October 6, 2011

School choice — it's choice! — how can it be bad?

It might be good.
[T]he appeal of school choice cannot be reduced to simple power politics. In fact, the people most resistant to expanding choice are often suburban voters who vote Republican and (sometimes mistakenly) believe their schools are providing quality education. Inner-city minority parents are frequently the most vocal choice proponents because they experience sub-par education firsthand. Republicans who support school choice are actually taking political risks that run counter to raw political calculations.

92 comments:

Paddy O said...

If it's Republican voters who are against school choice, why is it always Democratic politicians who vote down legislation supporting school choice?

I'd like to see some more data about whether or not these suburban voters are actually voting Republican.

PETER V. BELLA said...

How can it be bad? Ask the teacher's unions. They have been destroying education one school at a time for decades.

DADvocate said...

Does Kaufman have any evidence of "the people most resistant to expanding choice" being Republicans or is this just his conjecture in trying to make Republicans look bad? School choice looks good to me. The resistance I see are union backing liberals and folks like Obama, who shut down the charter schools in D.C.

Larry J said...

To some on the Left, the only issue of choice is abortion. Other than that, people can't be trusted to make their own choices.

Fred4Pres said...

We should give ever school age kid a tuition voucher (paid by the tax payers) that he can use at a school that meets minimum credentialed/certified core accademics, hours/attendance, and safety criteria (fire safety, etc.). An objective standard that applies to all. Provided the school does that it should qualify for the voucher.

If the school teaches something beyond that, be it Secular Humanism, Classical Liberalism, Gaiaism, Vishnu, Jesus-Christianity, Mohammed-Islam, etc. that is between the student/parent(s) and the school.

Choice and Competition. Try it. It works.

lewsar said...

funny that i live in a republican district that has charter schools all over the place. both of our kids went to a charter school and got a decent education. then they went to a non-charter high school and got a miserable excuse for an education. we ended up home schooling both them in high school.

Carol said...

I dunno, I'm not crazy about vouchers for madrassas.

(Was Carol Herman banned?)

Pastafarian said...

I've never encountered one of these Republicans opposed to school choice. That's odd, isn't it? Almost makes you think this author might be full of shit.

Ambrose said...

I don't agree with the premise that suburban Republicans oppose school choice, but I should point out we already have it. Suburban towns compete for residents in large part based on their schools. If one town's schools are not doing so well, people can move 5-10 miles to an adjoining town with better schools. The possibilty of this keeps the schools on their tows.

Ambrose said...

toes

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

What I have heard bruited is that Suburban Republicans don't necessarily OPPOSE School Choice, but believe it's for the INNER CITY Blacks...as someone said, these suburbanites THINK they're kids are getting a “good” education, but those poor Blacks, they need the help.

Blacks, confronted with the failure of the public school system, have far fewer ILLUSIONS.

Coketown said...

In the case of the DC voucher program, it was found that students attending private schools on vouchers had only slightly better graduation and college admission rates than students in the public schools. But the private schools operated at one-half the cost per student as public schools.

From the government's point of view, to say nothing of parents, why wouldn't you jump at the opportunity to provide marginally better results, but at half the cost?

(That question is rhetorical. We all know the answer. Cutting education kills unions, not test scores.)

Tom DeGisi said...

School choice is like food choice. We are omnivores seeking omniknowledge. School choice is a human right, as it is directly tied to parent rights and freedom of thought, the right which underlies freedoms of speech, religion and non-self incrimination. The current lack of school choice is a violation of human rights.

The Supreme Court, when it removed prayer from the schools, did not remove the human rights violation. Instead, it merely changed the content of the violation and the degree to which it impacted different groups. Now radical secularism is effectively taught - that is the idea that religion should shut up in the public sphere. The Court would have removed the violation if, instead, it had removed the government from the schools, but a good school choice program allowing public money to be spent on religious schools will also do the trick.

Yours,
Tom

Chip S. said...

Y'know, you start off letting a few people have a little bit of say in where their kids go to school, and the next thing you know they start expecting all sorts of freedom of choice. Pretty soon they start reading Milton Friedman and you end up with a bunch of teabaggers in your midst.

It all sounds kinda subversive. Is Larry Kaufman an enemy of the people?

edutcher said...

Hey, if school choice works for the Obamas and the rest of the Leftist elite, it's damned good enough for the rest of us.

WV "laghible" Gaelic spelling of what the OccupyWallStreet protestors are.

Tom DeGisi said...

Paddy O, Pastafarian, etc.,

I have encountered many, many, many Republicans who are against school choice. Here in Kansas there are three major political factions: Democrats, Moderate Republicans and Conservative Republicans. Generally speaking both Democrats and Moderate Republicans are against school choice.

