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Muslim Public Charter School Exposed

This has certainly been a very quite story. What happens when kids pray together at a public school event? What happens when a valedictorian wants to mention God and her faith during a graduation ceremony? What happens when a teacher wears a cross in the classroom?

We’ve all read about the results; students are barred from praying, valedictorians are forbidden from attending graduation and teachers are fired. It’s all about this mythical wall between church and state, but if you visit Inver Grove Heights in Minnesota, you’ll have the opportunity to send your kids to a Muslim charter school through the 8th grade. Read more

High School Dropout Rate Crisis

If anything can be defined as a crisis, the current high school dropout rate statistics just might qualify. America’s Promise Alliance, founded by Colin Powell, released a report entitled Cities in Crisis, A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation [PDF, 1.8 MB]. Overall, only seven in 10 high school student go on to graduate, even less go on to attend higher education.

The report provides data and does a good job of breaking down the differences between urban, town, rural and suburban dropout rates; it does not suggest causes or propose solutions. But how do school districts that have the highest dropout rates – as high as 75 percent in one city – compare to those with the lowest? How is the academic structure different? Does the city have a true school choice with a voucher program? Shouldn’t we review the political approach – liberal versus conservative – of these school districts? Read more

Can’t Win the Game? Change the Rules

A California appellate court has ruled that it is not legal for parents who lack official government teaching credentials to home-school their kids. This ruling is freaking out the parents of about 166,000 kids who are home schooled in the state.

There is little doubt that the public school system is not doing a good job of educating our kids, you might say there is a consensus on the issue 😉

Anyway, you can find many studies on the Web that provide us with academic statistics comparing student results. Here, here and here are some examples. Yes, I know, some of these studies may be biased, but find me some facts that say public schools do a better job overall; other than in affluent areas like Avon, Conn.

Malkin has more, and the full LA Times article can be found here.

The appellate court ruling stems from a case involving Lynwood parents Phillip and Mary Long, who were repeatedly referred to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services over various allegations, including claims of physical abuse, involving some of their eight children.

All of the children are currently or had been enrolled in Sunland Christian School, where they would occasionally take tests, but were educated in their home by their mother, Phillip Long said.

A lawyer appointed to represent two of the Long’s young children requested that the court require them to physically attend a public or private school where adults could monitor their well-being. A trial court disagreed, but the children’s lawyer appealed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has jurisdiction over Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The appellate panel ruled that Sunland officials’ occasional monitoring of the Longs’ home schooling — with the children taking some tests at the school — is insufficient to qualify as being enrolled in a private school. Since Mary Long does not have a teaching credential, the family is violating state laws, the ruling said.

What it comes down to is this.

Teachers union officials will also be closely monitoring the appeal. A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said he agrees with the ruling.

“What’s best for a child is to be taught by a credentialed teacher,” he said.

Yeah, right. This is just another reason for me not to move to California.

My analysis? Since the union hacks know they can not win the game – better educated students is the desired results ya know – they are happy to sit by, or contribute, to judicial influence that would attack home schooling from any angle possible.

The Cost of Education

Walter Williams posted his column yesterday that dealt with the average cost paid – per year I assume – by public secondary education schools in the U.S. compared to other countries. He also looks quickly at the academic results posted by the U.S. Department of Education1. We’re not doing all that well; ranked 33rd in industrialized countries when it comes to math and science. (No data is available on reading due to some sort of glitch.)

Of course, democrats want to throw more cash at the problem, but a 2005 study by a good friend at windsorwatch.org clearly indicated that in the town of Windsor, Connecticut – and in the state as a whole – there is absolutely no correlation between the dollars spent per kid and academic results. As a matter of fact, there is no correlation between student to teacher ratios, class size or the number of computers in the classroom either.

The only clear correlation was between test scores and median income of the family. Well isn’t that interesting?

Of course, a democrats answer might be just to give cash directly to families to increase their median income, but we all know that won’t work.

Instead, we should be looking at those outlier towns that spend less per student and get better academic results. What are they doing differently?

1Of course, we all know that there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution to create or fund this department. That responsibility, since it is not listed specifically in the Constitution, is given to the states or the people.