Choice IS On the Run!

When the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) agrees that choice does not improve test scores, will the legislature listen? Their report has discounted not only test scores, but also graduation rates and college entrance as valid measures of the success of the choice movement. The increase in graduation rates for all students, the authors posit, may be due to watered down standards. )The controversy over the trade off between helping students ‘pass’ vs. ensuring students have appropriate skills is not new. Credit retrieval is perhaps simply of another form.) College entrance of choice students does not correlate with college graduates. Students enter college and drop out as documented in other posts in this blog.

What metrics can be used to assess the value of school choice? Short term measures of parent satisfaction are of little use. The authors state: “The most obvious implication is that policy makers must be much more humble in what they believe test scores tell them about the performance of schools of choice”. Let’s hope that such warnings are not simply an excuse to let low performing charters and private schools continue to serve students.

Ed Week summarizes the evidence from the Brookings Institute that education and income are highly correlated, but college graduation rates in the U.S. have stagnated. There is another insight that most, in their hearts, already know. Here’s something to ponder:

“And focusing on the basics, there is clear evidence that great teachers have a impact on students. In fact, being taught by a better teacher for just one year can increase a student’s life time earnings and probability of attending college.”

It comes down to the familiar adage, you get what you pay for! As more and more students opt out of becoming teachers, a new choice will emerge. Put students in front of computers or pay for highly qualified teachers. If the legislature chooses screen time, we already know what the complaints of too much screen time are outside of school. Hmmm, excessive exposure to noise makes people deaf. Will excessive exposure to electronics make them blind??

Posted in Achievement, Public Education, Research studies.

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