Many Conservative Republican politicians are only lukewarm supporters of school choice, because many of the Moderate Republicans are very, very passionate supporters of public schools. Their leaders are often school teachers and administrators who register and vote Republican. They generally see school choice as an attack on their good public schools, and, frequently, on their property values.

We have big, influential Moderate Republican organizations here which push this line. They are always quoted in newspaper articles when Moderate Republican issues come up, like no school choices and abortion pro-choice.

Do you really think all the Country Club Republicans disappeared?

Yours,
Tom

Fred4Pres said...

Coketown, remember those were the kids who switched from the failing schools. Not surprising the results in performance were not immediate. Kids raised in a decent school program perform better. A lot better. But it requires a commitment of both students and parents.

Titus said...

Get government out of the education business.

tits.

purplepenquin said...

Why just school choice? If I'm not happy with the job the police are doing in protecting me & my neighborhood, shouldn't I get a voucher (paid for with taxdollars) that I can use to hire a private security force?

yashu said...

Does Kaufman have any evidence of "the people most resistant to expanding choice" being Republicans or is this just his conjecture in trying to make Republicans look bad?

Maybe this is the only way the author can sell the idea of school choice-- a good thing, which the author believes in-- to his liberal audience. So maybe he takes some liberties with the facts, I don't know. But even if not, the choice to make this particular emphasis is rhetorically calculated.

This is perhaps the most effective rhetorical tack to take to persuade a left-wing audience of the merits of a policy they're suspicious of: point out that Republicans, for intrinsically Republican reasons, are against it.

This will at least soften their resistance, so they can be more receptive to the substantive argument.

It's a tactic I see often, typically in publications addressed to a homogeneously liberal readership, and in its own way can be well-intentioned. It's a way to counteract knee-jerk bias by playing on that knee-jerk bias-- a jujitsu move-- and thus introduce seemingly "right-wing" ideas to an otherwise unreceptive left-wing audience.

Chip S. said...

@purplepenquin--No, actually.

Reasoning by analogy simply isn't.

AprilApple said...

Not In Colorado. The radical left (Democrats - but I repeat myself) are against school choice and vouchers and against it with a collective vengeance.
Republicans are the ones who remind people that school choice helps lower income students escape failing public schools.
Competition, choice and vouchers, baby. The left hate. The left are in bed with teacher's unions and the money laundering machine that exists between the teachers union, the democrat party, and keeping choice and competition OUT.
But hey, if reverse psychology helps the cause for freedom and choice - whatever.

Luke Lea said...

Actually, based on international test scores, American public schools are doing a pretty good job with its Asian, white, and Hispanic populations, at least compared to schools in their countries of origin. They may even be doing a better job with respect to their African American students, except that the data to confirm this is absent.

Instead of constantly berating our public schools and the teachers who teach in them maybe it's time to recognize their achievements. Not that there isn't room for improvement.

I've recommended web cameras in all public school classrooms as a way to legally document, and control, student misbehavior and teacher incompetence in the most underachieving schools. Would they pass constitutional muster? Perhaps Ann could shed some light on the question?

Bruce Hayden said...

The Democrats problem here is that while a lot of their rank and file may be in favor of school choice, as a party, they oppose it. Why? Because their biggest donors, of both money and time, are government employee unions, and the biggest of them, in terms of contributions, are the teachers unions. So, Democratic politicians, by and large, have to oppose school choice if they want to be reelected.

Years ago, I was surprised to find that better than 1/3 of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention were teachers. This was in the Reagan/ Bush/ Clinton time frame. Not sure of the figures now, but that gives some idea of why the Democratic politicians tend to oppose school choice, tooth and nail.

And, yes, Madison this spring/summer gives some more indication of this power by the teachers' unions. All those protests were essentially about defanging, or at least weakening the teachers unions. That was the bottom line, and most everything else was liberal window dressing for the teachers unions fighting for survival, pulling in all of the other Democratic power groups for support. That was a lot of hoopla, for what was essentially a fight between the Republicans and the teachers' unions.

Alex said...

America has already been Balkanized, Bantustaned and all the rest. It's not a real country.

Alex said...

That was a lot of hoopla, for what was essentially a fight between the Republicans and the teachers' unions.

It's a war between the American people and the public sector unions.

Bruce Hayden said...

I've recommended web cameras in all public school classrooms as a way to legally document, and control, student misbehavior and teacher incompetence in the most underachieving schools.

And maybe, just maybe, the libs running the school systems would become accountable for what they teach and don't teach. Such things as a history book with 7 chapters on Islam, and 1 on Christianity - dwelling, of course, on the Crusades, in what was, until recently at least, a Judeo-Christian nation. There is a lot of this sort of thing going on, which is just one more reason that our public schools fail so miserably.

