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  • Morning Bell: Friedman's Legacy of Fighting for School Choice for All

    On the late Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday today, his words are truer than ever: “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.”

    And the news from many parts of the country is disheartening. Despite a new school choice option for students in Louisiana, a teachers union there has threatened to sue private schools that accept voucher students this fall. Unions have fought school choice initiatives because they see options for students eroding their power structure.

    The Administration is also fighting students’ best interest. Instead of promoting what works—school choice, empowering parents and students—President Obama just issued an executive order last week creating a new federal bureaucracy to single out African-American students for more government meddling in their education. The order states that:

    substantial obstacles to equal educational opportunity still remain in America’s educational system. African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline and referrals to special education.

    The new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans is supposed to “help expand educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes, and deliver a complete and competitive education for all African Americans.”

    This is to be done “in part by supporting efforts to improve the recruitment, preparation, development, and retention of successful African American teachers and school leaders and other effective teachers and school leaders responsible for the education of African American students.”

    America’s students don’t need teachers hand-picked for them by the teachers unions or by the federal government. They need the power to pick their own teachers. Parents need the freedom to send their children to the school of their choice—to find the academic and social environment that works best for them.

    The old way isn’t working. The District of Columbia is spending nearly $30,000 per student “in a district that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation and produces some of the country’s lowest achievement scores,” laments Heritage’s Rachel Sheffield. This spending hasn’t changed the fact that “the graduation rate for D.C. students hovers around 60 percent, well below the nationwide average of 74 percent. Math and reading scores are also among the lowest in the country.”

    D.C. is even paying students “with poor academic and behavioral records” to attend summer school, according to The Washington Examiner.

    That isn’t the end of the story, however. Heritage’s Lindsey Burke reminds us that Friedman’s work on behalf of educational freedom goes on:

    Today, we have a growing number of innovative school choice options—charters, vouchers, tax credits, online learning, and education savings accounts, to name a few. These options were conceived in the mind of Friedman and are being brought to life by reform-oriented governors and legislators across the country.

    Funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows children from low-income homes to escape the underperforming D.C. public schools and attend a private school of their choice, was saved for a year after President Obama threatened to end it altogether.

    States are implementing school choice reforms because the results are astoundingly positive. According to federally mandated evaluations of the D.C. program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. Graduation rates in D.C. public schools languish (hovering around 55 percent), and the public school system ranks last in the country in terms of academic achievement. Yet, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate.

    Seeking success for their own students, Arizona enacted groundbreaking education savings accounts, and Indiana created the largest voucher program in the country.

    As Friedman said, we will see improvements in education only “by privatizing a major segment of the educational system—i.e., by enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop that will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools.”

    Our students deserve the best, and they will choose it when given the opportunity.

    Quick Hits:

    • Congressional investigators have determined that five senior ATF officials are “collectively responsible” for the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, reports the Los Angeles Times.
    • Support for same-sex marriage is included in the official Democratic Party platform after a platform committee meeting unanimously approved it. It still has to be approved by the full platform committee before the Democratic National Convention.
    • The European Union wants all incoming and outgoing flights to buy carbon credits in its cap-and-trade exchange. A Senate committee is scheduled to vote today on legislation that would prevent U.S. airlines from having to pay Europe the greenhouse gas-related flying fee.
    • The U.S. Postal Service will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due tomorrow to its future retirees’ health benefits fund.
    • 50.8: That’s the percentage of Americans who continue to support repealing Obamacare. Heritage’s Alyene Senger has more key numbers to know about Obamacare.
    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: Friedman's Legacy of Fighting for School Choice for All

    1. Ken Jarvis says:

      How do Vouchers fight for
      School Choice for All?

      • 2Dokie says:

        .Coice for all isn't the point Jarvis. The INDIVIDUAL needs the freedom to find the best educational source for themselves. Vouchers give parents the freedom to avoid tenured incompetents andn their lasting damage on their children's ability to effectively acquire knowledge.

      • Clearhead says:

        Well, Kenny boy, you must not have been keeping up with the discussion. It's simple: If the parents live in a substandard school district because they can't afford to move to a better one, then THEY, and their STUDENT CHILD can select a better school, use the voucher, get a better education, and cost the gummint less. Got it now? I'm sure you have — even my 11 year old great grandson understands this.

