Chariho School Parents’ Forum

August 20, 2008

Study on school choice

Filed under: School Choice — Editor @ 6:01 pm

The Friedman Foundation released a study today on the Ohio school choice program.

INDIANAPOLIS (August 20, 2008 ) — A study of the new Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship program’s effect on public schools has found academic gains among students in participating public schools; this suggests that the threat of competition and losing students is causing these public schools to improve their academic outcomes, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and several Ohio and national educational organizations announced today.

The rest of the PR is up on the OSPRI blog or, along with the study, at Friedman.



  1. Here’s a Wall Street Journal piece on Charter Schools:

    “America’s first charter school opened in Minnesota in 1992. Sixteen years later, there are 4,128 charter schools educating 1.24 million students in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Another 300 to 400 are expected to open in the coming school year.”

    “Access to better schools can be aided by the availability of vouchers. Four years ago President Bush signed into law the Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship Program, which made federally financed school choice available to disadvantaged children of low-income families in the capital. They can receive vouchers worth up to $7,500 a year to attend private schools of their choice. Some 1,900 students, from families with an average income of $23,000 a year, are now participating in the voucher program. They are attending better schools, they are doing better educationally (after just a few years), and their parents are more satisfied. So popular is the program that there are about four applicants for every school choice opening, meaning that 7,000 Washington families would like to have their children attend better schools of their choice. Even those families that do not benefit from the limited voucher scholarship program can benefit from attending charter schools. Some 25,000 Washington students are expected to do so this fall.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 22, 2008 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  2. Here’s a piece from The Heritage Foundation:

    “In the last Congress, the D.C. voucher plan passed with narrow support. The House passed the measure by a vote of 205 to 203, splitting largely along party lines. All but 14 Republicans voted in favor; all but four Democrats voted against.

    With such a slim majority, the voucher program’s future will be in doubt no matter which party controls the next Congress. Whether it is reauthorized will likely hinge on whether it can attract more support from Democrats. That remains an open question.

    Historically, liberals have opposed private school choice programs. In 1998, President Clinton vetoed legislation to create a D.C. school choice program. In all, 188 House Democrats voted against the D.C. voucher plan. Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have consistent records of opposing vouchers.”

    Now, knowing we live in a very liberal Democratic state, what are the chances that we will have school choice? I see this as a top-down problem starting with the legislature down to local city/town councils. Unless we, the voters, let them know that’s what we want, I don’t see us getting very far with any kind of school choice program.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 24, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  3. Could be right, but it seems to be a fight worth having. As Mr. Felkner has pointed out, most of the monies spent on education come from local taxes. Even if we forego State and Federal education aid, we spend several thousands of local aid on each student.

    Washington, D.C. offer $7,500 vouchers and apparently this is enough to put even children from poverty into schools which perform better than public schools. D.C. is not known for its low cost of living, so if they can make $7,500 vouchers work, we should have no problem with something in the same ballpark.

    Imagine not being beholden to all the wacky State and Federal mandates? I think even public schools might save money if we rejected monies from the State and the Federal government along with their foolish mandates. Nobody at Chariho has been willing to share the cost of mandates so who knows for sure, but it would be nice to see the actual numbers and decide for ourselves.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 24, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  4. Washington D.C.’s program seems to be just for failing schools, which is a high number.

    I liked what I got out of this chart, especially for Cleveland and Milwaukee, because it helps those who are less likely be able to afford it.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 24, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  5. Rhode Island’s Board of Regents will be voting on adopting graduation standards which will add weight to assessment testing. The weighting will move from 10% of graduation requirement to 33% by 2012. Unfortunately the Regents will not be requiring proficiency, but partial proficiency. Still, it is better than the current situation where High School diplomas are given out to anybody who shows up for 12 years of school.

