Mitt Romney unveiled his education plan on Wednesday, grabbing headlines and getting the education-policy community buzzing. While noting that Governor Romney’s proposal is a “good start,” Mike Petrilli wrote on Flypaper that the plan risks “replacing federal overreach on accountability with federal overreach.” For more analysis on this issue, watch Mike’s WSJ.com interview:
It’s hard to get past the New York Times’s animus toward anything “private” or profit-seeking in the realm of K-12 education, particularly when investigative reporter Stephanie Saul applies her own biased and acidic pen to the topic. And Tuesday’s interminable “expose” of state-level tax-credit scholarship programs certainly deepens one’s impression that the writer (and, presumably, her editors) is in love with anything that smacks of “public dollars” or “public schools” and at war with anything that might be seen as diverting even a penny from state coffers into the hands of parents to educate their kids at schools of their choice. Never mind whether the public schools they are exiting are good or bad, nor whether the dollars being spent by those schools are well targeted on high-quality instruction or frittered away on over-generous benefits for underemployed custodians and their retired pals.
Tax-credit scholarship programs must be well designed and monitored or more "exposes" over how dollars are distributed will follow.
Photo by Images Money.
Having gotten that out of the way, it’s also worth learning that while some of these state programs (especially Florida’s) are models of sound policy, efficient administration, and careful targeting of available resources, some others appear to be burdened by
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's ambitious school reform plan includes many bold changes to how education works in that city, including the creation of a "Transformation Alliance" empowered to veto proposed start-up charter schools that don’t meet its standards for quality. Today, on the Ohio Gadfly Daily blog, Fordham VP for Ohio Policy and Programs Terry Ryan announced that the organization would be willing to pilot a vetting process led by the Transformation Alliance.
we have doubts about the proposed Transformation Alliance and the scope of its authority, we fully understand, appreciate, and share Mayor Jackson’s frustration with the current system of charter school quality control in his city, and indeed across the state. We believe the charter community has a responsibility to offer the mayor and the city of Cleveland a workable solution to a real problem.
As a result,
Fordham—which expects to authorize one school in Cleveland in 2012-13—would willingly be the first to go through a vetting process led by the Transformation Alliance. We would see this as an opportunity to partner with the mayor and the Cleveland school district in working to create more and better school options for children and families who badly need them. Maybe together we can help Cleveland reverse its decline, while giving children and families better school choices.
Be sure to give the full post a read.
Rumor has it that we will soon see an actual education plan from Mitt Romney, his team having been loath to wade into this debate during the primaries. I predict that it’ll include a strong push for vouchers, if only because this remains the clearest divide between the GOP view of education and the reform agenda of Arne Duncan and the Obama administration.
Most other distinctions are grayer today, involving degrees of difference about things like teacher evaluations, “common core” standards, and just how much discretion Washington should return to states.
Short of plain goofiness, vouchers are where bright lines get drawn.
Short of plain goofiness (as in “abolish the Department of Education”), vouchers are where bright lines get drawn. The conventional explanation is that Democrats don’t dare cross this threshold lest the teacher unions (already antsy about charters, merit pay, test-based accountability, etc.) forsake their traditional party—or simply sit on their hands come campaign season and election day, while Republicans tend to take the side of parents and don’t much care what the unions—or other parts of the education establishment—think or do.
It feels and acts like a political line—witness the political football known as the D.C. voucher program—yet not so many years ago this was primarily a split over platform language, and party positioning because vouchers were all but nonexistent. (For ages, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and a few wee towns in northern New England were the only places you could actually
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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