Growth Slowing in Statewide Voucher Programs

payoffVoucher programs, funded directly by states for private school tuition, are yet another form of school choice.  Vouchers are now unconstitutional in Florida which was the first state to implement them. They were replaced by corporate tax credit scholarships.  In spite of the state supreme court decision, vouchers for students with disabilities have not been challenged in court.

North Carolina’s vouchers are under appeal.  New York’s legislature is currently battling over whether to fund forms of vouchers and tax credits.   The legal basis for vouchers varies due to differences in wording in state constitutions.  Florida’s constitution Bush vs Holmes clearly specified that funds must go to public schools.  A similar argument is being made in North Carolina.

The Center for Evaluation in Education Policy at Indiana University reports on private school vouchers in the four states that offer them for general education students.  These are new, rapidly growing programs that now may be slowing.  How they differ is instructive.

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Charters: Public, Private, Both: An Auditor’s View

Dave Yost

Dave Yost

Can you make a cogent argument about which regulations are needed and which inhibit a flexible, innovative school system?  It is not an esoteric topic.  With the plethora of examples of charter school fraud, waste and abuse, we know something is not working right.  What changes should be made?

Ohio’s Auditor of State, Dave Yost, has been doing some serious thinking.  He is concerned about which aspects of charter school operations are subject to public entity law and which relate to laws governing private companies.  It makes a difference in what information is subject to public disclosure.  The criteria for ethical behavior differ as well.  Charters are both public and private.  Which set of rules apply?

This piece is not a polemic.  It is a thoughtful article by a fiscal conservative who believes in small government.  He is concerned about preserving the public interest when contracting with private entities for services like schools and prisons.  It is a thorny problem we all need to ponder.

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Sweeping the Money Under the Rug?

Remember the post on  Profit Trumps Public Interest?  It was the one the National Council of State Legislatures put out on for-profit education management companies.  We discovered that National Heritage Academies had some serious problems.   Propublica published a follow-up article on the for-profit National Heritage Academies.

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Where Does the Money Go?

The Michigan State Board of Education has now asked the legislature to outlaw “sweep contracts” to for-profit companies, but the legislator did not listen.   Continue reading

A Time and a Reason for Hope

Do you have times when you wonder if it is possible to change minds and find a better way?  Today I think it is possible.  I read a post sent to Diane Ravitch from Stephen Dyer, a policy analyst in Ohio.  He went to hear Macke Raymond from the Hoover Institute at Stanford explain her study of charter schools.  Near the end of her speech she is quoted as saying that education “is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just does not work…”  Competition does not drive improvement in education.Continue reading

What is the Unkindest Cut of All?

Charters and traditional public schools are claiming that their funding allocations are inadequate and unfair.budget

 

Given the massive cuts in education funding, their claims are not trivial.  Their arguments, however, are different. Judges are ruling differently as well.  Based on information reported by Education Justice, a  program of the New Jersey based Education Law Center, and Access, a research institute at Columbia University, charters want facilities and traditional public schools seek fairness.Continue reading