    2. Jeff says:

      Yeah, I can see why the unions would be threatened, but not because of their immediate power concerns. They're worried about future power concerns as well. How can unions flourish with an educated population? If you get the lousy, union teacher off the payroll and the good, performance-measured teachers on the payroll, students will graduate having learned other than about Obama and homeless people. They might learn something about basic economics or English language, for instance and may not continue to move at the pace of the slowest among them. This turnaround could have long-term implications for the viability of the Democrat Party itself.

    3. So if you are young white person just graduating with an education degree, don't expect to find a job. Or if you are already in the education system, don't expect a promotion anytime soon. Those will all be going to Aftrican American educators/administrators based on the president's new initiative. If you can't understand how vouchers and school choice helps, do a little research for Pete's sake!

    4. timpclimber says:

      I have taught in public and private high schools for over 30 years and the single difference that stands out is discipline and the teaching of ethics. In public schools discipline is very poor and a disruptive student is able to destroy the learning of all the students day after day. In private schools discipline problems are dealt with quickly and parents must take responsibility for their child's actions. Wearing uniforms helps also. In a private school ethics is taught (religious or golden rule based) every day. And there are no rewards for just being present. Public schools have become the politically correct infectors of our children teaching them there are no real sins just different life styles. Go to an NEA convention and the immoral, give everyone a medal, liberal agenda predominates. Give parents vouchers so they can give their children an intellectually demanding, morally uplifting education of their choice.

      • O2BMe says:

        Your are so right. The problem is the unions pay off the government with union dues to fight any change. The unions kill incentive. If every teacher is paid the same wage no matter how successful they are in challenging there students they will never make more than the ineffectual teachers and knows no one can be fired. You're also right about the discipline. Everyone is afraid of being sued if they mention the Golden Rule" (which by the way is not in the Bible) and too many parents have the attitude "not my child." In some of the poorer families they don't know how to help their child and the family could use some help there.

    5. toledofan says:

      The liberal approach to education is just appaling, paying kids to go to school, what's next; paying other kids to take their tests so they can pass and move forward. As long as the Democrats are in control, education will be just like everything else, the more the problems, the more the government needs to be involved. But the real secret bejind all of this is that it's another way to buy votes and retain control over peoples lives. I mean why would we want somebody to read and imagine how anything is possible and be successful, if we did that I guess we wouldn't need the government.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        Let's reestablish schools, teaching proper English, History(the real stuff) Math, BUT first start the day with a prayer (Our Father), a bible reading(Psalms orProverbs) , Saluting OUR FLAG, wih the Pledge. Put discipline back and also a Dress Code, these things in place with QUalified teachers, w will see childrenwho are proud of themseves and schools. If people fom other countries do not like OUR WAY, they are free to return to their countries, BUT NOT FREE TO CHANGE OURS. With Prayer and our votes we can return this country to what our Ancestors, fought and died for.

      • 2Dokie says:

        You fail to understand, friend, the liberal's primary objective is to continually create problems in order to make a pretense at solving them…the effort always compounding the problem and creating the opportunity for more pretentious organization and effort all the while degrading the society, which provdes professional opportunity for social work professionals of every stripe. Much more effective in the lib-mind than pursueing higher standards for everyone's improvement in society. Therefor, eliminate GOD as a force in society, and adopt false values of easy attainment(abortion for example, homosexual approval, etc.)

    6. J E Houser says:

      As our wonderful federal government has made clear: We want edge-a-cation so that no one is left behind.
      More toys in the schoolyard. Get rid of those blackboards so "students" are not embarrassed by wrong answers in view of the whole group of "students."

    7. Pat McK says:

      You can have the most distinguished professors teaching at these schools, you can pay large sums of money, you can pay the children to go to class, you can have the most modern schools, classrooms, and technology. You can give each child a personal computer and everything else you can think of. But until you have homework at home, parents that care and insist on studying, reading, etc. you are not going to see the results. It's the family! But the government has done their best to destroy the inner city family. A stable family is the foundation of a stable society. And self discipline.

