Wednesday, June 04, 2014

More on school choice

My colleague CJ Szafir and I have a piece up on National Review regarding threats by the US Department of Justice against school choice.

Regarding my response to Politifact, let me extend my remarks.

I was interested in the weight that Politifact put on the fact that the increase in reading scores among choice students was in the fourth year when test scores became public. This doesn't strike me as a significant criticism of the results because both MPS and MPCP schools were subject to that requirement.

The idea that the increase in high school graduation rates can be dismissed because some students returned to an MPS school seems even an weaker criticism.  Most choice students will not graduate from a private high school because, at least until recently (and still to a significant degree),  the voucher amount was inadequate to cover the cost of high school education. Still, the fact that someone was a choice student significantly increased the likelihood that he or she would graduate from high school.

How that can be "no evidence" of improved student learning is beyond me.

I understand that, in attempting to defend their rating, Politifact has cited Patrick Wolf - one of the researchers involved in the Arkansas study (and who remains a passionate advocate for choice) - saying that to say there was no evidence of improvement is "a bit of a stretch." That's passingly odd. Something that is a stretch can hardly be "mostly true."

Again, much of the problem lies in the Truth-O-Meter emoticons which are not applied consistently and probably can't be. As I have written before, the series - at least by local writers - is worth having. I often learn things. The Truth-O-Meter is entertainment and not news. Here it obscured rather than illuminated.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.


Anonymous said...

Truth be told,

as a taxpaying Wisconsin citizen,

I do not like paying for children to go to private schools.

public schools worked fine for all of my age growing up, it should be fine enough for the kids of today,

If parents want to send their children to private schools, let them pay for it, like the parents of old.

Anonymous said...

@Anon - "It should be fine enough for the kids of today." Wisconsin's public school students statewide have a 38% proficiency level in reading. We rank at the middle of the pack internationally and spend near the very top on education. The education establishment has had complete control for 40 years. The system has changed very little over that time. The world, however, has. We need innovation and creativity - two things that simply don't happen under the current public school system.

Anonymous said...

innovation and creativity

I agree,

But fix what we have,

todays parenting and kids are the suspect, not the schools.

I do not want to pay for the laziness of parents.

Anonymous said...

also I did not say, that you could not send your child to a private school.

You pay for it that's all.

Anonymous said...

I do not support vouchers. They are another welfare program.

I am willing to pay above and beyond to ensure my children go to schools without vibrant diversity.

Look at test scores after Brown v. Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

Actually take it a step further and schools are a welfare program in itself.

Schools are a benefit given to us all from the government.

Sounds like welfare to me.

Terrence Berres said...

"Actually take it a step further and schools are a welfare program in itself."

So maybe there should be a voucher option that lets parents keep a means-tested part of the difference if they choose a school less expensive than the local public school.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely not. I'm taking my hard-earned money and sending my white children to white schools on purpose. That way, I don't have to worry about them being raped in the bathrooms, or murdered on the playground by some vibrant diversities.

They can learn in peace, knowing some little sprog named Shitavious isn't going to chimp out in the classroom and interrupt everyone else.