Education Reform

Too often, the traditional public-school model fails students and teachers. Charter schools, scholarship tax credits, and merit pay are giving students a better education and teachers a better career.

<p>Too often, the traditional public-school model fails students and teachers. Charter schools, scholarship tax credits, and merit pay are giving students a better education and teachers a better career. </p>

When his public approval ratings are plummeting, what's a president to do? One possible answer: address a captive audience of millions of highly impressionable young minds, and follow it up with educational "lessons" that induce a positive image of the president.

Education is on the verge of a shakeup every bit as profound as that facing the newspaper and music industries, according to Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, who has written in Education Next that online learning is a disruptive technology that will change education permanently.
Disruptive technologies begin by competing against the lack of consumption of a dominant technology. The disruptive technology benefits the very consumers who were not using the original product and eventually evolves into a more desirable product than the original.

President Obama made the following statement during his recent health care address:

It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.

Does Arizona rank near the bottom, in the middle, or towards the top in terms of academic achievement? New testing data sheds light on the subject.

When the Goldwater Institute gave a version of the United States Citizenship Test to Arizona public high school students, only 3.5 percent of Arizona public school students got six or more questions correct, the passing score for immigrants. After seeing the results, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs wanted to know how Oklahoma high school students would fare on the exam, so we gave them precisely the same set of questions.

A new random assignment study on charter school achievement found significantly higher academic gains for students attending charter schools.
The study, conducted by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, examined test results for students in New York, and compared the academic gains of those students who win a lottery to attend charter schools to those students who lose the lottery and remain in traditional schools.

Last Wednesday, the Arizona Republic ran a complex story with an unfortunately oversimplified headline: Tuition tax credits drain state money. The headline is all the more unfortunate given the fact that by the Republic reporter's own estimation the program results in a $3 million savings to taxpayers. I wish someone would "drain" my bank account in a similar fashion.

This summer, Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Dan Lips and I published an article in the journal Education Next explaining why a student's race, ethnicity or family income are not accurate predictors of their future academic success. We were very pleased when the Chancellor of New York City Schools, Joel Klein wrote a letter in response to the article.
Here is an excerpt from Klein's letter:

The Nation's Report Card released 2009 results on its 4th- and 8th- grade math test, and you can examine the results for Arizona and other states here.

The news is not good. Arizona has stalled out with bad scores.

With a score nine points below the national average, Arizona 4th graders know almost a grade level less math than the average American student. Florida and Texas--states with similar levels of spending and student demographics--both scored above the national average.

I received the following question after last week’s article explained that (once again) Arizona scored below the national average on the Nation’s Report Card, this time in Math:

Do these test scores take into consideration the massive influx of students who do not speak English and who do poorly on tests?