Tag Archives: changes

Dangers in D.C. Public Schools Strengthen Case to Save Vouchers

I like feeling safe. My parents like knowing I’m reasonably safe from all kinds of violence when I go to school, too. A lot of times where we live, we can take that kind of school safety for granted. But as a new report co-produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Lexington Institute (PDF) chronicles the dangers many students face in D.C. Public Schools and the need for greater choice: In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 11.3 percent of D.C. high school students reported being “threatened or injured” with a weapon while on school property during the previous year—a rate well above the national average…. The data reveal that during the 2007–2008 school year, police responded to more than 900 calls to 911 reporting violent incidents at the addresses of D.C. public schools and more than 1,300 events concerning property crimes. The data reveal a wide variance in the locations of these reported incidents. Some public schools with high rates of 911 calls are located within high-crime neighborhoods. In addition, while one should use these data with care when comparing the relative safety of public, charter, and private schools, this data set shows that a drastically higher […]

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Overhaul Detroit Schools without Giving Health Insurance to Dead People

It’s Friday. What better time to kick an institution that’s down, and deservedly so? If anyone is taking nominees for an American school district to tear down and start over the education system from scratch, I vote for the Detroit Public Schools. Anyone with me? The district’s well-documented failures and financial deficits are exacerbated by the latest findings of far-reaching corruption. The Detroit Free Press reports today about what was found in a pair of audits of Detroit Public Schools (H/T Intercepts): Among the findings: 160 outdated BlackBerrys, 11 motorcycles, 97 two-way phones and 50 handheld radios sat unused. One audit also showed that 411 people — including some who are dead — were receiving health insurance even though they weren’t eligible. Ending those benefits will save the district an immediate $2.1 million, [emergency financial manager Robert] Bobb said. Health insurance for dead people? To cover future embalming needs? Protection money from grave robbers? If we take away their benefits, will they be added to the rolls of Americans without health insurance? Unbelievable stuff. Do you see what I mean?

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Michelle Rhee Helping to Inspire My Radical Education Reform Side

I am bummed. Not only did school not get canceled today, but I also missed my chance to see Washington DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee. She was in Denver last night. (Follow that link to read the story and watch a video of her.) Where was I, you ask? Getting a long timeout and an early bedtime for excessive Lego-throwing. That made me even angrier, because Michelle Rhee is one of those few education leaders willing to take on a real fight to help make a difference for kids. Don’t believe me? Look at the article by Jeremy Meyer in the Denver Post: “We have public schools so that every kid can have an equal shot in life,” Rhee said. “That is not the reality for children in Washington, D.C., today or many children in urban cities today. That is the biggest social injustice imaginable.” Rhee said radical changes are necessary. “Unless we do something massive about this right now, unless we are willing to turn the system on its head . . . then all of the ideals of this country are actually hollow,” she said. Not that I agree with everything Rhee has to say, but it is […]

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School Choice Vital, But Only Part of, Effective Education Reform Package

I just wanted to leave you with a quick reading assignment before the weekend comes. Writing over at National Review, Dan Lips from the Heritage Foundation says conservatives can’t give up on fighting for school choice but also need to focus their agenda broadly on a range of effective changes to the education system: First, principled support for aggressive reforms like vouchers has cleared a space for the types of reform policies that leaders like [Washington DC schools chancellor Michelle] Rhee are advocating. And, second, when it comes to systemic reform, conservatives have a broad agenda of policies that strengthen public education — and the results to prove it. Education reformers from across the political spectrum should give thanks to those who have spent decades promoting school choice. These efforts have yielded only modest (but increasing) enactment of voucher programs. But they have created political breathing room for less aggressive reforms — such as public school choice and teacher merit pay. Fordham’s Eric Osberg praises Dan’s article, adding: Of course we’ve said for years that choice and accountability go hand-in-hand, but also that such reforms to the structure of schooling have to be accompanied by changes in how schools and […]

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