Henry said...

In my experience the people opposed to public school choice are liberals who can afford to send their kids to private school.

Coketown said...

Not In Colorado. The radical left (Democrats - but I repeat myself) are against school choice and vouchers and against it with a collective vengeance.

Will you be voting November 1st on the proposal to raise the state income tax and allocate ALL increased revenue to education? I'll be voting no, for what it's worth!

Coketown, remember those were the kids who switched from the failing schools. Not surprising the results in performance were not immediate.

That's correct. I reflexively think "national disgrace" when I think "DC school system," but I forget that DC is home to some wealthy neighborhoods with very nice public schools. The study I read looked only at voucher recipients, which were from the lowest performing schools and lowest income families.

And you're absolutely right about it requiring commitment from both the students and parents.

gregq said...

Yet how many of the inner city parents turn around and vote for a Democrat, when it's the Democrat Party that's most firmly against school choice?

AprilApple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AprilApple said...

Coketown: As you know, the democrat answer to everything is to layer taxes on top of taxes. "It's for the children". Bullshit. It's for the power. The power democrats have to waste more of our money on failure.
I'll be voting no, of course. I want to solve our education problems with good ideas - not more wasted money.
The democrats are desperate to fund their monopolistic union machine with our tax dollars.

rcocean said...

Until conservatives gain control of the Judiciary - school choice is a bad choice.

LarryK said...

Hi all, Larry K, K for Kaufmann, the author of said piece that Ann linked to. Yes, there's plenty of data to show that school choice is often less popular in Republican districts, and school choice referenda get voted down because of turnout in these districts, but it's at the office and I can't get access to it right now. The evidence is also overwhelming (but not unanimous) that school choice improves academic performance. Check back in tomorrow morning and I can give you cites to literature that backs up each and every factual claim in the op-ed.

And thanks for the comments, civil or otherwise.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Before I was a priest, I ran for office...once...unsuccessfully.

I ran in an urban district, as a Republican (I'm not one anymore) against the Majority Leader who was a Democrat. It was a suicide mission, but it was my crazy, youthful idea.

I was for vouchers and I was prolife.

There were, indeed, more affluent Republican types who would murmur about vouchers, when they thought about those kids, from down there, coming here. As a pastor, I see a similar mentality from more affluent Catholics about voucher kids coming to their school.

The same "country club" Republican type is also, often pro-abortion for the exact same reason. Legal abortion solves so many social problems, they reason.

Michael Haz said...

Most of my co-workers are residents of Milwaukee and have school-age children. Many of the adults work two full-time jobs plus a part-time job on weekends just to cobble together enough money for tuition payments so their kids can attend parochial schools.

They come to work most days exhausted, worn down, but not defeated. They simply REFUSE to have their children attend the dead-end hell-hole that most MPS schools have become.

Democrats who can't figure this out or who are fully beholden to the campaign funding provided by the teachers' union do so at their own political peril.

Those politicians would NEVER allow the government to dictate which colleges or universities the politicians' children attend. Primary and secondary school should be no different

AJ Lynch said...

Welcome Larry K. Thanks for your reasoned response.

Roux said...

My wife is a teacher and most of the problems come from mandates by the federal and state government. Leave the teachers alone and let them teach.

rcocean said...

I don't think people really understand the danger of "School Choice". The Government gives vouchers to pay for tuition. Well, "He who pays the piper determines the tune".

Suggestion: Look at colleges, we have 'College choice' and the US Government says colleges must do this or that or no $$$. Result: they play any tune the US Government wants played.

Maguro said...

I don't think people really understand the danger of "School Choice". The Government gives vouchers to pay for tuition. Well, "He who pays the piper determines the tune".

Well, the government is calling the tune now even without school choice, is it not? NCLB and all that. How would adding an element of choice increase the Federal role in education beyond where it is now?

Suggestion: Look at colleges, we have 'College choice' and the US Government says colleges must do this or that or no $$$. Result: they play any tune the US Government
wants played.


So things would be better if nobody had a choice of which college they went to, really? Not following this logic at all.

stlgretchen said...

OK. "School choice" is not really "choice". Nowhere in this article do I see the phrase: common core standards. These are the nationalized standards that are being instituted through Race to the Top mandates and other federal grants. Think of it as the educational version of Obamacare. Tons of mandates are unfunded that states will have to adhere to or the funding they do receive will be cut. It's like NCLB on steroids.

States cannot set their own standards and have no autonomy. Here's an article explaining what this means:
http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2011/10/its-confirmed-totalitarian-democracy.html

IF you think the main reason schools are failing is because of the teachers, you will love school choice. If you think teachers are an issue, but so is excessive standardized testing, substandard curriculum and politically correct teaching (such as social justice math), this school choice will change little.

