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Educational Freedom Isn’t a Threat to Democracy

Education Next – Corey DeAngelis and Patrick J. Wolf

“Horace Mann – often called the father of traditional American public schooling – just celebrated his 222nd birthday. While Mann has been gone from this Earth for quite a long time, his thoughts on the intersection between common schools and democratic ideals continue to hold strong today. Because traditional public schools are supposed to teach children how to become proper American citizens, critics of private school choice believe that school vouchers “undermine our democracy.” But recent evidence should curb that concern.” (more)

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Commentary: 40 Percent of NYC Kindergarten Kids Go to a School Their Parents Chose. More Families Need That Option

The 74 Million – Darla M. Romfo

“A new report from The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School finds that 40 percent of city kindergarten students attend a school other than the one to which they are geographically assigned — up from 28 percent a decade ago. A growing number of parents are taking their children’s education into their own hands, and that is good news. We should embrace and encourage more and better choices in education so even more families are empowered to find the schools that work best for their children.” (more)

Strengthening the Roots of the Charter-School Movement

Education Next – Derrell Bradford

“Over the past quarter century, charter schools have taken firm root in the American education landscape. What started with a few Minnesota schools in the early 1990s has burgeoned into a nationwide phenomenon, with nearly 7,000 charter schools serving more than three million students in 43 states and the nation’s capital.” (more)

What Counts as School Choice in New Study of Short- and Long-Term Outcomes?

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“The AEI paper focuses on a specific question: Is there is a disconnect for school choice programs when it comes to their impact on student test scores versus their impact on student attainment outcomes, namely high school graduation, college entrance, and college graduation rates? It claims to find such a disconnect. As the authors put it, “A school choice program’s impact on test scores is a weak predictor of its impacts on longer-term outcomes.” But read the fine print because this conclusion follows from two big decisions the authors made, both of which are highly debatable. Had they gone the other way, the results would show an overwhelmingly positive relationship between short-term test score changes and long-term outcomes.” (more)

Vouchers Tend to Serve the Less Advantaged

Education Next – Corey DeAngelis

“Earlier this month, Education Next hosted a forum on the research concerning private-school choice. One of the topics discussed was the question of who participates in these programs. Patrick Wolf explained that “private-school-choice programs disproportionately attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” noting that the choice participants are “considerably more likely to be low-income, lower-achieving, and African American, and much less likely to be white, as compared to the average public-school student in their area.” By contrast, Douglas Harris claimed, “Even when limited to low-income populations, though, vouchers tend to serve a socioeconomically advantaged portion” of the eligible student population.” (more)