Friday, January 27, 2017

What taxpayers should know about the cost of school choice - The Washington Post

What taxpayers should know about the cost of school choice - The Washington Post:

What taxpayers should know about the cost of school choice



School choice proponents often attack their critics by saying that anyone who doesn’t support choice programs — charter schools, voucher programs, tax scholarship credits — love the status quo and don’t care that children are trapped in failing traditional public schools.
So let’s stipulate from the start:
*There are some perfectly awful publicly funded traditional public schools and some severely troubled districts, especially in America’s cities. Kids shouldn’t be trapped in them.
*There are some great charter schools, which are publicly funded but run privately, some of them by for-profit companies. In some cities, some charters provide better experiences than the traditional public school.
*All choice supporters aren’t interested in destroying the traditional public system, and no supporter of the traditional public system that I have ever heard of thinks the traditional schools don’t need improvement.
Now let’s move on.
School choice proponents say that the programs they support do a better job of educating students and that parents have a right to choose the schools they want for their children. Some choice supporters have voiced support for more oversight of charter schools, but the overall thrust of the movement is for expansion of choice, not oversight.
Critics say that charter and voucher schools do not do a better job than traditional schools overall, that they reduce resources traditional districts need to improve and educate the vast majority of America’s schoolchildren who attend them, that they are not held to the same standards as traditional schools and that they are not accountable to the public.
President Trump has promised to expand school choice — and the Republican-led Congress wants to do the same. Trump has nominated a choice advocate, Betsy DeVos, as his education secretary, who is seen by critics as seeking to privatize public education, though her supporters say she isn’t.
This is School Choice Week, a time when organizations that promote charter schools and/or vouchers and/or tax scholarship credits stage literally thousands of rallies (21,392 to be exact, according to the week’s own website) across the country to let Americans know how great school choice programs are. Do not expect to hear, at any of these, about this:
Federal agents raided the offices of a network of Los Angeles charter schools Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of fraud and fiscal mismanagement. The charter organization, Celerity Educational Group, opened its first L.A. school more than a decade ago, but it has recently drawn the scrutiny of the inspector general of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the U.S. 
What taxpayers should know about the cost of school choice - The Washington Post:



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