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"Lawmakers Seek to Dismantle School-Choice Scholarship Program for Low-Income Students" from Illinois Policy

on Thursday, 26 April 2018.

It’s evident that too many Illinois students aren’t receiving the education they deserve.

Illinois students’ level of college-readiness trails the national average, despite the fact that per-student education spending in Illinois exceeds many of its higher-performing neighbors and peer states.

But Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson recently offered a hopeful insight. Referring to Chicago’s selective test-in high schools, Jackson said, “We want to see more students going to higher-tier schools, we want to see more diversity in our schools and we want parents and families to be more satisfied with their choices.”

Continue reading "Lawmakers Seek to Dismantle School-Choice Scholarship Program for Low-Income Students" from Illinois Policy.

"Education Reform Suffers When Politicians Put Careers Before Kids" from RealClearEducation

on Thursday, 19 April 2018.

School choice remains a popular concept across the nation. A recent national poll by the American Federation for Children found that 63 percent of likely voters supported school choice. The movement’s next step should involve expanding Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which give parents greater control over how and where their education dollars are spent while also granting them tax savings. 

In the places where ESAs have been implemented families have welcomed greater choice. They are able to use their accounts for many things beyond tuition, including tutoring and supplemental instructional materials. States like Arizona have passed legislation that would implement broad-based ESAs, and smart, forward-thinking ESA legislation remains alive in states like New Hampshire. Surveys in Arizona have found that families using ESAs are very satisfied. 

Continue reading "Education Reform Suffers When Politicians Put Careers Before Kids" from RealClearEducation

"The Next 200 Years: Studying the Long-Term Effects of Catholic-to-Charter 'Conversion'" from EdChoice

on Tuesday, 10 April 2018.

In 2014, Andrew Kelly and I wrote Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next, an examination of 18 formerly Catholic schools that had “converted” (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) into charter schools. With the recent news that the much-vaunted Jubilee Catholic schools in Memphis were looking to pursue the Catholic-to-charter path, I decided to revisit that paper. Where are those schools now? What do we know now that we didn’t know then?

Before I begin, I do want to reiterate a point made in that paper several years ago. We used—and I will use—the term “convert” because there simply isn’t a great term to describe what happened to these schools. Many of those who were affiliated with them as Catholic schools emphasize that when the Catholic school closed, it closed, and a new school opened in its place. We offered terms from the business world like “divesting” to describe what’s happening, but that didn’t necessarily do it justice either. For now, noting that it is a contentious term, we’ll talk about conversion.

Continue reading "The Next 200 Years: Studying the Long-Term Effects of Catholic-to-Charter 'Conversion'" from EdChoice

"The Next 200 Years: When Results Aren’t Enough—the Dollars and Cents of Sustainable Urban Catholic Schools" from EdChoice

on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.

Those who fear the worst about the future of urban Catholic education now believe they are right. Those who felt we had turned a corner were shaken free of any illusions that incremental change will be enough. Everyone has been left on edge. We know that the next few years may well be our last chance to ensure we can continue providing high-quality educational opportunities for generations of students to come.

One of the things that has been so painful about the Jubilee news is that there is no doubt that these schools are worth saving. The “Catholic School Advantage” has been proven time and again, and it’s as strong today as it has been over the past 200 years.

But the harsh truth is that results aren’t enough. If we want to preserve urban Catholic education—particularly in states where we are still fighting for school choice—we need not only great, faith-filled educators, but also savvy fiscal experts and business leaders who can help build sustainable institutions in a fiercely competitive environment.

Continue reading "The Next 200 Years: When Results Aren’t Enough—the Dollars and Cents of Sustainable Urban Catholic Schools" from EdChoice

"Deep-Blue Illinois Leads the Way on School Choice" from RealClearEducation

on Wednesday, 07 March 2018.

Imagine if we had listened to the critics and the naysayers.

Six months ago, few believed meaningful education policy reform in deep-blue Illinois was possible. Springfield was fresh off a bruising political battle over the budget and, amid the dog days of summer, the appetite for another fight was waning. Fortunately, a small group of advocates backed by tens of thousands of parents worked tirelessly to secure a bipartisan solution that expanded high-quality education options for low-income and working-class families of Illinois in the form of tax-credit scholarships.

Continue reading "Deep-Blue Illinois Leads the Way on School Choice" from RealClearEducation