Charter schools are working, vouchers are working, but teacher unions and the National Education Association helped President Obama get into the Executive Branch, so funding for programs that work is being diverted to programs – public schools – that don’t work.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan did a public service last week when he visited New York City and spoke up for charter schools and mayoral control of education. That was the reformer talking. The status quo Mr. Duncan was on display last month when he let Congress kill a District of Columbia voucher program even as he was sitting on evidence of its success.
What it comes down to is that federal money is being spent by local cities and towns as they see fit, to promote what works in their education system. I don’t think that one federal dime should be used for education, but when you take federal dollars, that cash usually comes with strings attached or they could take the funding away in the future with little or no warning.
Programs that are working in Washington D.C. are being cut off in favor of sending cash to public schools. I wrote about the subject and Duncan’s differing point of view here and here. More about the District’s program…
It’s bad enough that Democrats are killing a program that parents love and is closing the achievement gap between poor minorities and whites. But as scandalous is that the Education Department almost certainly knew the results of this evaluation for months.
Voucher recipients were tested last spring. The scores were analyzed in the late summer and early fall, and in November preliminary results were presented to a team of advisers who work with the Education Department to produce the annual evaluation. Since Education officials are intimately involved in this process, they had to know what was in this evaluation even as Democrats passed (and Mr. Obama signed) language that ends the program after next year.
And from the beginning of the article, we have the New York information…
In New York City with its 1.1 million students, mayoral control has resulted in better test scores and graduation rates, while expanding charter schools, which means more and better education choices for low-income families. But mayoral control expires in June unless state lawmakers renew it, and the United Federation of Teachers is working with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to weaken or kill it.