Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vouchers may harm student learning + Welcome to new Congress | Parents Across America

Vouchers may harm student learning | Parents Across America:
Vouchers may harm student learning 

We included the following message in today’s fax message to Congress. A pdf version of this information is here: voucherstudies3-17:
Parents Across America (PAA) is very concerned that, in his speech to Congress last night, President Trump renewed his call to spend millions of federal education dollars on school vouchers. His Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, is also a strong voucher proponent.
PAA opposes voucher programs because they redirect scarce money away from our public school system, may cross constitutional lines separating church and state, and – most importantly – have a poor-to-mixed overall academic track record.
A number of new studies paint an especially dismal picture of voucher programs. According to a recent LA Times article, multiple studies of Louisiana’s voucher program found that
  • Students lost ground in their first two years in the program. Those performing at average levels in math and reading — that is, at about the 50th percentile — fell 24 percentile points in math and eight points in reading after their first year in the program.
  • Participation in the program “substantially reduces academic achievement.”
  • Voucher students “have fared worse academically compared to their closely matched peers attending public schools…. Such impacts also appear to persist over time, suggesting that the results are not driven simply by the setbacks that typically accompany any change of school.”
The Times also reports on the voucher program in Indiana, which former governor, now Vice President, Mike Pence, strongly promoted:
  • Two researchers from Notre Dame have found that “voucher students who transfer to private schools experiencesignificant losses in mathematics achievement” and no improvement in English compared to their records at their former public schools.
One researcher summed things up in this way, “In (DeVos’s) rhetoric, it’s the creation of market mechanisms that are the important thing to promote. This research does not support that view. In fact, it may support the idea that that approach is harmful to student learning.”Vouchers may harm student learning | Parents Across America:

Save the date: Next book club meeting March 26
Next PAA Book Club meeting set Save the date – March 26 – for PAA’s next book club meeting in our series on “The Impact of Poverty and Race on Educational Opportunity.” We’re going to discuss antiracist author Tim Wise’s “White Like 

 Welcome to new Congress

PAA traditionally sends a letter to every new Congress to introduce ourselves and share our vision for public education. We’re finally getting around to it this year, a bit late but certainly in time to address the debacle of the Trump-DeVos “parent town hall” a week ago, to which only one public school parent was 

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