Friday, January 30, 2015

On education and gradualism

Two articles from NCPA today:

Charter Schools: Doing More with Less Money

January 29, 2015
In honor of School Choice Week, organizations across the country are promoting school choice and explaining how giving parents and students options can allow children to thrive academically. At, Jason Keisling, Nick Gillespie and Lisa Snell have compiled an infographic with some potentially surprising facts about charter schooling:
  • Charters produce more, with less money. In fact, charter schools receive 30 percent less per student than what a typical public school receives, yet they perform better -- for every $1,000 in funds, charter school students perform better on standardized testing -- 16 points higher on reading, and 17 points higher on math.
  • Charter schools have more racial diversity than traditional public schools. Whites make up 52.4 percent of traditional public school students but just 35.6 percent of charter school students.
  • Minority children from low-income families see real academic gains from charter schools. For example, blacks from low-income families attending charter schools receive the equivalent of an additional 7.5 weeks of math instruction and 6.5 weeks of reading instruction.
The Reason report notes that 91 percent of students in New Orleans attend charter schools today. Remarkably, as economist Jared Meyer of Economics21 noted in The Hill, the high school graduation rate in New Orleans has risen from just 54 percent in 2004 to 78 percent today.
Source: Jason Keisling, Nick Gillespie and Lisa Snell, "5 Facts About Charter Schools,", January 28, 2015.


Want to Raise Incomes? Support School Choice

January 29, 2015
Groups across the country are calling for raising the minimum wage, but Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, says they should be focused on another issue: school choice.
School choice, says Furchtgott-Roth, would be a much better way to raise wages, incomes and opportunity for low-income Americans, because it slashes dropout rates, improves academic achievement and ultimately leads to economic gains. For example:
  • Researchers from Harvard University and Columbia University determined that replacing a poor teacher with a merely average teacher would boost a student's lifetime earnings by $14,500.
  • A study from the Brookings Institution and Harvard University found that private school vouchers boosted college enrollment for black students by 24 percent.
Allowing students to attend the schools that work best for them is a better way to improve economic mobility than mandating that employers pay minimum wages. Rather than help low-income workers, minimum wage increases reduce employment and job prospects, especially for teenagers.
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Minimum Wage Advocates Should Support School Choice," Economics21, January 27, 2015.
There are some people who insist on advocating solely for private schools; the immediate and complete abandonment of state funding for education (and health and welfare). These advocates have a role to play. I differ.

There are these word puzzles that go something like, 'change the word class to growl in 5 steps' changing one letter at each step to form a new word (a do-able example if you want to have a crack).

I view societal change in the same manner. Charter schools or vouchers may only be the first or second step but the third won't be reached until those earlier steps are. And change is dynamic. So by the time the 'final' step is reached, a whole new impetus is working for even further change. Especially when technology is transforming the learning environment so rapidly.


tranquil said...

*Very* good post there Lindsay.

I think that if the Nats get re-elected in 2017 then by the time the 2020 election rolls around it would be utter suicide for Labour (purely on ideology grounds) to promise to close all of the charter schools.

The schools would then have had six years to prove themselves and any Labour candidate in an electorate with a charter school would be getting into one hell of a gunfight supporting the closing of it.

The next two elections are just SO crucial to the future of education here.
If the Nats can stay in then charter schools should be able to stay and will make a huge positive difference to education quality.

Anonymous said...

There are some people who insist on advocating solely for private schools; the immediate and complete abandonment of state funding for education (and health and welfare). These advocates have a role to play.

Absolutely. The problem is that you - or ACT - are seen by the mainstream as the "extreme right". Whereas the plain truth of the matter is that your (or ACT's) policies are in fact far to the left of the policies actually pursued by the incumbent governments of every other English-speaking country (the UK, USA, Canada, Australia) and in many respects far to the left even of most EU countries, even including Greece under it's new openly-socialist government.

And in the final analysis, that's the problem with Elanor Catton's griping: not that she shouldn't gripe, or that she's a lefty, but that she's objectively, massively, wrong about the Key-National-ACT government's policies.

The Key-National-ACT government's policies are extreme, but they are extreme left, rather than extreme right!

Tony Abbott; David Cameron; Stephen Harper; even Obama/McConnell/Boehner --- all far, far to the right of John Key and David Seymour!

PS - class / glass / grass / gross / grows / growl.

Anonymous said...

If the Nats get re-elected it's a no-brainer to chartetize all the schools. No brainer and about a page of legislation