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>

What I remember most about preschool were the waffle patterned wafer cookies. You can still find them in the same three great flavors as always -- chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

Preschool has changed a lot since then. With childhood obesity on the rise, it's a safe bet that cookies are getting harder to come by. Building blocks and Lincoln logs are giving way to Dora DVDs.

But the biggest change may be the sheer volume of kids trading in sippy cups for school desks. Preschool, once an `a la carte option, has become an educational must-have.

Keep teens enrolled by challenging them more, teaching them better, expecting them to perform at higher levels.

A recent Oprah "Special Report" and a Time magazine cover story exposed a shocking statistic -- nearly one in three U.S. students do not graduate from high school. One in three.

Prompting the coverage was "The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives on High School Dropouts," a report by Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Gates Foundation.

A recent Oprah Special Report and a Time magazine cover story exposed a shocking statistic " nearly one in three American students do not graduate from high school. One in three.

Prompting the coverage was The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives on High School Dropouts, a report by Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Gates Foundation.

The study, which detailed survey and focus-group responses of more than 500 dropouts nationwide, sought to determine why students drop out and what might help them complete their education.

In January 2005, the Goldwater Institute and the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation jointly produced A Guide to Understanding State Funding of Arizona Public School Students to bring simplicity, transparency, and accuracy to Arizona public school finance by detailing the underlying funding formulas and mechanisms. Like the 2005 study, this analysis examines updated financial data from the Arizona Department of Educations multiple accounting systems: the Uniform System of Financial Reporting (USFR), the Student Accountability Information System (SAIS), and the Superintendents Annual Financial Report (SAFR). This policy brief also describes the changes that have occurred in Arizona funding between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 fiscal years.

Why are some schools were successful than others? We all think we know. But the answers from a new study may surprise you.

The economics of higher education are badly out of whack.

Less than a third of Americans complete a college education. Doing so, on average, results in nearly a million dollars more in lifetime earnings. Yet taxpayers pick up the lion's share of the cost.

With rising tuition and rapidly growing enrollment at Arizona's public universities and colleges, policymakers are looking for cost-efficient ways to expand capacity.

To help address this challenge, plans allowing community colleges to offer third-year courses and even four-year degrees have been proposed. On its face, such an expansion sounds reasonable. But a closer examination suggests this is not the simple solution it might seem.

It's 8:30 a.m. and students are starting to funnel into veteran nurse Jeanne Cozine's office at Line-weaver Elementary School.

"It's Monday. We're primary care," Cozine says.

Cozine, like school nurses across Tucson, still deals with common occurrences such as stomachaches and fevers. But increasingly, these professionals are dealing with much more complex issues, such as childhood diabetes, asthma, allergies and autism.

 

Enrollment at Arizona's three main state universities is projected to increase from 115,000 to 185,000 students by 2020. Under the existing higher education finance system, state and local appropriations to Arizona public universities and community colleges amounted to $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2003 just for operating expenses, which exclude capital and construction funding. Arizona's projected enrollment growth could almost double those appropriations in real terms to an estimated $2.4 billion in 2018. Adding to the strain of Arizona's student enrollment growth is the state constitution's mandate that public postsecondary education in Arizona be as nearly free as possible.

Market-based Reforms Will Make Schools More Efficient and Save Tax Dollars

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