August 23, 2010
August 16, 2010
Thanks to the teacher bailout, Nevada went from "potentially" losing "thousands" of "teachers" (with less than half of all school district employees working as classroom teachers, I've already called shenanigans on Nevada's political elites) to wanting to hire up to 1,400 more. However, throwing $83 million in one-time stimulus at education to hire more teachers (which won’t improve student achievement) is just another example of bipartisan irresponsibility in the Silver State.
The L.A. Times collected data, via information request, on student achievement in the L.A. Unified School District, then handed the information over to the Rand Corporation for study. Using value added assessment, Rand and the L.A. Times found that there was a night-and-day difference between the quality of teachers at many schools. Some teachers were so bad that their students fell behind their peers. Others, so good that their students went from being below average to above average.
Unfortunately, union-imposed rules prevent school districts from rewarding high-quality teachers. Unions prefer the mind-dulling, lock-step pay system that rewards teachers for years of service rather than quality and, as a result, promotes mediocrity.
August 4, 2010
Last week several civil rights groups, like the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, attacked the concept of charter schools in a report (both groups have since distanced themselves from the report, but not necessarily from their attack on charter schools). But as it turns out, a majority of African-Americans now support charter schools.
Dr. Paul Peterson of Harvard University writes in the Wall Street Journal,
“Each year we provided respondents the same, neutral description of charter schools, followed by the question: "Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools?" Those interviewed were also given the choice of saying they "neither support or oppose" charters.So why are civil rights groups ignoring their constituents? Dr. Peterson concludes,
Support for charters among African Americans rose to 49% in 2009, up from 42% in 2008. This year it leapt upward to no less than 64%. Among Hispanics support jumped to 47% in 2010, from 37% in 2008.
Opposition to charters is expressed by 14% of African-Americans and 21% of Hispanics. Twenty-three percent of African-Americans and 33% of Hispanics take a neutral position.
Among the public as a whole, charter supporters currently outnumber opponents by a margin of better than 2 to 1. Forty-four percent say they are in favor of charters, while 19% stand in opposition. Parents in general are even more supportive of charter schools: 51% like them, 15% don't.”
“By casting their lot firmly with teachers unions, the leadership of the NAACP and the Urban League hope to preserve their power and safeguard their traditional sources of financial support. Not only is this is a cynical strategy, it ignores where African-Americans and Hispanics are on the issue. Thankfully, the Obama administration is paying attention to the needs of low-income, minority communities and not to their purported leaders."
For more on this subject, check out my new commentary, titled "Civil rights groups’ education proposal misses the mark."