Charters and other non-traditional schools that receive federal funding are under the SAME mandates as traditional public schools. The education itself will not be changed, only the delivery will be different. Children will receive the SAME education in different buildings with different players.

For more information on this total takeover of education by the National Governor's Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers (both private groups setting the standards and assessments for the consortia of states responsible now for state education) please read this site:

http://truthinamericaneducation.com/

Question: why are taxpayer funds being diverted to private companies to educate public education students? There is no accountability to local or state taxpayers. As stated in the first article, "...under present legislation in the United States Code Annotated (USCA) the Department of Education (DOEd) can do what it wants relative to testing and analysis and the local schools have no control or input on what the DOEd wishes to accomplish, if the local school is receiving federal funds in any form."

How will school choice give local schools any control or input? It won't as long as the common core standards are in place and the federal government is pulling the strings. Make school choice a TRUE choice in the education itself (not just the delivery) and then that would be worth supporting.

rcommal said...

States cannot set their own standards and have no autonomy.

They can, in terms of the former, and they do, in terms of the latter, with regard to homeschooling. Try researching widely varying requirements and standards for homeschooling. It might be a true eye-opener; regardless, it is illuminating.

JAL said...

Funny, I seemed to recall the teachers unions making the most noise against school choice.

Doesn't that = Democrat?

Who trashed the DC school choice again?

rcocean said...

"Well, the government is calling the tune now even without school choice, is it not? NCLB and all that."

Not really. Your private religious elementary school can still maintain a religious curricula. Wonder what would happen if 50% percent of the money came from Government vouchers.

Probably a dicta that either you stop being so 'Religious' or lose that 50% of your $$$.

rcommal said...

There is quite the gamut of attitudes, approaches, standards and requirements. It is possible that people could view that reality as a collection of laboratories if people wanted to do so (or even just imagine that).

ricpic said...

Maybe a lot of those Republican suburbanites aren't thrilled to pieces about the introduction of vibrant students into their childrens' classrooms. Easy to say that makes them bad people but reality trumps so called idealism when it comes to ones flesh and blood.

stlgretchen said...

I wrote: States cannot set their own standards and have no autonomy.

That is true for schools that receive federal funding. Private schooled students and home schoolers are exempt if they do not use programs funded by the public schools. I would be very careful if I were a homeschooler using any curriculum supplied by my home district. It comes with strings. Virtual school would come under the common core mandates as well.

My point is: tax dollars are going to support a system which the taxpayers have no voice. They are just supplying the money and the human capital.

rcommal said...

Even within the "laboratories" there are various ways folks are conducting experiments. What a rich soil for serious analysis. The question is: Any takers?

rcommal said...

That is true for schools that receive federal funding.

stigretchen: You are confusing, or just interchanging, schools with districts and states. Even school districts that receive/benefit from federal funding have such latitude, and certainly the state does (also, depending on how the state and school districts set it up, the local schools do, as well).

Thus:

They can, in terms of the former, and they do, in terms of the latter, with regard to homeschooling. Try researching widely varying requirements and standards for homeschooling. It might be a true eye-opener; regardless, it is illuminating.

and

There is quite the gamut of attitudes, approaches, standards and requirements. It is possible that people could view that reality as a collection of laboratories if people wanted to do so (or even just imagine that).

and

Even within the "laboratories" there are various ways folks are conducting experiments. What a rich soil for serious analysis. The question is: Any takers?

rcommal said...

Many of the adults work two full-time jobs plus a part-time job on weekends just to cobble together enough money for tuition payments so their kids can attend parochial schools.

Perhaps some of them ought rethink and reconfigure some of those multiple full-time and part-time jobs (especially if they involve both parents) and designate time for one or (part-time for) both of those parents to homeschool their children. It is relatively easy to offset tuition costs that way, assuming that is the true issue.

stlgretchen said...

rcommal:

No, I am not interchanging. The consortia will now set the standards and assessments for the states. The states are heavily encouraged to adopt 100% of the standards. They have a 15% latitude to teach additional material (such as Mark Twain in MO)...but they are not encouraged to do so because "common" means "common". Districts DO have the right to set their own curriculum, but they do so at their own peril. If they use curriculum that does not align to the new state standards and assessments, chances are the students will not perform well on the standardized tests and the school will be labeled as failing. What superintendent will want to stick his/her neck on the line like that?

Read the links I provided. Then tell me how the public schools can operate in an innovative manner with the mandates handed down by the DOEd.

traditionalguy said...

The daily attendance figures translate directly into more money or less money for the Administrator's salaries and retirement plans.

