Kira Davis writes of the moment she became a school choice supporter forever. As director of a Gary, Indiana after-school program, she watched fellow African-American parents sit in an auditorium for a charter school lottery. More children had applied to attend a public charter school than the school had space for, so the children were selected at random through a lottery. Davis writes:
Naturally, when all the names had been called many parents and guardians who didn’t hear their student’s name were visibly upset. One elderly lady who knew me from our program touched my arm. She was weeping.
“Is there anything you can do? We need this. My grandson needs this so much! I can’t send him back to that school! Isn’t there anything you can do?”
… Knowing this woman was raising multiple grandchildren alone and on a pension, I was torn up for her plight. At that moment she saw this new charter school as the only chance her student had at a decent and stable education. That was the moment I became staunchly and forever pro-school choice. It wasn’t fair that these parents had to depend on the luck of the draw to escape their failing schools, while parents in wealthier areas, and (forgive me) whiter areas had much more palatable public options.
Davis goes on to call out NAACP for opposing school choice. The advocacy organization has recently drawn up a resolution it’s considering that calls for a nationwide ban on opening new charter schools. It has long opposed school vouchers also, even though either majorities or pluralities of African-Americans support both charters and vouchers when polled.
A number of other black leaders have recently criticized NAACP and Black Lives Matter for opposing school choice, including a coalition of 160 charter-school supporters and a former Black Lives Matter leader from Saint Paul who quit his post over the disagreement.
“Our public education system has people who are sometimes literally dying for the lack of educational opportunity. And when I think of charter schools in my community here in St. Paul and their benefit to students of color – low-income students – to call for a moratorium or an end to charter schools just lets me know that something funny is going on,” Rashid Turner told The74, a progressive education-focused website.
SOURCES: Forbes, The Federalist, The74
IN THIS ISSUE:
- JOHN KING: The U.S. education secretary criticized homeschooling at a recent breakfast, saying he worried homeschooled kids don’t have all the same options as public-schooled kids.
- PUBLIC OPINION: Two new long-term polls update trendlines on the public’s support for school choice. Among other things, they find people support choice more when it’s available to them and when they know more about it.
- TEACHER FREEDOM: Greg Forster explains in detail how school choice leaves teachers free to teach, reduces classroom conflicts and discipline problems, and gets politics out of schools.
- DISCIPLINE: Parents should have the ability to choose schools depending on their style of student discipline, among other considerations such as academics, climate, and proximity, says J.D. Tuccille.
- FLORIDA: Read the history of how private schools battled racial segregation in Florida against a state superintendent who fought their efforts and oversaw “separate but equal” public schools.
- MASSACHUSETTS: Unions are pouring millions into a campaign against a ballot question that would allow up to 12 more charter schools to open each year in the state, as 32,000 children sit on charter waiting lists. A new poll finds 52 percent of likely Massachusetts voters support expanding charters.
- TESTS: Mercedes Schneider sifts through loads of proposals submitted by testing companies to federally funded Common Core testing group PARCC, finding that one option is to blend the two federally funded tests, PARCC and SBAC. Another proposal would sell questions to states in such a way that these two colonize tests under other names.
- MARYLAND: This spring’s Common Core test scores are finally out at the district level, and they show no overall improvement over last year, with half of students failing to score at or above grade level.
- ALABAMA: A state senator says public schools are losing students to private schools because of Common Core.
- NEVADA: Common Core test results from this spring are finally on their way to teachers, students, and parents this week.
- MONTANA: The state has approved new, subpar science curriculum mandates in all grades.
- AP: The U.S. Department of Education has sent $28.4 million in subsidies for poor students to take Advanced Placement tests, even though research shows giving students these tests does not help them learn more.
- SCREENS: A cognitive scientist takes The New York Times to task for publishing irresponsible claims that smartphone, tablet, computer, and television screens are addicting “like heroin.”
- SAT: College Board President David Coleman responds to a series of concerns about his new SAT, which include reports showing the math questions are so wordy they’re more of a language test that disadvantages needier students and that testing security has been questionable.
- DATA PRIVACY: Fewer states passed student data privacy laws in 2016 than in 2014, when the issue first became prominent, finds a new review.
- HIGHER EDUCATION: Nearly half of college students nowadays are “nontraditional students” – adults coming back for a new path to a second career. And The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education have released a different set of college rankings that focus more on outcomes than inputs.
- ENTITLEMENTS: The Obama administration has expanded a loan forgiveness program in which increasing numbers of college students are sticking taxpayers with billions more than projected as long as they work for government or nonprofit organizations.
- GRADE DIVISIONS: Schools that span wider ranges of grade levels have less bullying and better academic achievement, finds a new study.
- CALIFORNIA: A teacher who mispronounces a student’s name is committing a “microaggression” that can lead to student distress and poor academic performance, says a new campaign.
Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online at https://www.heartland.org/topics/education.