lot of that. But at the same time, there are plenty of folks who’ve been critical of my not implementing all kinds of conservative policies that, in my view, would be desirable for students and their families. But I think my [approach] here has been one of restraint, and that I believe is ultimately a big accomplishment.

I view this department as one that probably never should have been stood up. I think there are ample arguments for it having gotten more in the way of students and their futures than actually being any kind of value-add.

Should the Department of Education be abolished—or gradually abolished, perhaps?

I would not be at all unhappy to work myself out of a job. I think that states and local communities and, most importantly, the family has to be the epicenter of these decisions. The 40 years since this department has existed, there’s been over a trillion dollars spent to close the achievement gaps. They haven’t closed one little bit. They’ve only opened in multiple areas. So why would we continue to advocate for doing more of the same thing and expect something different?

Do you like having Betsy Devos in charge of education policy? I do. For me this is just another reason to support Trump for President.

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Republican senator Tim Scott pushes school choice in MSNBC interview

I managed to find some of the transcript here on Newsbusters.

Let Tim Scott explain it:

THOMAS ROBERTS: This is Thomas Roberts by the way. You said you are concerned about kids that growing up in the wrong zip code and — like yourself that had a tough start on the way out. But if we look at agencies that are following some of your voting records, they have concern. And the NAACP has given you an “F” on their annual scorecard. They also say that you voted against the ACA. You voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. You oppose the Congressional Black Caucus’ budget. Delayed funding on a settlement between the U.S. and black farmers who say they were prejudiced against because of their race. So how do you respond to that, if your true concern is about lower-income families and kids? 

TIM SCOTT: Let’s just ask ourselves if we look back over history when the congress was controlled by the Democrats for 40 consecutive years. If we look at the result of that control, what has happened in black America? We saw greater poverty. If we take statistics from the 1970s to the 21st-century, what we see very clearly is that poverty’s gone from 11% to 15%. These are classic examples of the policies of the left have not worked. I will tell you, that if I have an “F” on the NAACP scorecard, it’s because I believe progress has to be made and the government is not the answer for progress. I was a kid growing up in poverty. I had a mentor who was a Chick-fil-A operator named John Moniz who taught me that the brilliance of the American economy happens through business ownership and entrepreneurial spirit. So whether you own the business or not, success is possible if you, a: have a good education, b: have a strong work ethic. For the average person who can work. These two key components come together and form a foundation. That is the way that you eradicate poverty. All the social programs that we’ve had. We have the largest government we’ve ever had in the history of the country. We have more nonprofit organizations working on the same issue. And yet we have higher percentage of people living in poverty. The key it seems like is individual freedom and economic opportunity, fusing those together in an agenda that focuses on education seems to leave forward.

Elsewhere in the interview, he talks about how Indian-American Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has pushed hard for vouchers for the poor in Louisiana, and how the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship voucher program helped the poorest black students to get a quality education – even though Barack Obama opposed it as a favor to their public sector union bosses.

See, here’s the deal. If Republicans want to get serious about winning the votes of poor people and minorities, they don’t have to pass policies that discriminate against the wealthy or against whites. They just have to pass good policies. It shouldn’t matter what color anybody’s skin is. School choice is a police that disproportionately benefits the poor and minorities, but it doesn’t discriminate. You just hand money to the parents whose children are stuck in an underperforming public school, and then the parents decide where to send their child. This is better than forcing parents to have to send their kids to a failing public school. It is not right for a child to be handed a garbage education just because lazy unionized Democrats don’t want to face competition from private schools. Kids come first!

Let’s learn about school choice from the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

Cato Institute:

The Heritage Foundation:

Awesome!

This is how you build Republican  voters and do the right thing at the same time. Republicans like to help the poor. But we also like to screw the public sector unions. Private unions are fine – public sector unions are poisonous. We have to destroy them and save the children, at the same time. Everybody wins! Well, except the Democrats.

Chicago teacher strike: average pay $71K, 80% of 8th graders not proficient at math

CBS News reports:

Thousands of teachers, parents and supporters marched through downtown Chicago on the first day of a school strike.

The crowd Monday afternoon stretched for several blocks and was expected to swell through the early evening and into the city’s rush hour. Some protesters carried signs that said “Chicago Teachers United” and “Fair Contract Now.” Others waved red pom-poms and chanted. Earlier in the day, thousands of teachers picketed around neighborhood schools.

[…]The city’s public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year. Both sides said they were close to an agreement on wages. What apparently remains are issues involving teacher performance and accountability, which the union saw as a threat to job security.

They don’t want to be held accountable for failing to provide outcomes for their customers, the children.

Why do you think they might fear being held accountable? Are they doing a poor job of teaching? Is that why they fear being accountable? Let’s see.

CNS News explains:

Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “meaningless checklist.”

[…]In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education administered National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in reading and math to students around the country, including in the Chicago Public Schools. The tests were scored on a scale of 0 to 500, with 500 being the best possible score. Based on their scores, the U.S. Department of Education rated students’ skills in reading and math as either “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient” or “advanced.”

[…]79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in reading. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 43 percent who rated “basic” and 36 percent who rated “below basic.”

