With his nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education, President-elect Donald Trump seems to be making good on his campaign promise to promote school choice.
Trump has proposed a $20 million fund to support school choice for students, namely through charters and vouchers. DeVos, who has no professional experience working in schools, is a vocal proponent of school choice and vouchers. Currently, she chairs the American Federation for Children, which promotes school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney decried President Barack Obama as beholden to the nation’s teachers’ unions and unable to stand up for reform, he glossed over four years of a relationship that has been anything but cozy.
Obama has promoted initiatives that encourage districts to tie teacher evaluations to student performance and to expand the number of charter schools—actions the teacher unions have long been against, and which Romney himself promoted May 23 in a speech in Washington, D.C., outlining his education platform.
He also painted a bleak picture of a country where millions of kids are getting a “third-world education” and whose international standing has fallen far behind, an assertion frequently used by politicians and debated by academics, though the most recent tests show that U.S. student scores haven’t changed significantly and remain about average.…Read More
Charging that American students are getting a “third-world education” under President Barack Obama, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney on May 23 proposed a voucher-style system that could significantly alter the public school system and revive the debate over school choice.
Romney, who has been reluctant to stray far from the economic issues at the core of the presidential campaign, outlined the proposal during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And America’s minority children suffer the most,” Romney declared. “This is the civil-rights issue of our era. And it’s the great challenge of our time.”…Read More
Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable.
He was failing in his neighborhood public elementary school in Indianapolis until his mother enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school. Heather Coffy has scraped by for years to pay the tuition for Delano, now 16 and in a Catholic high school, and his two younger siblings, who attend the same Catholic elementary as their brother did. She’s getting help today from a voucher program, passed last year at the urging of GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, that allows her to use state money for her children’s education.
“I can’t even tell you how easy I can breathe now knowing that for at least for this year my kids can stay at the school,” said the single mother, who filed a petition in court in support of the law. The state Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the law, which provides vouchers worth on average more than $4,000 a year to low- and middle-income families. A family of four making about $60,000 a year qualifies.…Read More
Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were only recently on the brink of closing for lack of pupils.
It’s a scenario public school advocates have long feared: Students fleeing local districts in large numbers, taking with them vital tax dollars that often end up at parochial schools. Opponents say the practice violates the separation of church and state.
In at least one district, public school principals have been pleading with parents not to move their children.…Read More
More states than ever before have considered school vouchers this year, driven by resurgent Republicans who see the lagging economy as an opportunity for a fresh push on one of their most contentious education policies.
As of mid-July, at least 30 states had introduced bills that would use taxpayer dollars to send children to private schools, most limited to poor or special needs children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s compared with nine voucher bills in 2010, just one of which passed—a special needs voucher program in Oklahoma.
And 28 states this year have eyed giving tax breaks to those paying private school tuition bills, which some consider a back-door voucher program.…Read More
The state Department of Education has created a website to help parents figure out how to receive state money to send their children to private school–and whether they qualify, IndyStar reports. The website–www.doe.in .gov/schoolchoice–includes a list of private schools that have signed up to participate in Indiana’s new voucher program. It also includes charts on income eligibility and how much money parents can expect to receive in a voucher…
Indiana’s Republican leadership is pushing ahead with a proposal that would be the nation’s broadest use of school vouchers, allowing even middle-class families to use taxpayer money to send their kids to private schools.
Unlike other systems that are limited to lower-income households, children with special needs or those in failing schools, this one would be open to a much larger pool of students, including those whose parents earn up to $60,000 a year. And within three years, there would be no limit on the number of children who could enroll.
“The goal is to make sure as many kids as possible get choice,” said Robert Enlow, president of the Foundation for Educational Choice, an Indianapolis-based advocacy group pushing for school vouchers.…Read More