Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jay Greene's Update on Effects of Vouchers

Jay Greene, author of "Education Myths, What Special-Interest Groups Want You To Believe About Our Schools - And Why It Isn't So", updates his blog about the systemic effects of vouchers. He has been studying and evaluating the effects of the various voucher programs throughout the country. The article quotes and links several studies about programs in Florida and Milwaukee, with final commentary depicting vouchers in a good light.

The bottom line is that none of the studies of systemic effects from voucher programs finds negative effects on student achievement in public schools from voucher competition. The bulk of the evidence, both from studies of voucher programs and from variation in existing competition among public schools, supports the conclusion that expanding competition improves student achievement.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2009 U.S. Championship Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St.Louis

It is important to support programs that support our schools. On that note, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis will host the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship this May 7-17. The organization offers many chess resources for our local schools, including an in-school chess curriculum and an after-school chess program.

For more information on both the up-coming Championship and how your school can benefit from chess programs check out their website at: www.saintlouischessclub.org. The tickets are FREE, but you must RSVP on the website.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

St. Louis City Could Be in More Trouble

With the economy hurting and the failing schools popping up, why would one city decide to restrict the sale of closed schools? There is no logic in that!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vouchers Students Testing Better Than Others

The US Education Department released a study yesterday, giving voucher proponents a stronger leg to stand on (if they needed one). It found that DC District students who were given a voucher to attend a private school, they outperformed public students on reading tests. Those scores put them about 4 months ahead of the public school students.

The Washington Post
lays out the study findings and how certain elected officials feel about the program. While the article said Obama does not intend to pull students out of the program, but he does not support the continuation.

Since it began, the voucher program has awarded scholarships to more than 3,000 students from low-income families, granting up to $7,500 a year for tuition and other fees at participating schools. This school year, about 1,715 students are participating.

The Bush administration, and many Republicans, have championed the program as a "lifeline" for students in struggling schools.

Supporters hailed the congressionally mandated study as proof the program works. "With concrete evidence in hand that this program is a success, we look forward to reauthorizing it as quickly as possible," Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), the top Republican on the House education committee, said in a statement.

The study, conducted by the Education Department's research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, compared the performance and attitudes of students with scholarships with those of peers who were eligible but weren't chosen in a lottery. Parents of students in the program were more satisfied with their children's new schools and considered the schools safer, the report found. Students showed no difference in their level of satisfaction.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Open Enrollment Bill

According to the Springfield News-Leader, a recent open enrollment bill is being debated in the House. With all the controversy between school choice, vouchers and scholarship tax credits, this bill seems like a great compromise. It would actually allow for parents, with the school boards, to decide if they want to right to choose. As a parent, I would like some decision making power in the way our state delivers education. I would also like the right to choose where my child attends school.

Part of the article is seen below. Notice the line "I'm not claiming this is going to solve all the problems in the schools," said Schoeller, a Republican from Willard. "But it would be an option for parents who feel their children are not getting the education they need."
Enough said. We need to start somewhere to help all the parents who are trapped in watching their children attend failing schools. How can those kids have a fighting chance if their school is failing? How can we sit by and hope someday the school will just fix itself without granting them a chance to get out?!

School transfer bill sparks controversy

Critics argue bill fails to solve issues.

Gregory Trotter • News-Leader • April 2, 2009

A bill allowing parents to send their children to public schools in other districts -- and even private schools --with state funding, stirred debate Wednesday in the House Elections Committee.

Rep. Shane Schoeller presented his open enrollment bill, House Bill 959, saying it would empower parents and provide options beyond failing school districts.

"I'm not claiming this is going to solve all the problems in the schools," said Schoeller, a Republican from Willard. "But it would be an option for parents who feel their children are not getting the education they need."

Under HB 959, school boards could elect to put open enrollment on the ballot. Voters could also petition -- with 100 signatures or 10 percent of registered voters -- to put the issue on the ballot.

If then passed by a two-thirds majority vote, parents could send their children to other districts or private schools.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can We Have a Choice?

Who am I? Well, let's see. First and foremost, I am a mother. No matter what job I ever hold, what activity I ever do, or what hobby I may pick up, I will be a mother first. For me, being a mother means more than having a baby and sending them on their way. My child is my whole life...when I am away from him, I think of him all day long. I look forward to the welcome home hug at the end of the day, and even when this is followed or preceded by the fun toddler tantrums, I still have an overwhelming feeling of love for him. Yes, it is true, it's not all kisses and hugs. There are those times that can drive any parent crazy...and I have had my fair share of those.
Being a parent, you try so hard to make them smile; try so hard to keep them healthy. And as time goes on, you try to do what is best for him/her, even when that means they leave home...even if it's only for kindergarten!

You spend the first several years teaching them to walk and talk, then on to the ABCs and the colors of the rainbow. So much time and thought is investing in developing your child's brain and motor skills. Then what? You send them off to school and hope a teacher can continue on with what you have started. Will they do it right, will they teach him well, will the school be the right fit for him...are all questions a parent might wonder all day long.

As a parent, I feel very strongly that we should be able to decide where our children spend their days and where they develop more of their intellect that will take them through adulthood. The lines that divide up cities should not determine whether my child gets a great education or an average education. Missouri needs to allow parents everywhere that choice.

Open Enrollment Should Be Law