Tag Archives: regulations

Why Effective Education Reform Often Is So Hard: Pueblo Edition

Yesterday’s Pueblo Chieftain featured a very telling story of why serious education reform cannot simply be entrusted to the good will of local school bureaucrats. Not that they aren’t necessarily trustworthy, because most of them certainly are. But the prevailing number of federal and state regulations, added on top of the provisions negotiated into the master union contract, have stacked incentives in favor of pleas for more money to help get them out. See what I mean: Local school administrators are well aware of the attempts by districts around the country to find ways to reward teachers and give them incentives to do better but it’s not something that can be done without also finding ways to pay for it. Kathy West, interim superintendent of Pueblo City Schools, said that there are indications that new federal programs will be coming soon to help cash-strapped districts like Pueblo’s do that. But for the time being the district remains with its narrowly worded contract and pay scale that bases salaries on years worked, degrees and training earned and on annual across-the-board pay increases. “It’s just too hard….” In other words, labor peace trumps teacher quality.

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Politicians Attacking Successful, Locally-Supported DC Choice Program

I may get the occasional snarky comment from people who don’t like school choice, but don’t feel bad for me. Instead, get angry about the kids in Washington DC who are in the middle of a political tug-of-war over their Opportunity Scholarships and educational futures. Why get angry? [Illinois Democrat] Senator [Dick] Durbin was busy introducing new, onerous regulations on the program in an appropriations bill last week. In particular, his measures would require participating private schools to take the DC public school test rather than a nationally-normed standardized test, even though they may not have the same curriculum as DCPS. His measures would also require the Secretary of Education to prohibit voucher students from attending any private school that was not deemed “superior” to DC public schools.

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Sneaky Anti-School Choice Empire Strikes Back at Milwaukee

When it comes to school choice, have no fear: if given a chance, the Empire will strike back. Most recently they have honed their targets on Milwaukee, the granddaddy of modern voucher programs. The threat looms large. As the editors of the Wall Street Journal explain, Wisconsin lawmakers have hit participating private schools with a double whammy: funding cuts (they already receive less than half as much per student as do traditional public schools) and new bureaucratic mandates. The best news that can be said, at least according to the Education Gadfly, is that the regulations could have been worse. Those nasty Wisconsin lawmakers must have figured that if it’s too risky to try to cut back vouchers outright, they might as well play around with the money and the rules. Very sneaky of them.

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Colorado, Don't Get Any Ideas about Virtual Education from Florida's SB 1676

I’m kind of leery about even writing this here, afraid it might give some Colorado lawmakers a bad idea. But consider it a note of caution. Apparently, the Florida legislature is trying to put the clamps down on the state’s successful online public school program. So writes Bill Tucker at The Quick & The Ed about SB 1676 and its impact on the Florida Virtual School: The bill would eliminate enrollment in any elective courses and funding for any courses beyond a standard six periods. Students would no longer have an option to take electives, including some AP courses, beyond those offered at their traditional schools (especially painful for small or rural schools), nor would they have the opportunity to take extra courses to catch up on graduation requirements or accelerate. The legislation was approved in committee and now goes to the full State Senate. As tempting as it might be, it’s a bad idea for Florida officials to use tough economic times as an excuse to limit educational options. As this AP news story highlights, it has a negative effect on real students: Kathryn Groves, a high school student from Keystone Heights, told the panel she took a virtual […]

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