There is no end to the strange arguments made to oppose school choice and Ed Hughes, president of the school board in Madison, Wis. has come up with a new one about vouchers.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Hughes weighed in against vouchers by saying, “The issue is whether the state should be subsidizing a private school. We all pay our property taxes for the full range of services the state provides. If I don’t like a state campground, I can’t ask taxpayers to pay for me to stay at Jellystone Park.”
School choice opponents often argue how unique education is, which is why they often say it can’t be compared with anything else (like supermarkets or any other businesses for that matter). So it’s interesting to see, in this case, public education compared with public campgrounds.
The problem is, no one is forced to attend a state park or campground based on their zip code. We all get state park choice.
For what it’s worth, the private Jellystone Park outside Madison actually looks like a lot more fun (putt-putt golf and a swimming pool!) than some of the state parks in the area …
Grade: Needs Improvement
Douglas County and Denver school boards:
There’s progress on the education front in Colorado.
Education reformers in both Douglas County and Denver won re-election in local school board races this month. Board members in Douglas County started the nation’s first district-wide private voucher program and faced a tight race against opponents who planned to roll back school choice. Reformers in Denver won more easily.
Critics contend the reformers were supported by “big money” from out of state, but to be fair, the National Educators Association and its affiliates were putting their own “big money” elsewhere (including $4 million into a statewide ballot initiative to raise taxes and increase per-pupil spending).
Congrats to the reformers.
Gary Rubinstein – Teach For Us
Over at the Teach For Us blog, Gary Rubinstein attacked the idea of the “D.C. NAEP Miracle,” as he called it, after the latest NAEP results were released last week.
Rubinstein posted a chart, created by researcher Matthew Ladner, that showed the top three states in NAEP gains to be big school choice and education reform areas (D.C., Indiana and Tennessee). Ladner shows the biggest gains came from states implementing several different education reforms, including A-F school grades, teacher evaluations, rigorous standards and charter schools.
To attempt to prove Ladner wrong, Rubinstein put the chart “into context.” He examines cumulative scores for students overall (adding up the point totals for the four core NAEP tests), cumulative scores for low-income students, and then the achievement gap between “haves” and “have-nots.”
Cumulative scores show states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, Hawaii and Wyoming at the top, whereas D.C., Indiana, and Tennessee have mixed results (Indiana doing well, Tennessee average and D.C. at the bottom).
But, Rubinstein doesn’t make a single chart looking at gains – an impressive feat given his entire premise is education reform doesn’t improve education. It’s as if he believes education reform must immediately result in states performing No. 1 overall.
Grade: Needs Improvement