Category Archives: Education Savings Accounts

Wisconsin ESA Bill to Help Low-income Gifted Students

To start off the New Year, Wisconsin legislators have introduced an education saving account (ESA) bill for gifted and talented, low-income families in an effort to aid gifted students who are less likely to receive recognition and support. Two-thousand low-income students will have access to an ESA, with a limit of $1,000 that can be used for additional education services. While I fill my piggy bank up with money for candy and Legos, these families will be able to fill their account with tax-exempt funding for AP testing and college courses. There are an estimated three million K-12 students in the U.S. who are considered gifted. While we have a federal savings fund for students with learning disabilities, we lack a savings option for our gifted students. I think it’s time we acknowledge that there are students whose promise is being overlooked and potential underutilized and give them the opportunity to reach their best–Wisconsin’s proposal may prove to be a critical step in doing so. In a recent op-ed published in the Washington Examiner titled Is school choice 2.0 coming?, the authors clearly define how our education system undermines gifted students’ education: “Mass education presents a difficult balance for teachers, […]

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Reality Checked at the Door as Anti-DeVos Rhetoric Reaches a Fever Pitch

In case you weren’t paying attention, something really big happened in the education world two days ago. Betsy DeVos, President-elect Trump’s pick for secretary of education, had her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The hearing was actually supposed to happen earlier this month, but it was delayed “to accommodate the Senate schedule.” In other words, politics happened. But Republican leadership stuck to its word about not allowing Democratic complaints over ethics paperwork to prevent the confirmation process from moving forward, and so DeVos’s hearing went ahead. You can watch the full hearing here if you are so inclined. I’m still waiting for a credible transcript to be released. In the meantime, I’d like to talk a little about the slanted coverage of the hearing I’ve seen. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a confirmation hearing before, but I have. They tend to amount to a whole lot of rhetorical jousting by senators looking to score points against their rivals’ picks, various attempts to force nominees to make (often absurd) commitments, and a cat-like ability to avoid answering trap questions on the part of the nominees themselves. They usually get partisan—and ugly—fast. […]

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Educational Choice, Hell, and the 2018 Gubernatorial Race

Have you ever read a news story that made you simultaneously want to laugh and cry? That’s exactly what happened to me this morning as I perused the day’s edu-news. One of the first articles I ran across was a Chalkbeat Colorado piece on a very interesting development in what is shaping up to be a crowded 2018 gubernatorial field: My dear friend Senator Mike Merrifield is contemplating a run for the highest office in the state. It’s fortunate that I am too young to drink coffee, or I might have spit it all over my computer screen. For those of you don’t know, Senator Merrifield is arguably the most radical anti-reform, anti-choice politician in Colorado. A former music teacher with a deep affinity for the teachers unions, he has loudly and consistently opposed everything from charter schools to private school choice to teacher evaluation and tenure reform. He is perhaps best known for the statement that there “must be a special place in hell” for supporters of charter schools and private school choice. I hope they at least have some decent games to play down there for me and my fellow kid-focused evildoers. And will there be air conditioning […]

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Education Discussions Disappointingly Absent from First Presidential Debate

Yesterday, I posted my wish list for last night’s presidential debate. It was admittedly unrealistic to expect the candidates to address my specific concerns, but I don’t think it was unfair to expect the candidates to talk about how we’re going to improve the situation for the 50 million children in the American K-12 public education system. Even so, I worried aloud yesterday that the candidates might completely ignore what I think is the most important domestic policy conversation in the United States. Sadly, those concerns turned out to be well founded. If you missed last night’s debate, you can watch the whole thing here. If you’re more the reading type, you can check out the transcript here. Or, if you value your time and sanity, I can sum up the entire event with the following GIF: via GIPHY There were many things about last night that I found disheartening. Chief among these was the near-total refusal to speak about K-12 education or acknowledge the power of education to help solve many of the problems the candidates were asked to address last night.

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New Report Reviews Research on Educational Choice

I know this isn’t a “cool” thing to say, but I get really excited about new research. I eat up statistical analyses like most people eat donuts (I eat those, as well). But do you know what is way more exciting than a single new study on a fascinating education topic? A review of a whole bunch of tasty research. Enter the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s new edition of “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” Written by Dr. Greg Forster, these reports are a great way to stay up to date with the latest research on educational choice. The last report was published in 2013, so this new edition brings a bunch of new information to the table.

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