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.
By Tim Keller
Arizona's scholarship programs for children with disabilities and children in foster care have given hope to hundreds of children. Hope for a good education. Hope for a better future. For hundreds of children receiving scholarships, this hope has become reality.
Sadly, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has decided to take away their hope. Tom Horne has decided to put the programs "on hold." He says he does not intend to issue scholarships to any families next year.
Is demography destiny? Some educational experts say that it is. Therefore, states such as Arizona, with a growing Hispanic population, seem doomed to fail.
States can overcome this challenge. Exhibit A: Florida under Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. Startling statistics show that with abundant school choice and systemic education reform, Florida's Hispanic students already eclipse the average academic performance of many states.
In 2007, Arizona created a state tax deduction for contributions to 529 college savings plans. The deduction allows families to save tax-free for a child's college education, and the earnings accrued are not taxed if they are spent on higher education. In 2008, individual taxpayers will be able to deduct up to $750 for 529 contributions, and joint filers can deduct up to $1,500.
Phoenix--Arizona should become the first state in the nation to provide tax relief for parents who put aside money for educational expenses incurred during their children's kindergarten through high school years, argues a new report by the Goldwater Institute.
Prior to joining Goldwater, Ladner was director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice, where he provided support and resources for state-based school choice efforts. Ladner has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform.
Ladner is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston.
Phoenix--We've come a long way, baby! In just 14 years, Arizona has gone from having no school choice programs to leading the nation in parental choice. A new report released today by the Goldwater Institute takes stock of the existing school choice programs, makes recommendations to improve each one, and outlines new programs the state could create to provide even more opportunities for Arizona schoolchildren.
Reality is beginning to set in about education reform, at least in some parts of the right.
The conservative education reform agenda is centered in choice. Allow parents to choose the schools their children attend, and schools will improve as they are forced to compete, goes the argument.
The primacy given to choice was challenged recently by an essay in City Journal by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Sol Stern, titled "School Choice Isn't Enough."
Diversity of choices aids kids; keep government out of it.
America needs to invest more financial resources to help address a looming shortage of college graduates needed for the high-tech economy of tomorrow. Or do we?
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, current chair of the National Governors Association, used her 2008 State of the State address to call for doubling the number of college graduates in Arizona by 2020. Napolitano proposed paying the tuition for students who graduate high school with a B average to accomplish this goal.
While its intellectual roots go back a long way, the modern school-choice movement basically began in 1990 with the passage of the first school-voucher law in Milwaukee. The first charter-school law appeared at about that time, too. Eighteen years into the battle for school choice, Sol Sterns new article has set off a firestorm in the education-reform world. He asks: Wheres the beef? Are market-based reforms truly a panacea for our education problems?