The best school choice? Traditional public schools | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The best school choice? Traditional public schools

Posted By on Sun, Dec 18, 2016 at 9:24 AM

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Dianne Ravitch points me to new research and a book from Stanford University that puts the lie to "school choice" propaganda just as a devoted public school enemy, Betsy DeVos, is about to become Donald Trump's secretary of education.

From a Stanford release:

In the midst of the ongoing debate and a potential shift in the U.S. approach to education, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) is pleased to introduce new research-based evidence and analysis that supports investment in public schools as a better alternative than the privatization of education.

...SCOPE’s work addresses the question of how results from public investment approaches compare with those from market-based reforms and provides a timely explanation of alternatives based on real evidence derived from policy analysis and actual outcomes in six different countries. In this project, SCOPE has designed and implemented a set of accessible information resources designed to inform the different constituencies involved in this important debate.

The book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, with a set of supporting infographics, videos, and research briefs, provides hard evidence supporting investment in pubic schools. Researchers thoroughly investigated the results of experiments with education in Chile, Sweden, and the U.S. and compared their educational outcomes with those of nearby countries with similar economic and social conditions: Cuba, Finland, and Canada (Ontario). At the national levels in Sweden, the U.S., and Chile, market, charter, or voucher systems are associated with greater disparities and lower student outcomes on international tests.
The Walton Foundation lackeys at their university in Fayetteville and their shills at the Arkansas Capitol will issue disputations of this shortly, I presume.

But Arkansas is not a part of the fact-based universe. Just last week, the supposed "experts" of the Arkansas Education Department recommended continuation of a charter school permit for a charter school that doesn't approach Little Rock public schools when measured by test scores of elementary students.  This followed a similar decision on a mediocre-scoring Jacksonville charter school. But the state has taken over the entire Little Rock School District and shows no sign of letting go, no matter how well schools packed with poor children do compared with "charter schools" and no matter how happy parents in those schools are. Parent happiness seemed to be a key reason the Little Rock Prep Academy, a Walton Foundation money beneficiary, got approval for its continued operation.

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