America's public schools are starting to resemble war zones.
Lance Izumi | All Articles
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Lance Izumi is Koret senior fellow and senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute and author of the recent study “Not as Good as You Think: Why Middle-Class Parents in Michigan Should Be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools.”
Typically, school choice advocates rely on school and student performance data to show that public schools are academically failing or underperforming compared to other schooling options.
During the week of January 22-28, we mark National School Choice Week and efforts to empower parents to choose the best public or private education option for their children.
The politically motivated scramble of liberal "gotcha" journalists to accuse Donald Trump Jr. of cribbing verbiage in his convention speech, which subsequently exploded in their collective faces, unfortunately obscured Mr. Trump’s incisive points on the deplorable state of government-run education and the need to empower parents.
During this week's much-anticipated oral arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association U.S. Supreme Court case, which challenges mandatory teacher-union fees, a critical exchange took place between Justice Antonin Scalia, who is viewed as the swing vote in the case, and the attorney representing the State of California.
With a landmark stroke of his pen, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently signed legislation establishing the nation’s first statewide school-choice education-savings-account program available to all parents, regardless of their income level. With new studies showing widespread underperformance among middle-class children across the country, other states should implement similar programs immediately.
In a recent column, David Brooks, who fills the center-right slot on the New York Times opinion page, asserts that the Obama administration’s education agenda adheres to a “measured vision of a limited but energetic government.” Citing the president’s $4.5 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) education-funding program, Mr. Brooks argues that the administration “has used federal power to incite reform, without dictating it from the top.”
A recent lengthy New York Times article on charter schools, which are deregulated publicly funded schools of choice, came to the conclusion that the record of these schools was mixed, with some charters doing better than regular public schools, while others perform about the same or worse. That’s no surprise since even supporters acknowledge that there are good and bad charters. The real story that the Times overlooked is the ability of charter schools to use their freedom in order to transform themselves if they are not performing well.
President Obama has extended federal control over health care and is now trying to centralize education policy by imposing Washington’s dictates on states and local jurisdictions. Though aimed at improvement, the president’s agenda will weaken strong state standards, set in motion a domino effect of education nationalization, and marginalize ordinary Americans.