Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chiming in...

The NY Sun adds it's $0.02 on Obama's voucher stance/slip.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Obama's Voucher Backlash

I pretty much always like reading Joe Williams's Democrats for Education Reform blog and this post on Obama's "scandalizing" voucher moment is a worthy, entertaining read, even though it's a few days old.

Here's some additional analysis on the V-word from Education Week's Campaign K-12.

Welcome Colorado Visitors!

Welcome y bienvenidos to all listeners of Colorado's 1150 AM, where I recently spoke on-air about this blog.

If you are interested in reading about why this blog was founded, you can find out here.

I encourage you to leave comments and feedback on our posts and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at hcreoblog@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

School Choice in Watts

Hispanic Pundit has a posted an excellent video about school reform in Watts - the notoriously troubled section of LA. The video centers on the trials and travails of Locke High School, which you may remember as the center of this 2007 controversy.

As you watch, keep in mind that Locke High School is not the only school in such desperate need for change. Thousands of other schools across the U.S. are in need of similar reforms.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Retrospective: Latino Students After Seven Years of NCLB

Elena Rocha at the Center for American Progress has a new article up: "NCLB and Latinos: No Latino Child Left Behind Matters." She does a good job profiling the Latino education crisis AND speaking on the positive gains that Latino students have made under the accountability-focused NCLB.

And then there's this:

Failure to take immediate action to improve public schooling for Latinos will be detrimental. There isn’t much time to reverse course. Latinos are and will continue to be a significant force in every aspect of American life. Admittedly, constructing a 21st century education system that properly supports Latinos and other minorities, poor children, English language learners, and children with disabilities will require greater commitment and financial investments from federal, state, and local leaders. But continuing on the existing path is not an option.

I don't take issue with her assertion that public schooling for Latinos must improve - it's true, it must. But I have to disagree that "greater commitment and financial investments from federal, state, and local leaders" is going to be the key to improving those public schools. More money does not equal a better education; take DC, for example, which consistently ranks among the lowest in the country on student achievement, yet spends over $13,000 per pupil.

Years of pouring money into our school system has not solved the Latino education crisis - 42% of Latino students still drop out of high school before graduation.

Therefore, I ask: do you want a system that supports all kinds of learners? Where students attend schools that serve their individual educational needs? Where Latino students are consistently successful, because they are learning in a way that suits them?

Give families a choice. Give them school choice.

And best of all: it won't cost us millions of dollars.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Florida's Class Size Reduction Threatens Public School Choice

This fall, Florida's schools will begin to enforce a strict class size reduction policy, decreasing the number of student slots allowed in each classroom, according to the Tampa Tribune.

The policy will reduce the overall number of choice spots that are available in public schools - meaning that parents who apply for inter-district transfers or hardship transfers are more likely to be denied. Unfortunately, this means that low-income families will have even fewer educational options than before.

However, an unintended consequence of this policy may be that more parents end up applying for Florida's CTC scholarships, which provide children with the opportunity to attend a private school. I will definitely be interested to see if applications to this program increase as class size reduction takes effetc.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hispanic CREO's Target States Win Big in Friedman Study

By: Rena Mathena

Hispanic CREO is seeing positive results in our target states, where we are working to empower families with school choice. The Friedman Foundation's latest evaluation of the nation's 21 school choice programs finds that three of our target states have some of the best-ranking school choice programs.

Hispanic CREO's target states of Arizona, Florida, and Ohio all have school choice programs ranking in the top ten positions, with the Florida McKay Scholarship Program for students with disabilities in the number one spot, and Arizona’s Personal Tax Credit Scholarship coming in at number three.

Others in the top ten included Arizona’s Foster Child Vouchers (number 5), Ohio’s Autism Vouchers (number 6) and Educational Choice (EdChoice) Vouchers (number 8), and Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarships (number 10).

This new evaluation, along with other recent articles and reports, is building major momentum in the school choice movement, softening the ground for school choice programs in other states. The movement is likely to gain even more momentum if school choice continues to retain support from Republicans, while growing its support amongst Democrats.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

School Choice Works for Latino Kids!

Apparently, it's been working pretty fantastically since 1998.

If you haven't already read Matthew Ladner's analysis comparing the NAEP performance of Latino students in Florida to those in Arizona, well....hop to it and check out the incredible difference that school choice has made.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snell v. Stern on Instructional Reform

A good article by Lisa Snell came out of Reason Magazine yesterday. It's a response to Sol Stern's (now infamous) criticism of school choice and a detailed analysis of how instructional reform has yielded little impact on the achievement rates of low-income and minority kids. As she notes, good instruction is essential (that's a given), but it is not The Answer to education reform; school choice is still necessary.

Definitely a thought-provoking read.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are Latinos Disenchanted with GOP Policy?

By Guestblogger Rena Mathena

This past Wednesday, the Colorado Confidential posted this article,
“State of U.S. Latinos has Suffered in Bush-led Union, Hispanic Leaders Say,” by Kate Bernuth, explaining the loss of Latino support during President Bush’s second term after noticing that nothing was much better than it had been in 2004, when Bush had 40% of the Hispanic vote, a record number for a GOP candidate.

After all the promises made by Bush during his first term that have yet to be completely accomplished, like reforming the immigration system, providing health care for uninsured Hispanic workers, and improving education opportunities for minorities and low-income families, it’s no wonder why the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Colorado is saying that the GOP will struggle to get a high percentage of the Hispanic vote. After listening to his last State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Bush did not seem to be advocating for his Hispanic voters and he hardly mentioned the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, which he began to improve K-12 public education, especially for minority and low-income students. It almost seemed like he had given up, making it hard for most Latino voters to continue to support the GOP or to have believe that NCLB will continue and improve public education. The one vague promise is his proposed "Pell Grants for Kids" program, which has potential, but also needs to be further "fleshed out" before we can put much faith in it.

Looking at the statistics from 2004, 24% of Latino 16- to 24-year-olds dropped out of high school and only 25% of those who did graduate went directly to college. In 2006, 22.4% of Latino students dropped out of high school, and of those who did graduate, only 30.3% went directly to college. Not much of a difference when looking back on the grand promises of NCLB, implemented by Bush to repair the educational crisis.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Details: Pell Grants for Kids

Like all other cabinet-level departments, the Dept. of Education unveiled its 2009 fiscal year budget yesterday. Here are some details on the much-talked about and controversial Pell Grants for Kids:

  • $300 million has been designated for the program.
  • The scholarships are directed primarily towards minority, low-income students attending low-performing schools.
  • Students receiving the scholarships will have to take national standardized assessments and have their progress tracked (although schools will not be held to NCLB standards).
  • Individual states and LEAs will be able to apply for the grants on a competitive basis.
Latino students are likely to benefit significantly from the program, as they are some of America's students most likely to attend low-performing schools and thus, most likely to receive one of the Pell Grants for Kids.

If yesterday's budget hearing was any indication, this program is sure to incite strong feelings from voucher opponents. At one point, the questions from the audience actually devolved into a rant against Secretary Spellings's aides and their "love of vouchers and NCLB."

Hold on, friends...this is going to be a wild ride.