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>

Guest Opinion

Given the chance, would you be willing to improve a student's life by forgoing one happy meal at McDonalds? Or by passing up one video rental from Blockbuster? If you answered yes, keep reading.

Five dollars is all it costs to make a child's dream come true under Arizona's revolutionary scholarship program.

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.


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.



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.