Tuesday, July 21, 2009

India's School Choice Movement

India is pushing forward with a school choice campaign. They have noticed an increase in the quality of private schools and a decrease in the quality of the state run public schools. The article, "A Ticket to Better Education" sounds awfully familiar to the state of the education system in the U.S. Interesting...the U.S. is not the only place that seems to pump money into education with no positive upswing.
An excerpt from the Business.com article feels like something I could write about here! I suppose it is reassuring to know that people all around the world are thinking choice is needed.

You advocate school vouchers as part of the campaign. What are the advantages of these vouchers?
We started out four years ago trying to figure out how much money the government spends per child in government schools. No official figures were available. When we did our research, even while taking the official enrolment figures at face value (which are generally fudged), we were surprised by our discovery. The school education system seemed like a black hole where money was being heavily pumped, with no tangible results. With the amount that the government spends per child in cities like Delhi [Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,700] the child could be sent to extremely good schools. This reinforced our faith in the project. "Fund students, not schools," became our slogan to the government.

The vouchers provide not just choice to students but also equality of opportunity. With the vouchers, even poor parents have a choice about which school their children go to. If the parent does not like the school, she can take her child along with the voucher to another school. Under the voucher system, money follows the student. Schools — government or private — to get the voucher, have to compete and satisfy the poor parent. Parents decide and parents choose, not government bureaucracies.

Given their performance-based payment system, vouchers encourage competition among schools, thereby helping to improve the quality of education. We are convinced that the voucher system is the best way to improve the quality of education and bring about greater accountability in the public education system.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Court Says Public Schools to Pay for Private

When a child with special needs is not getting what they require and deserve at their public school, what options do they have? Homeschooling, private school, or simply live with it. However, for many families, these are not easy options to work with. Now the courts are seeing this problem and giving these parents some light at the end of their tunnel.

Court says public must pay for private special ed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled that parents of special education students who opt for private school instead of trying the public system cannot be barred from seeking public reimbursement for their tuition costs.

The court ruled 6-3 Monday in favor of a teenage boy from Oregon whose parents sought to force their local public school district to pay the $5,200 a month it cost to send their son to a private school.

Federal law calls for school districts to reimburse students or their families for education costs when public schools do not have services that address or fulfill the students' needs. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the nation's special education students are entitled to a "free and appropriate public education."

To read the rest of this AP Story, click here

Monday, May 11, 2009

School Choice Rally: Sends Strong Mesage

The strong support for school choice programs is proven in Washington DC. The school choice rally last week was successful and productive. What else can be done to make the message any clearer? Parents and students demand educational options!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Caroline Hoxby To Speak at SLU

Caroline Hoxby, a charter school scholar, will be speaking tonight at St. Louis University through a joint SLU and Show Me Institute speaker's series. She researched charter students in Chicago and New York, comparing their achievement levels to those of district students. Charter schools give great advantages to many students, especially disadvantaged students.
From the St. Louis Post 'The Grade': (click to read entire article)

Charter schools in Chicago, New York better serving disadvantaged students, Hoxby says

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Stanford University Professor Caroline Hoxby is speaking at St. Louis University tonight about her research comparing charter school students to district students in New York and Chicago.

Her talk will focus on what she’s learned from her study of over 100 schools — the biggest study of charter school affects so far, she says — and how charters are teaching educators what works for disadvantaged students in American cities.

The Grade interviewed her last week for a preview of her speech. The following answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Special Child, Special Needs

Here is my story. I am a mother of three wonderful, beautiful, and amazing children. The middle child, Tryce, age 8, has high functioning autism. As any parent of an autistic child knows, they do have different needs than children without autism. For that matter, each one of my children has different needs than the others. Unfortunately, my autistic child needs just a little extra help than my others.
Here is where my ultimate frustration lies: all three children attend the same elementary school, ranging from grades 1st-6th. While not my top pick, is where the invisible lines designate my child's attendance. Tryce is not succeeding here, like I know he can, while my other two are doing wonderfully. Here are my options...move across those district lines and uproot my kids from their school so Tryce can attend a school better fit for him, or stay there and watch while Tryce falls through the cracks. We cannot afford the $30,000 a year for the special needs private school so we are left making this decision.
What kind of education program do we have in this state that will not allow me to choose another school for my child? Does the state government really think they know what is best for my baby? All I ask is for parents be given some choices when it comes to their child's education.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Charter Schools Showing Excellence

In a recent St. Louis Beacon article, charter schools are shown to be productive educational settings, especially the language immersion programs. They are not only getting better grades than in other schools, the the achievement gap is closing.

Charter school boosters try to close the gap

By Robert Joiner, Beacon staff

Posted 7:51 a.m. Tues., Mar. 17 - One of the highest scoring public schools in Missouri is Academie Lafayette, a language immersion charter school in Kansas City. Not only does it outperform other charters and many regular public schools on state assessment exams, Lafayette stands out this year for being the first charter to become a Missouri Gold Star school. These are schools, 15 in all this year, that the state says are performing at a high academic level.

The rest of the article can be viewed at the Beacon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Charter Schools Can Help Open Doors

Charter schools are a great way of expanding options for our children. While I wish there were more options available for special needs children, at least charter schools can give those children more options to look into other than the traditional public schools that may not service their needs.
However, currently, only Kansas City and St. Louis are allowed to have charter schools.