High-profile Republicans are embracing school choice, notably in the current fast-tracked No Child Left Behind rewrite, but in such a way as to anger their most politically effective constituents.
Author: Joy Pullmann
In some ways, our culture idolizes childhood, but in others, it utterly destroys it. Perhaps the two go hand-in-hand. The New York Times asked recently, “Is Your First Grader College Ready?” It details classes full of elementary students going on college visits and filling out mock applications. At some colleges, the wait list for elementary-school tours is so long, they offer virtual campus visits. But that’s not all. Oh, no, that is not all.
The heat on Common Core was high this spring, but I predict it will be even higher come state legislative sessions this January. It’s the last year states can conceivably avoid joining the train wreck that will be Common Core tests, which are due to replace state tests in March and following. But the earnest moms and dads that comprise the Common Core grassroots have been largely burned by their representatives, who either have responded to serious arguments by relabeling Common Core or diverting blame for it. They’re politicians, man, not representatives.
Behavioral psychologists and economists have considered incentives to be a normal part of human nature for decades, if not centuries, but applying them to education still stokes controversy. For example, some people recoil at the idea of paying kids and their teachers for high scores on Advanced Placement tests that get students college credit in high school, as some schools in Northern Virginia are doing,
When a friend of mine was young, his family kept their dog close to home with one of those invisible fences. It delivered a mild shock to the dog’s collar when he crossed its line. One day, the fence posts shorted out. But the dog still refused to cross the shock-less border. There was nothing keeping him fenced in but his mind.
When people do not feed, talk to, read to, discipline, or provide shelter to their children, is it still appropriate to call these people parents? Across the country, school districts are now able to phase in a federal program that provides taxpayer-funded breakfast and lunch to every single child enrolled in the school. That’s every child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. A child who attends that school and has millionaire parents can receive taxpayer-funded breakfast and lunch every single school day.
It’s common for people to pretend public education is free. But it’s not. Parents buy access to certain public schools with their mortgage or rent check. A 2012 study of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas found houses near high-achieving public schools cost approximately $11,000 more per year, or 2.4 times as much, as houses near low-achieving public schools. It also found the typical low-income child attends a school that scores below average on state tests, whereas the typical middle- or upper-income child attends a school that scores above average.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has started to prance about the country, touting himself as the governor who ousted Common Core, a set of national curriculum and testing mandates in math and English. But it’s Oklahoma that may actually merit that distinction, if Gov. Mary Fallin signs a bill to do so by June 2.
Politicians and the media have retrained their sights on the Koch brothers’ political influence, but a look at some numbers suggests they should investigate other billionaires—such as Bill Gates. The New York[…]