    8. Pat McK says:

      You can hire the most distinguished professors to teach in the cities, you can pay them $1 million a year. You can pay the children to come to school, and pay them for good grades. You can have brand new school buildings, free breakfast, lunch and dinners at school. You can give each student their own laptop. You can spend $100,000 per student per year. It won't make any difference until you have a stable family insisting on the student doing homework at home and not the last hour of class time. And parents helping the children at home with discipline. A stable family is the foundation of a stable society. Of course, the federal government has destroyed the inner city family over the last 50 years.

    9. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      I have taught in private, public K-12 institutions, community colleges, universities, undergraduate and graduate classes. I began my teaching as an English teacher, then to assistant principal, principal, director of special education, director of human resources and finally superintendent in a PA public school system. I have witnessed the slow deterioration of our education system by progressive philosophy and political correctness. The union has a death lock on politicians and will spend 99% of their money and 99% of their time protecting 1 or 2 percent of their worthless members.

      Like most settled influencial systems, including the Heritage Instiuttion, leaders find change or addressing leaders, like the life-long politicians too challenging and threatening to their own interest. We will continue to slide into the pit of ingnorance because we have dedicated an entire generation to lower standards, entitlement rather than opportunity and the tribal mentality versus independent thinking.

      (Don't worry Heritage's censor will not let this see the light of day.)

    10. Israel says:

      This can all be fixed with sponsorship of the proposed DC Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity, which will expand the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program to include all 61,000 K-12 children in DC, and save bilions for federal taxpayers. Please call your representatives at 202-224-3121 and prevail upon them to sponsor this bill.

    11. R. Cook says:

      I have proposed in the past that a broad set of free educational videos could be created and made available for home schools or to couneract the indoctrination taking place in our public school system. If you have a child strugglng in public education there is free help available at the Khan Academy in many areas of core education.

    12. EON says:

      The education system first needs family and community support. Growing up in my community, everyone was expected to work hard in school and plan on continued education after high school. My parents didn't have to check my homework because we were expected to perform and excel. This was the attitude of the community in my town in northern Minnesota. Now parents send their kids to school for babysitting. Money spent on education is put into the next new program, and not into the classrooms. The problem with vouchers is that is does nothing to improve the personality of the community, and if you can transfer your tax dollars to any school you want to send your kids, why can't a person with no children ask for their tax money back or designate it to another cause. Change the direction and attitude of the country. Vouchers are too little and they do not improve the overall system.

    13. Kathie T says:

      Obama is still dividing the country in terms of race. I thought successful teaching depended on dedicated, caring, knowledgable people of ALL races. The beat goes on. I never thought much about racism until this president began to divide the country all over again.
      Also, I totally agree with the comments about the breakdown of FAMILY in this country. That is a major factor in all of this.

    14. John C. Davidson says:

      After my son endured hi freshman year in public high scholl, I sent him to private Christian high school. Not only was he not allowedto slide by, he was given a better social attitude which now has made him more successful than even I could imagine.

    15. John Szeker says:

      And obama is not a racist? How can he get away with a special program for black students and black teachers? He was supposed to heal any divisions in our country and he has created more class warfare, racial bigotry and divisiveness thany any other politician in our country's history. He must be defeated this November, or he will completely ruin our great country. We should all pray to God that he will be defeated.

    16. steamboat says:

      in the metro area where I live, the schools are run by blacks, but we are in the midst of a cheating scandal where the teachers, principals and higher ups, changed the answers on standardized tests so the schools wouldn't look like they are failing and the teachers get bonuses along with the administrators. so why aren't the schools in my area better if run by blacks and not whites, or asians or hispanics for that matter?

    17. Dave Bess says:

      Money is not the solution to getting our kids a good education. Neither are racially biased mandates from the president. As Tim said we need disipline and ethics along with family envolvement. The color of a teacher's skin has absoultley nothing to do with their abilities to teach and earn student respect. Unfortunately in todays eductional system teaching has become a necessary evil that burdens both the administrators and the unions.
      Graduating teachers have a very strong desire to "TEACH" but the system overwhelms them and that wonderful desire is lost, never to be found again We need a system that puts the classroom teacher above everyone else in the system. Give them the freedom to do what they trained for and do best, let them teach.