Therefore the administration exercises choice and will not send kids home suspended for disruption of class for the teacher and the other students.

Private schools are like military academies...if you attack the class, then you are gone.

It is that simple. Disciples are the ones under discipline.

rcommal said...

stlgretchen: You are attempting to recast and change the point presented for consideration. Go back and read the original comment[s]. It seems that you want to pick a fight over something on which, in largest part, there is no disagreement. What it seems you don't want to do is consider an alternative point of approach (even if it mostly supports your POV and profoundly supports the idea of looking for better ways to do things, even in supposedly unlikely and very much individual ways). Go back and read again, using a different filter if necessary. You might still disagree. That's fine. Please give them a truly fair read, first. Make sure that you're sure they're defending what you think they are, and that they're as lacking in fact as you said they are.

Thanks.

rcommal said...

Private schools are like military academies...if you attack the class, then you are gone.

No, that is not always true. You are wrong, traditionalguy, flat out. This constant assumption is part of the problem. No, that is not always true. You are wrong about that.

rcommal said...

Read the links I provided. Then tell me how the public schools can operate in an innovative manner with the mandates handed down by the DOEd.

To reiterate: This is a piece of the evidence on which the following was based:

You are attempting to recast and change the point presented for consideration. Go back and read the original comment[s]. It seems that you want to pick a fight over something on which, in largest part, there is no disagreement.

Please, again, read this closely, as well as the previous comments. If you want to make assumptions, consider making ones closer to the truth re: others' opinions about fed gov't, or even state control, of education.

traditionalguy said...

rcommal...What private schools do you know?

I am not sure about Marist, the Catholic private school in Atlanta, but I do know that I am right about Westminster School and Woodward Academy.

Woodward is the best one of them. It was Georgia Military Academy (GMA) until 1965.

They have a waiting list to replace students. And parents celebrate the graduations because college tuition and living expenses the next year is usually a third of what the Academy costs.

Chip S. said...

And parents celebrate the graduations because college tuition and living expenses the next year is usually a third of what the Academy costs.

So, people are spending $21K a year for a HS where most of the kids end up going to the University of Georgia? That school must have one hell of a golf and tennis program.

rcommal said...

I am not sure about Marist, the Catholic private school in Atlanta, but I do know that I am right about Westminster School and Woodward Academy.

Woodward is the best one of them. It was Georgia Military Academy (GMA) until 1965.


So, the flat statement you made was based on two schools you know about, and one you're not sure about, all located in Atlanta. From thence you felt comfy extrapolating every which way and all across these United States as, if not fact, at least opinion that it's mostly fact. This is a very different thing from other posted comments (though, in some respects, quite like what, for example, stlgretchen did).

Fred4Pres said...

Scare tactics about vouchers are teacher union lies. Vouchers would be from the states or local. Standards would be state standards. I would propose eliminating the Dept of Ed at the fed level. It is not needed.

rcommal said...

I would propose eliminating the Dept of Ed at the fed level.

Agree. Arguing for that is a worthy thing.

(Wouldn't bet on that happening, though, especially since--despite all the complaints--it's not clear that states really want that to happen. [Yeah, yeah, states don't want the mandates, and God knows they've been crippled by unfunded mandates for ye these many years. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate into most states actually wanting to go it on their own. Observe the behavior, *all* of it; follow the money: *all* of it.])

But then, it's easy to remember arguing against public-employees unions, including public-employee k-12 teachers unions, as far back as in 1980, even against family members. They didn't want to consider other paradigms for education, either, then. (Their focus was on what was considered as more immediate issues at and of the time.)

Now, it's pretty much the same thing, only expanded.

rcommal said...

1980: First year to be accused of being a closet a) libertarian b) conservative and c) anarchist. Also, d) classical liberal, though at least that one came with more explanation, which sets that one apart. LMAO.

wv: promas

rcommal said...

And to think it had primarily to do with education and where it was obviously headed (though not only that) ... .

rcommal said...

This is partly why it's so hilarious to see what people who now are, especially, 50*, 60, 70, 80 & etc. have to say about the state of education and its burdens. Call it cynical to find it so, but yes: It is hilarious; after all, it's not as if they just fell off the turnip truck yesterday, now is it.

Nora said...

"In fact ..."

Is a figure if speech used when proof is not available.

Bruce Hayden said...

Private schools are like military academies...if you attack the class, then you are gone.

Depends on a lot of things, but there is some truth there.

This is one of the reasons that we spent up to $20k or so for K-12 for our kid. A little bullying, and the bully is counseled on that, and the bullied are counseled on bully-proofing. More, and, yes, the kid is out. Ditto for too much disruption of classes. Again though, they would seriously work with the kid first, before throwing him out. And, that would usually work.