    Apparently there is a group of people described as “parents” who are objecting to the enhanced requirements. Without doing any research, I’m guessing these “parents” are more concerned with Rhode Island’s educational establishment than the children. What concerned parent would want to water down the value of a Rhode High School diploma?

    Both Massachusetts and New York have testing requirements for students before they can graduate. Even with improved standards, are children will continue to lag behind much of the world as it pertains to academic rigor. We should all support this baby step and continue to call on the educational establishment to do their job and educate our children to a level which will allow them to compete in the global economy.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  6. Mr. Felkner has explained how the networks operate in Rhode Island. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the media’s complicity.

    In researching the proposed graduation standards, ProJo refers to a group of “parents” who are fighting against the improved requirements. Few names are given for the parents, but one is Teri Maia-Cicero. Ms. Maia-Cicero is a member of the Exeter-West Greenwich School Committee. In 1999 she was listed as a member of the Rhode Island Special Education Advisory Committee. Neither of these positions is mentioned in the ProJo article.

    By ignoring Teri Maia-Cicero’s positions as part of Rhode Island’s educational establishment, ProJo does a disservice to its readership who may think they are getting information from an objective news source.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  7. Did you actually expect honest, factual reporting from the ProJo? I won’t waste my money buying that newspaper.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 25, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  8. CR, are you sure about NY graduation requirements. NY has regents and non regents diplomas. I may be wrong, but in order to receive a regents diploma you have to pass regents exams. You can still graduate if you don’t pass those test, just not with a regents diploma.

    Comment by Chariho parent #2 — August 25, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  9. You may be right #2. I would likely support a similar approach in Rhode Island. At least then, colleges and employers will know what they are getting. Awarding a diploma to anyone regardless of their proficiency is part of the dumbing down of children by schools.

    I don’t have faith in ProJo. That’s the reason I look beyond the article when I’m suspicious and have a little time. Chariho Times and The Rag are probably worst when it comes to reporting from their own biased position. They can still be valuable as long as your don’t follow them over the cliff like a lemming to the sea. I balance biased news reporting with my own research whenever possible. The internet is a wonderful tool, and people like Mr. Felkner are invaluable in providing alternative perspectives.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  10. I would also agree with NYs approach. We all know that all children are not college material. Some children are just not book smart but are very talented in other ways. Testing does not always show a childs potential and other options should be made available to allow a child to graduate.

    Comment by Chariho parent #2 — August 25, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  11. I know people who don’t know a screw from a screwdriver. Different strokes for different folks. I’ll take a great work ethic and a decent personality over college as a predictor of life success any time. Woodchoppers make great money if they do it well.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  12. I agree with you also, their are many different ways to measure success. What will happen to those students, that have great skills but just cant pass these tests. With all these rules, will they not be able to graduate?

    Comment by Chariho parent #2 — August 25, 2008 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  13. correction – “I agree with you, but isn’t there many different ways to measure success?”

    Comment by Chariho parent #2 — August 25, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  14. A High School diploma should have specific meaning. HIstorically it has meant you have demonstrated proficiency in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies.

    The answer to students unable to demonstrate proficiency in these subjects is not to hand them an unearned High School diploma, but to create alternative certifications. If someone is proficient in a vocational avocation, then by all means, issue them a certificate in a specific field. Don’t water down a High School diploma in order to feel good.

    I support efforts to establish alternative credentials. I reject the steady erosion of a High School diploma as has occurred over the last few decades. I’d like to see even more rigorous requirements.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  15. CR, what you propose would require teachers to actually teach. The NEA won’t like that at all! As a parent of a student who has now graduated from CHS, I have to agree with you. She’s far from proficient in math so her mother and I continue to work with her on that part. She took a math placement exam for college, they are placing her in basically a beginners math course. The problem isn’t entirely Chariho’s fault though, South Kingstown let her down to begin with, their answer was always, “She’ll catch up eventually”. After spending much money with Sylvan Learning she didn’t catch up completly but did come along much better than when she started.