    18. Greg says:

      It seems to me that vouchers are a good idea. If a parent must go after one for their child, they are more likely to remain engaged in the child's education. Competition can be relied upon to improve educational quality, although it is easy to see why unions hate it. Tough!

    19. Dan Poole says:

      I'd like to offer an alternative analysis. While I support school choice in the abstract, I do not support it under current regulatory conditions because private schools can't reject unruly students without violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I agree with John Stossel and Rand Paul on the issue of the Civil Rights Act.

      The bottom line is that the far majority of these students in failing school systems can't be reached through “education reform.” Academic success is based on two things: 1) genetic abilities and 2) parental involvement. You could put an Asian kid with an IQ of 140 and demanding parents in the worst public school in the country and he will still be Ivy League bound. You can put a black from the ghetto with no father and an 80 IQ in the most prestigious prep program in the country, and he will still be a failure.

      It is true that teacher’s unions are a major problem, and I don't support them at all. But ask yourself this: Why do students at suburban schools in middle-class, white neighborhoods seem to do just fine with the same unionized teachers and less per-pupil funding than inner-city schools?

    20. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Happy birthday, Milton Friedman. Wish you were here.

    21. Pamela says:

      I say get RID OF UNIONs It's people that get paid for doing NOTHING but taking the money that those that earn it could be using themselves!! Come on people, get smarter as you all are no different than those that live off the government. ALSO, I wish sooooo much that some one some where that is conservative, republician, libeaterian, etc NOT DEMOCRATE would please buy a newpaper and start reporting the truth about the criminals in the white house who don't give a darn about this country THEY DON'T CARE They all walk away with millions of all our money. THEY ARE NOT FOR ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES!!
      Every child in this country should have a CHOICE where he or she can go to school. It's the ONLY WAY the everyone that has no or little money can get ahead the right and correct way. Not brownnosing to every low life out there with money…..and b.s

    22. 2Dokie says:

      Educational administrators, like all managers in the US, are GROSSLY OVERPAID, and that's just part of the societal web of UNCONTROLABLE GREED AND POWER, that will destroy a once noble and productive people. But the GOD the illuminati have attempted to eliminate will naught but prevail:"whatsoever a man seweth so SHALL he reap" "He that seweth to the wind shall reap the whirlwind".

    23. Oscar Manful says:

      The Barack Obama administration should be highly commended for their efforts to improve the education system in America, especially for minorities. The Obama healthcare reforms offer invaluable lessons. Innovation is always appreciated, in as much as "necessity is the mother of all invention". We can never, ever sit there for a crisis to arise before such matters are dealt with.

      Schooling in the States, always presents crucial problems. Money shortages, interference by relatives, if the two are not the same. I found out that, in a country like Germany, education is free. Infact, the same, or similar changes are being made here in Ghana. Looks like socialist and welfare states have such inclinations.

      In a related matter, Ghana has lost her President, John Evans Atta Mills. He died about a week ago. So a new President has been sworn in, John Dramani Mahama. He hails from the Northern part of the country. The whole nation is in mourning. Looks like he was sick.

      However, the debate continues! Yeah,…… so education for all is necessary, if not imperative. The "No Child Left Behind" bill, is another pertinent point. We take this opportunity to congratulate the Obama administration, and anybody who had a hand in these timely changes in the education sector.

    24. Jackie says:

      I say – they take that $30,000 and cut it in half and pay it to those who homeschool their children. Good money well spent, while cutting spending in half!!

    25. Jackie says:

      As someone involved in that "No Child Left Behind Program" let me just say it has some serious flaws. It doesn't work and the system is all about getting money (funding) and not about helping those that need it. About 1/2 of those I saw in the program were probably there because English was not spoken in that home, therefore putting them at a disadvantage in school.

    26. Teaching within our non-mainstream inner-city shools with largely Black student populations needs a different approach than the currrent system, which continues to fail our Black non-mainstream student populations..As the song "Wake up Everybody" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes says" Wake up all the teachers, time to teach a new way, maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say, cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands, when you teach the children, teach them the very best way you can! " The book" The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement:Failure of America's Public Schools to Properly Educate its African American Student Populations" documents with considerable acccuracy, some of the problems facing Black America..The book will be available in late December on Amazon.com..

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