But that school could do it, because they had a waiting list, etc. But, if they didn't provide a safe environment for learning, they wouldn't have that, and would lose the $20k per kid per year they were getting. Very simple.

Mom said...

Remarkable that he managed to write that whole article without using the word "union" a single time.

And I'd love to see the data supporting the claim that Republicans are the opponents of school choice. I've never met a Republican who opposed school choice, or a Democrat who supported it.

AllenS said...

I agree with what Mom said.

Mr. Kaufmann, be sure and bring all of your data, not just cherrypicked data about Republican districts.

stlgretchen said...

rcommal:

Thank you for telling me how wrong I am in my approach and I am not factual. Look at the title of the article: "School choice-it's choice!-how can it be bad?" I was answering that question. It's bad because it's not true choice and gives taxpayers no accountability. And that's wrong?

Let's look at the sentence from the linked article in Althouse's blog:

"Public education needs fundamental, institutional reform. School choice may not be the only possible response to long-term educational problems, but it deserves serious attention rather than knee-jerk condemnation."

That's correct. I was just pointing out what is being proposed currently by RTTT is still choice controlled by federal strings (trigger option, charter schools). The choices are still under the same mandates as traditional public schools.

If you are talking TRUE choice, giving vouchers to private schools with no federal strings, that's a whole different ballgame:

"But school choice simply gives public funds directly to parents to use as they see fit and does not involve any sales or "privatization" of public assets. If those parents select a private school, so be it. The purpose of education policy is to produce educated citizens, not protect failing schools by keeping their students locked inside."

As rcocean commented:

I don't think people really understand the danger of "School Choice". The Government gives vouchers to pay for tuition. Well, "He who pays the piper determines the tune".

Suggestion: Look at colleges, we have 'College choice' and the US Government says colleges must do this or that or no $$$. Result: they play any tune the US Government wants played."

Forgive me please. I thought I was responding to the article and the accompanying link entitled "It might be good". I didn't know you controlled the answers and the directions they took.

I guess what it listed in RTTT documents, common core mandates, NGA/CCSSO and DOEd agreements, money states have spent according to these mandates must not be factual, eh? I suppose what other national educational writers have written are based in fallacy as well. We've just pulled our information from documents posted on governmental websites. But I'm sure you will still find some issues in what we've concluded.

AprilApple said...

It's not the teachers - it's the TEACHER'S UNIONS.

AprilApple said...

I suspect the left are nervous because we on the right, who undoubtedly want and desire school choice [as a way to lift kids out of bad public schools in poorer areas]are using the word "choice" and that pisses the collective left right off.

The left won’t touch the fact that Obama himself killed the popular DC choice program as soon as he was sworn into office in 2008. That popular program helped lower income families get out of failing DC schools. Obama did it all for the glory to of the money – the kick-back – the teacher’s union/democrat party money laundering machine.
BTW – all sorts of private schools and charter schools must adhere and abide by standards set forth by the state.

MN Mom said...

School choice isn't all about vouchers (which is what really sets people off.) In MN - a very blue (democrat) state, we have alot of school choice, but there is no need for vouchers ...

We allow open-enrolling into other districts that have room to accomodate (state money follows the kid - and districts like the extra money).

We have magnet schools run by the districts specializing in the environment, STEM, gifted education,arts, foreign language, or whatever a district deems an important focus to retain their own students and attract others from out of district.

We have charter schools not directly affiliated with a district. And there are post-secondary options (college) for 11th and 12th graders.

School choice can mean offering alot of options, but not providing vouchers for private schools.

My kids attend outside their regular school district in a neighboring suburb. Our district based upon residence has responded to an exodus of kids with two magnet schools focusing on the sciences. Choice does raise the standards overall.

AprilApple said...

Douglas County Colorado: A republican area that voted for a voucher CHOICE program in schools. Of course the left went nuts and have now dragged the voters decision through the courts where it will be destroyed by democrat judges.

Michael said...

Traditionalguy. I have paid tuitions at Westminster, Lovett and,now, Woodward. Woodward is the best. Of the three they actually stick with their policiy regarding drugs. Caught and you are gone. Very strict, no redemption possible. The others have very strict policies that are ignored in practice.

Woodward reminds me of the voy's prep school i attended, run by the Christian Brothers. On the first day of orientation parents were in attendance. They were then informed that their ideas on education in general and their children i. Particular were of no interest to the school. They had been doing it for a hundred years and didnt need input. Ditto re discipline. Please take your kid out of here if you dont like it because we have a long list of kids waiting to get in.

Peter said...

I'm havign difficulty following the poltiics here.

It seems clear enough that essentially all of Wisconsin's Democrats have sworn no-deviations-permitted fealty to the teachers unions. And teachers unions are opposed to anything that might direct taxpayer funds away from traditional, unionized public schools.