    Comment by CharihoParent — August 25, 2008 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  16. Your scenario is not uncommon as “constructivist” math replaced traditional math. The problem doesn’t exist only in Chariho, but since Chariho is the school for my child and our town, then Chariho is the school which needs to change first.

    College math professors have described your daughter to a tee as they experience the differences between incoming freshman taught using traditional math versus constructivist math. Too bad this has had to happen…oh, wait, it didn’t have to happen…California rejected constructivist math a decade ago after their test scores plummeted…leave it to Rhode Island to then switch to a proven failure.

    Despite Mr. Petit’s belief that parents can afford everything, many children won’t receive the tutoring required to make up for the deficiencies in Rhode Island math education. Many parents aren’t even aware. Chariho doesn’t issue propaganda telling parents “it’s time to” get your children math tutoring.

    Good luck to your daughter in college. Glad to hear you took the steps to put her back on the right path. If you haven’t read any of Mrs. Buck’s excellent work exploring constructivist math, take a few minutes (or hours)…the information she’s posted is enlightening to say the least.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 25, 2008 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  17. CR leave me out of your nonsense. I didn’t say parents can afford everything. You are a liar(period) so don’t use my name in your game.

    Comment by Bob Petit — August 26, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  18. Your words…parents have choice because they can pay for private school. If you think all parents can pay for private school, then you must believe they can pay for tutoring.

    Don’t make assinine statements if you don’t really believe what you say. Lying or stupidity? Either way you said it, not me.

    While I have you…do you have any plans to hold the administration to account for damaging so many children by switching to constructivist math curriculum? How about making Mr. Ricci pay for the tutoring?

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 26, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  19. CR did I say that parents could afford everything? Did I say those words exactly? NO so don’t put words in my mouth to try and prove your point and keep me out of your lying game. Simple as that. having a choice and paying for tutoring are two different issues.

    But lets look at it through your eyes:

    haven’t seen where anyone has proven to me that what I said about having a choice of sending your child to a private school is any different than your idea about a voucher system. You recommended that the town give $5000 dollars in vouchers. If a school cost $10,000 where does the other money come from? Parents? So, I guess vouchers are no different then deciding to send your child to a private school? Seems to me CR you are saying parents can afford everything, so you must be saying they can afford tutoring also!

    I know this isn’t what you meant CR but we can all play the word game. And oh by the way; yes I am having Mr. Ricci’s pay check attached to pay for all the tutoring…….talk about assinine statments!

    Comment by Bob Petit — August 27, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  20. Finally Mr. Petit does something useful. We’re do parent apply for a piece of Mr. Ricci’s pay check?

    I’ve never proposed any specific amount for vouchers. I would suggested we offer vouchers which add no costs to our current education burden. This would probably be in the $6000 to $9000 range but I can’t say for sure. Since Washington, D.C. parents living in poverty have waiting list for $7500 vouchers…and since D.C. private schools exist in an area with a much higher cost of living than here, then I am certain Hopkinton can offer vouchers which will help parents properly educate their children.

    I stand by my original statement. You insist parents already have choice even without the existence of vouchers. This can only mean you believe every parent can afford alternatives to Chariho. This being the case, then it follows that in your distorted world, every parent can also afford tutoring. You haven’t contradicted the logic…you merely denied meaning what you said. If you don’t mean it…you probably shouldn’t say it.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 27, 2008 @ 1:10 pm | Reply


    More education money being spent on social services. Maybe we should all begin calling school officials daddy and mommy?

    What has become of parents? Why do we trust strangers to do our job in caring for our children? More jobs for the adults.

    Comment by Curious Resident — August 29, 2008 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  22. It’s part of the plan to move from a republic to a socialist state. When more than 50% of the people vote themselves handouts, then the unraveling of the current political system has begun. This is why many politicians harp on class warfare, etc, it is needed to further the socialist agenda.

    Comment by RS — August 30, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

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