[…]80 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in math. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 40 percent who rated “basic” in math and 40 percent who rated “below basic.”

Fire them all. Abolish the federal Department of Education. Make teacher unions illegal.

Education policy tutorial videos:

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How Obama’s new 2011 budget fails the poorest children in two ways

First of all, Obama’s budget ensures that future generations will be saddled with debt, paying for the entitlement programs (Social Security and Medicare) of their aging parents and grandparents.

Behold, the evidence of generational theft:

(Click for larger image)

Recall that the Democrats gained control of Congress at the beginning of 2007.

The second way that Obama’s budget hurts the poorest children is by denying them the right to access better schools.

Excerpt:

The president’s proposed FY2011 budget increases funding to the Department of Education by $3.5 billion. But despite this significant increase, his budget effectively cuts the freedom of choice and educational opportunities from the lives of children living in the District of Columbia. What began last year as a low-profile attempt to quietly phase out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has become a noticeable agenda of denying school choice to District families.

[…]The most recent casualty in the struggle to save the successful voucher program’s future is Holy Redeemer Catholic School. The Pre-K through 8th grade school, which has served the community of Northwest Washington, D.C. since 1955, is closing its doors. The Washington, D.C. Archdiocese’s decision to close or combine four Catholic schools in the area speaks to the difficult situation face by Catholic schools in general and the important role voucher programs play in the schools’ ability to provide a high quality, private school education.

This is in spite of the fact that school choice works.

Excerpt:

A recent report from School Choice Wisconsin presented an analysis of the number of calls made to 911 from schools in Milwaukee, similar to a Heritage analysis from last summer written up in The Washington Post. The Milwaukee School Safety report found that choice schools appeared to be relatively safer than Milwaukee’s traditional public schools:

Taking into account enrollment differences, police calls to [Milwaukee public schools] occur at a notably higher rate than at independent charter schools or at schools in the [Milwaukee parental choice program]. The [Milwaukee Public School] call rate per pupil in 2007 is more than three times that at schools in the [Milwaukee Parental Choice Program].

In addition, a new report out this week from Dr. John Robert Warren of the University of Minnesota analyzed the graduation rates of students attending high schools in Milwaukee, comparing the graduation rate of students participating in the school voucher program with the graduation rate of students who attend traditional public schools in the city. Warren found that during the 2007-08 school year, 77 percent of students in the school voucher program graduated compared to 65 percent in the traditional Milwaukee public school system.

Obama is in the pocket of the teacher unions, and he must ensure that they keep their jobs regardless of failure, so that the teacher unions can continue to contribute union dues into Democrat coffers. He doesn’t care about children – he cares about getting elected. It’s just another way that the irresponsible grown-ups attack the things that children need to succeed: a good education, low taxes, a job, and an intact family.

How teacher’s unions make war on charter schools

Story here in the Wall Street Journal. (H/T The Heritage Foundation and Independent Women’s Forum)

Let’s see what Jay P. Greene has to say about charter schools:

In New York, for example, the unions have backed a new budget that effectively cuts $51.5 million from charter-school funding, even as district-school spending can continue to increase thanks to local taxes and stimulus money that the charters lack. New York charters already receive less money per pupil than their district school counterparts; now they will receive even less.

When I was a young man, I dreamed of becoming a prosecuting attorney or English teacher. (Software engineering was my third choice). But the political activism of left-wing teacher unions, and their opposition to merit-pay, stopped me from becoming a teacher. I always think of unions as a form of adult day-care, insulated from real world competition and consumer needs.

Unions are also seeking to strangle charter schools with red tape. New York already has the “card check” unionization procedure for teachers that replaces secret ballots with public arm-twisting. And the teachers unions appear to have collected enough cards to unionize the teachers at two highly successful charter schools in New York City. If unions force charters to enter into collective bargaining, one can only imagine how those schools will be able to maintain the flexible work rules that allow them to succeed.

…Eva Moskowitz, former chair of the New York City Council education committee and now a charter school operator, has characterized this new push against charters as a “backlash” led by “a union-political-educational complex that is trying to halt progress and put the interests of adults above the interests of children.”

…When charter schools unionize, they become identical to traditional public schools in performance. Unions may say they support charter schools, but they only support charters after they have stripped them of everything that makes charters different from district schools.

And why does school-choice matter?

In New York City, Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that students accepted by lottery to charter schools were significantly outpacing the academic progress of their peers who lost the lottery and were forced to return to district schools.

Florida State economist Tim Sass and colleagues found that middle-school students at charters in Florida and Chicago who continued into charter high schools were significantly more likely to graduate and go on to college than their peers who returned to district high schools because charter high schools were not available.

The most telling study is by Harvard economist Tom Kane about charter schools in Boston. It found that students accepted by lottery at independently operated charter schools significantly outperformed students who lost the lottery and returned to district schools. But students accepted by lottery at charters run by the school district with unionized teachers experienced no benefit.

I highly recommend you read the whole article, as Greene is a respected authority on education policy. In case you missed my recent article on Obama’s cancelling of vouchers, check it out here.