It is, however, quite possible that some suburban Republicans are opposed to taking tax money from richer districts and sending that money to poorer districts, esp. if they will have little or nothing to say about how that money is used.

LarryK said...

Whatever Mom wants, Mom gets. The most rigorous and comprehensive discussion of the attitudes of suburban voters (who do tend to vote Republican) regarding school choice is Ryan and Heise’s “The Political Economy of School Choice,” published in the Yale Journal of Law. They address the commonly held perceptions of which groups do and do not support school choice and show that most of the media attention to this issue is missing the main point. Here is a summary of their argument:

"Just as the claims (regarding school choice) are becoming quite familiar, so too are (most of) the
participants: On one side stand the teachers’ unions and civil liberties groups who oppose at least private school choice, while on the other side stand free-market libertarians, religious conservatives, and an already significant and growing number of African-American parents.

We believe that many claims regarding school choice miss the mark, and that they do so because those making them have failed to focus on the most important stakeholders in this debate: suburbanites, especially suburban parents. Suburbanites, by and large, are not wild about school choice, either public or private. Suburban parents are generally satisfied with the public schools their children attend, and they want to protect both the physical and the financial sanctity of these schools.4 School choice threatens both. It creates the generally unwelcome possibility that outsiders—particularly urban students—will be able to attend suburban schools at the expense of local taxpayers. Choice programs also raise the possibility that some locally raised revenues will exit local schools as students leave to attend either private schools or public schools outside of their residential districts. To the extent that choice may threaten the exclusivity and superiority of suburban schools, it may also threaten suburban housing values, which are linked to the quality of neighborhood schools. Like suburban parents, suburban homeowners without childrenthus have a strong, self-interested reason to be wary of school choice.

When suburbanites perceive a threat to their schools, they fight back, and they usually win."

They then flesh out this argument (context, consequences and policy/political responses) for the next 90 or so pages. Because they are lawyers, this article is not filled with intimidating math or stats and is therefore accessible. It’s available on-line, so if you’re interested you can download and read the whole thing.

If you want more information on the productivity of schools in the US and elsewhere, Google the name “Caroline Hoxby” – she is an Economics Professor at Stanford and owns the issue. I relied on her Southern Economic Journal article “Productivity in Education,” which is pretty low-tech and accessible to educated laypeople, but some of her work is much more mathematically and technically complex.

Finally, the best single, overall book on the school choice issue is “School Choice: The Findings” by Herbert Walberg. It’s an easy read and a 100+ page “meta” review of all the evidence regarding school choice. He touches on the political economy issues, but doesn’t concentrate them, although what he does report supports Ryan and Heise.

Happy reading…now if Mom will excuse me, I have to go clean my room and finish my vegetables so I can have dessert.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

LarryK-

Thanks for stopping by and adding to the fun.

However, I'm not sure it's valid to go from suburban voters tend to oppose school choice and suburban voters tend to vote Republican to the people most resistant to expanding choice are often suburban voters who vote Republican

Unless there is specific polling covering both party affiliation and school choice preference, it could be that a strong majority of suburban Democrats, plus a minority of suburban Republicans oppose choice.

I certainly don't have data to prove this, I'm just throwing it out there as a possibility ( which just happens to match my existing bias :)

LarryK said...

Ignorance - I'm going to do something Paul Krugman never does when he's criticized and say that you make a good point. I don't know of any specific data to show that it is Republican suburban voters per se, rather than Democratic suburban voters, who are often most resistant and, in practical terms, most effective in blocking the expansion of school choice. However, I think it's reasonable to infer this because 1) suburban voters do skew Republican and 2) the reasons Ryan and Heise cite for suburban opposition to school choice are so different from those that groups affiliated with the Democratic Party invariably fall back on. What we know is that there is a distinct group living in areas predominantly populated by Republicans who oppose school choice for reasons that differ from those voiced by Democrats (e.g. protecting our neighborhood's property values). Can I prove these voters are Republicans? No, but I think it's more reasonable to conclude that than saying they're Democrats, because if they were Democrats, their reasons for opposing choice would sound more like Democratic talking points.

More broadly, the point I was really making is that the politics of this issue are complex - there are constituencies for and against school choice in both parties (Democrats for - black inner city parents, Democrats against - unions; Republicans for - free market believers, Republicans against - suburban voters interested in protecting their own schools and property values, not reforming and improving the education of other peoples' kids). I don't think anyone who considers this objectively would dispute this, but the anti-choice crowd still tries efforts to expand choice as a raw political play. It's not that simple.

Chip S. said...

