By Joy Pullmann • The Federalist
Despite running two-thirds of states and looming fiscal catastrophes for which school choice is one of the few positive solutions, Republicans have mostly created tiny, overregulated choice programs that, consequently, have few significant effects. After decades of opinion polling have continued to find school choice a popular political position, Republicans have finally decided it’s safe for them to proclaim their support for it — without having taken or promising to take steps that actually would realize their rhetoric.
A new example of this tendency is inside the House GOP’s huge “tax reform blueprint” released last week and under consideration currently, more than a year after presidential candidate Donald Trump promised “major tax reform” if he were elected (presumably a signal to legislators to get some bills ready to roll come Inauguration Day, but obviously not). The current proposal would allow tax-advantaged savings accounts, or 529 plans, now only offered for college expenses to also apply to K-12, including private school tuition. Continue reading
By Marcus Winters • National Review
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos likes to point to Florida’s education reforms from the Jeb Bush era as a potential model for expanding school choice. It’s a reasonable place to start given that adoption of these policies in the early 2000s coincided with outstanding educational improvements in the state. Statewide progress on the National Assessment for Educational Progress, a test administered over time by the federal government, has far outstripped that of the nation and nearly all states.
But the new emphasis on Florida has put a target on the state’s back. Two recent pieces, one in the Washington Post, the other in the New York Times, take direct aim at the state’s two expansive school-voucher policies. Both stories seek to highlight the limitations of the school-choice reforms. Neither is convincing. And both are often highly misleading.
In the Post, reporter Emma Brown takes up Florida’s corporate tax-credit program, which offers vouchers worth up to $5,886 for students from households with income below 260 percent of the federal poverty line. Last year nearly 100,000 students used scholarship, or voucher. If it were a school district, it would be about the size of Baltimore’s. Continue reading
Albert, now 9, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the public elementary school he attended in St. Martin Parish struggled to meet his needs. So when his mother learned he might be eligible for Louisiana’s school choice program, she applied. He got in.
Albert is in his second year at Holy Family Catholic School in Lafayette, La. He’s doing so well, his two sisters joined him.
Fuselier tells us the public schools her children attended weren’t awful. They weren’t derelict. They weren’t unsafe. But they were big. The teachers didn’t really know the students. They didn’t have the patience to work with Albert. Continue reading