Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Traditional public schools educate 90 percent of America’s kids — let’s not make our educational system more unequal than it is already - The Hechinger Report

Traditional public schools educate 90 percent of America’s kids — let’s not make our educational system more unequal than it is already - The Hechinger Report:

Traditional public schools educate 90 percent of America’s kids — let’s not make our educational system more unequal than it is already
An argument against competition via private school choice and vouchers


Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump say that the solution to persistent inequality in educational opportunity is to provide parents with more choices.
They support vouchers that would allow public funds to be spent on private schools – even those with religious orientations – and charter schools, which are frequently run by private corporations.
Charter schools are public schools because they are funded through tax revenues. But these schools are often not answerable to local taxpayers and lack public accountability.
Vouchers use tax revenues to provide students and their families with funds that can be used at private and in some cases parochial schools. They have even less accountability.
Experience with voucher programs suggests that students with middle and upper class backgrounds are more likely to benefit from these programs than those who live in poverty.
Such outcomes remind us that we need to keep the needs of all children in mind when we craft educational policy. Traditional public schools educate 90 percent of the kids in America. Does it really make sense to pursue policies that will make our educational system more unequal than it already is?
Given the controversy over DeVos’ appointment as Secretary of Education, and the relatively small amount (typically around 8 percent) of educational funding coming from the federal government, some have wondered whether we might be better off without a federal Department of Education.
While doing away with such a controversial department might seem prudent, the truth is, educational opportunity for poor children would be even more limited without it.
The department oversees programs that provide much-needed funding for schools serving our poorest kids, such as Title I, which was first established in 1965 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and was a key component in President Johnson’s War on Poverty, as well as special education programs through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and English language instructional support.
In addition, the Department of Education provides funding for postsecondary education, in the form of Pell grants for the poorest students, funds for work-study and student loans. Given the size and Traditional public schools educate 90 percent of America’s kids — let’s not make our educational system more unequal than it is already - The Hechinger Report:


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