@LarryK--There's a very simple potential explanation of why suburbanites would not like school vouchers: The value of being in a "good" school district is an important component of housing values. So breaking the tie between residential location and school location could cause a significant change in house prices--lower in the suburbs and higher in the cities.

See the papers by Thomas Nechyba on this point.

LarryK said...

Chip - that's the point I was making about suburbanites i.e. protecting property values. Now I'm sure both Republican and Democratic suburban voters care about their property values, but precisely because this cuts across party lines it shows why Republicans are often strongly opposed to school choice - and the property value-education link is an aspect of the school choice issue that Democrats and the media either neglect or were not even aware of.

Chip S. said...

Larry--Yes, I see that I missed that in your last post. Sorry about that. But your earlier comments seemed to emphasize "threats to schools" rather than "threats to property values." Tying that predominantly to Republicans seemed to have a whiff of race politics in it. As you've now said clearly, the split is suburban/urban, not Republican/Democrat. Since the suburbs are probably more Republican than the cities, the issue looks more partisan than it really is.

AllenS said...

That's some pretty weak shit, Mr. Kaufmann.

LarryK said...

Wow, powerful rebuttal Alan. I cite peer-reviewed research from respected journals and a published book reviewing dozens of studies, and you reach into the barnyard. Why don't you read the Yale Law Journal article and report back.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

No, but I think it's more reasonable to conclude that than saying they're Democrats, because if they were Democrats, their reasons for opposing choice would sound more like Democratic talking points.

That does give us a hint one way. However, I think a stronger argument is found in the fact that Republican politicians tend to support school choice. You say that they are taking political risks. I say that they have the polling data that you and I lack.

kwood said...

Vouchers are a nice idea, but I prefer the simpler solution of having and supporting Public Schools, but ham-stringing the unions and getting politics out of the process as much as possible.

Some schools will have more resources than others, that's a fact of life.

But parents and the local community should not be dictated to by the unions. That has got to stop. Let each school reflect the needs and desires of its community, and not simply the fallout of whatever political scheming and battles and opportunism it is currently subjected to.

AllenS said...

Am I supposed to buy a book?

Originally, you said: "Yes, there's plenty of data to show that school choice is often less popular in Republican districts".

Then, you respond today with this "peer-reviewed research", which says: "On one side stand the teachers’ unions and civil liberties groups who oppose at least private school choice, while on the other side stand free-market libertarians, religious conservatives, and an already significant and growing number of African-American parents."

That doesn't match up with your original "Republican districts" claim.

LarryK said...

Allen, I'm not sure if you're serious or just bitterly clinging to an unsustainable position, but in the sentence immediately after the one you quote, the authors say that those views "miss the mark" and then spend 90 pages showing why. The authors therefore acknowledge that the view you quote is the conventional wisdom, but the AIM of their study is to show that it's wrong...which means it does support what I said.

And no you don't have to buy the book, it's a journal article, Google and ye shall find.

Christy said...

Here in a red county in a red state, kids in the failing schools have the option of transferring to other public high schools.

AllenS said...

No, no, no, no, Mr. Kaufmann. You said: "Yes, there's plenty of data to show that school choice is often less popular in Republican districts".

Now, tell me, Mr. Kaufmann, exactly where in this study does it say exactly that?

It doesn't. What you want me to do, is imagine that that's what is infered, but it isn't. You're making shit up.

AllenS said...

One more comment from me, Mr. Kaufmann. Anytime you want to come over here, to this blog, bring your best shit, because not only myself, but others are going to call you on your attempt to blow shit up our collective asses.

rcommal said...

To be clear, choices in schooling, including school choice, are a good thing; how more clearly can that be stated. It is important to be clear-eyed all the way around and specifically regarding the realities on the ground from district to district, state to state and so forth. Both things said, however which way education goes wherever, including locally, there's not much axe-grinding for us to do. Homeschool we do and, regardless of how the various debates over education play out, are prepared (having been preparing) to do it in various states, which requirements and expectations vary, sometimes quite widely and starkly.

Tom DeGisi said...

AllenS,

Where I live prominent Republicans and Republican organizations with substantial backing among Republican voters are against school choice for the very reasons Larry K states. I've been reading editorials from a prominent Republican newspaper publisher - who has had plenty of decidedly Republican stances - taking that stance for decades. And I know the people in the Republican party who support that. My precinct committeewoman, for one.

Maybe you just don't know as much about Republicans as you think you do. Hugh Hewitt, who has done alot more work than either of us, will back me up. He calls that faction the Party of Wealth. In addition, the Law and Order Republicans have reasons to not like school choice.

And when it comes to blowing smoke up people's asses, no one who comments here regularly takes a back seat to you. Your smoke is just harsher. I'm thinking unfiltered Camels.

Yours,
TOm