Welcome, New Readers!

Published June 1, 2005

If this is your first issue of School Reform News, you are probably one of the 29,900 mayors, city council members, public school board presidents, and private school principals added to the complimentary mailing list for School Reform News. Our total circulation now stands at 72,000.

School Reform News is a one-stop shop for the latest developments on Capitol Hill, in the states, and in individual cities where reform has been implemented or may soon be.

Who should care about school reform? In a word, everyone.

A good education is the key to a successful and productive life. Yet the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports American students are lagging far behind those in other industrialized nations in reading and math skills. The nation’s colleges report incoming freshmen are woefully unprepared for rigorous university courses, and the nation’s business leaders report new graduates are as badly prepared for the realities of the workplace.

Educators of all stripes agree we have a problem that only a fundamental reform will solve. How to achieve that reform is a far more contentious matter. That’s where School Reform News comes in.

This is your paper of record for the growing national movement for school reform, particularly reforms that involve parental choice: vouchers, tax credits, charters, and homeschooling. We report on cutting-edge research and timely developments while delivering high-quality opinion pieces from some of the top minds in the field. And our feature stories will help you get to know some of the movement’s movers and shakers.

A large and growing amount of objective evidence shows the following:

Choice is good for students and their parents. Multiple independent studies of voucher programs nationwide have shown school choice improves students’ performance on standardized tests, and no studies have shown a negative relationship between choice and academic achievement.

Choice is good for public schools. Despite fears of private school vouchers draining funds away from public schools, studies have shown the opposite to be true: Vouchers leave more money on the table for public schools to use to educate fewer students. Also, studies have shown public schools that must compete for students on playing fields leveled by vouchers improve their performance, resulting in better education for all students.

Choice is good politics. Polls reveal the majority of Americans, regardless of their race, party affiliation, or income level, support school choice. Studies show choice results in classrooms more racially integrated than those in most public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled school choice programs in Cleveland and Minnesota are constitutional, and well-designed voucher programs satisfy the First Amendment.

So, once again, welcome to School Reform News, and thanks for reading. If you have questions or suggestions for stories you’d like to see covered in future issues, please feel free to drop me a line–I’m here for you. Enjoy!

Karla Dial ([email protected]) is managing editor of School Reform News.