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>

Copyright © 2002 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times.

"Preschool is a lot more important than high school. If I had my way, I would do away with the last grade in high school and put it on the front end."

So says Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, in an hour-long PBS show "The Promise of Preschool," produced this year by veteran journalist John Merrow.

Critics of school choice have long questioned the ability of parents to choose the best schools for their children. Critics fear that parents do not have the time, qualifications, or information to make informed decisions about the quality of their children's schools. New evidence tells us it's time to put this fear to rest.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Advocates of limited government in Congress face a dilemma. For two decades, conservatives have sought to devolve federal power over education back to state and local governments. In 1981, Ronald Reagan entered office pledging to abolish the fledgling Department of Education. Since then hundreds of billions of federal taxpayer dollars have been spent in an effort to improve local educational services, but there has been no corresponding improvement in student performance on major national exams.

Phoenix-According to an AP report, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Ruth Solomon (D-Tucson) has proposed suspending tax credits for donations to scholarship organizations along with tax credits for extracurricular activities, arguing the state could save $45 to $50 million. Goldwater Institute executive director Darcy Olsen disputes the wisdom-and the purported cost savings-of suspending the scholarship tax credit.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As the 2002 legislative session unfolds, lawmakers are grappling with what appear to be competing priorities: balancing the budget and improving education. Faced with an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall, legislators must rein in spending.1 Yet the need to reform Arizona's K-12 education system is also urgent. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that one out of four Arizona eighth graders can't read and one out of three hasn't mastered basic math skills.2 This proposal offers legislators a way to improve educational opportunities for students while achieving fiscal savings.

Phoenix, AZ-The Arizona Republic proclaimed in its lead story Saturday, March 23, that "School tax credits fail poor." But that claim is based on a misleading report released today by the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University.

Phoenix, AZ-With a $1.5 billion debt looming overhead, Arizona's policymakers are rushing to plug the state's leaky coffers.  According to news reports, a handful of legislators have put the state's nationally renowned education scholarship

Phoenix, AZ-On Wednesday, February 20, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. The case will decide the constitutionality of the Cleveland, Ohio, school choice program, and may have important implications for the future of education reform in Arizona.

Just how well Arizona's charter schools are educating students remains a muddy picture, despite a national study released this week that concluded students in loosely regulated charter schools in other states perform poorly.

The study fails to offer clear data about student progress at Arizona's nearly 500 charter schools, but it does cast doubt on the idea that the charter movement's more autonomous, free-market approach can produce better learning in the classroom.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Since the first two charter schools opened in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1992, a reliable study of the effects of charter school attendance on student achievement has been called for.  The question in evaluating the effects of charter school attendance is whether charter school students perform better or worse, on average, than similar students in traditional public schools (TPS).

 

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