Now comes the Christian Science Monitor
panning school choice.
Milwaukee's lessons on school vouchers
The choice in education is how do we get the best results in a democratic way in educating our children. It is not public versus private.
The conclusion is simple: private education is superior for individual students when it has these advantages:
*lots of money per pupil
*very low ratios of students to teachers
The following are not essential but they sure help:
*fewer students from poor households
*the ability to weed out students who do not want to learn, regardless of income or race
*the ability to cultivate students from families that take an active interest in the child's education
*students who get sound medical attention
*access to computers
A private system with these inherent advantages in its operation is not my vision of education in a democratic society. But that is the Milwaukee Choice program funded by my tax dollars.
From the Christian Science Monitor.
...Hers is the sort of story Milwaukee's school-choice advocates cite when touting the oldest and largest voucher program in the country. Now it's expanding, but 16 years after it began, the policy is still controversial and has shown few documented benefits...
...It's a step everyone agrees is needed. Voucher supporters had envisioned a system in which parents would choose only good schools, so the worst ones would fall by the wayside due to market forces. But that hasn't proved to be the case...
...Studies done in the early years of Milwaukee's program, before the state stopped requiring yearly reporting from voucher schools and before religious schools were allowed into the program, showed little difference in student achievement among voucher students, but measurable improvement in parental satisfaction. A new five-year study was just announced by Georgetown University in Washington.
This Christian Science Monitor
story provides the valuable anecdotes about students previously failing in public schools who are now succeeding in a private school.
Sorry. That is no substitute for overall performance. After all, that is what led to the attack on public education. Lack of overall performance.
We will get overall performance when:
*schools are properly funded and not dilapidated.
*students have peers that value education.
*there are low student teacher ratios.
*every student has access to a computer.
*students go to school well fed and healthy.
*we understand that educating a child is a 24 hour a day job.
*we appreciate that a students needs the arts and sports which the Greeks proved 3000 years ago.
*teachers are treated with the dignity and the respect they deserve, they are not baby sitters; and those who need to be fired are discharged.
*parents are made welcome in the school as partners.
*legislatures understand that real economic development is in funding public education.
Some previous posts:
Kids, Schools, and Cities Part I
Kids, Schools, and Cities Part II
Myth Busting: Rosenbaum's Research, Gautreaux, Public Education at Its Best