Hear the Echoes No. 42
The Taste of Honey
Or is it the taste of money? Your Money!
Supporters of Gov. Jindalís voucher expansion expressed chagrin over the U.S. Senate cutting the D.C. voucher program. They tout it as highly successful? But the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation finds differently:
The third-year report, Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After One Year, contains the following key findings:
No evidence of a statistically significant difference in test scores between students who were offered an OSP scholarship and students who were not offered a scholarship.
The program had a consistently positive impact on parent satisfaction and their perceptions of school safety.
Students who were offered OSP scholarships did not report being more satisfied with school or feeling safer in school than those without access to scholarships.
This same pattern of findings holds when the analysis is conducted to determine the impact of using a scholarship rather than being offered a scholarship, taking into account the approximately 20 percent of students who were offered but chose not to use their scholarships the first year.
Now let us look at Gov. Jindalís voucher pilot in New Orleans:
No! Instead let Leslie Jacobs, the Godmother of Louisianaís capitalist "reform educationĒ movement look at it:
"Educate Now! analyzed student test scores from voucher schools and compared them to New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) schools. We found that for the second year in a row, students participating in the voucher program performed worse than students in the RSD!
"Comparing 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
- Statewide: 75% performed on grade level (Basic or above)
- RSD schools: 49% performed on grade level
"The RSD schools significantly outperformed the voucher schools, despite the requirement that RSD schools must enroll and include in their testing results students with disabilities, who account for 10% of their enrollment. The schools participating in the voucher program are exempt from IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
"There is currently no accountability or performance standards for the private and parochial schools participating in the Scholarships for Educational Excellence program.
- No academic standard for initial participation
- No criteria for continued participation
- No way to exclude a school based on performanceĒ (EducateNow.net July 6, 2011)
Ah but the education governor, you know the one who has kept funding for higher education and K-12 education from keeping up with inflation (as low as that has been), has proclaimed voucher success so it must be so.
The governorís experiment with the futures of 1,653 poor students in New Orleans should be extended to the whole state? The governor has BESE putting the vouchers into the MFP so that troubled legislators like his House Appropriations Committee wonít have an easy time defunding a failing program, and local school districts wonít be able to develop a financial plan because of the uncertainty caused by including vouchers and the virtual charter schools inside the MFP. We all know the MFP canít be changed by the Legislature.
Rep. Jim Fannin and a majority of the appropriations committee stripped out the voucher dollars last session until Jindal twisted arms and had it restored on the floor.
The administration renewed 12 charters in the RSD in spite of the fact they failed for five years to meet academic goals within their contracts; and eleven of those schools also failed to meet goals for fiscal reporting. The Legislative Auditory has found repeat flaws in fiscal management in the RSD for more than three years running.
When local public schools fail to meet academic expectations, for three years running. the state takes the schools and their property, and refuses to give it back once its experiment fails.
How about when a state run school or a voucher program fails three years running it Sunsets out of existence?