Don’t Let Trump Hatred Thwart the School Choice Movement

Opinion by Larry Elder

Charter School Education Apples Books
Don't Let Trump Hatred Thwart the School Choice Movement

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Detroit school board recently voted 6-to-1 to consider removing Dr. Ben Carson's name from one of its high schools. Carson, a former Detroit student and former head of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pioneered several groundbreaking neurosurgical procedures. He now serves as President Donald Trump's secretary of housing and urban development.

But one school board member said Carson's name on the school is comparable to “having Trump's name on our school in blackface.”

About Detroit public schools, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty's C.J. Szafir and Cori Petersen recently wrote, “In 2017 Detroit ranked last in proficiency out of 27 large urban school districts with a measly 5 percent of fourth-graders proficient in math and 7 percent in reading.” Maybe the Detroit school board should invest the time they spent inquiring about Carson's reputation in improving its pupils' education.

Let's hope that hatred for Trump does not stall the growing movement for private school choice as an alternative to public K-12 education.

A 2015 survey conducted by Knowledge Networks for Education Next found that nationally, 13 percent of non-teacher parents have sent one or more of their school-age kids to private school for at least some of their K-12 schooling. But 20 percent of teachers with children have done the same. The number is much higher for teachers in urban areas.

A 2004 Fordham Institute study found that in Philadelphia, a staggering 44 percent of public-school teachers with school-age kids sent their own children to private schools. In Cincinnati-Hamilton County and Chicago, 41 and 39 percent of public school teachers, respectively, paid for a private school education for their children. In Rochester, New York, it was 38 percent. In Baltimore, it was 35 percent. San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo was 34 percent, and New York-Northeastern New Jersey was almost 33 percent. In Los Angeles-Long Beach, nearly 25 percent of public school teachers sent their kids to private school versus 16 percent of all Angelenos who did so.

Hats off to all the hardworking teachers and administrators working in urban schools, which are frequently in and among the worst schools in the worst areas, with often unmotivated students from homes where education is not emphasized. Without an authority figure in the home ensuring that that the child has done his homework and gone to bed on time, the teacher's job becomes exponentially more difficult. And bravo to hardworking parents who want to ensure that their children get a quality education.

Most urban parents support choice in education, despite the opposition of the public education establishment. Polls show about 80 percent of inner-city parents want vouchers, and most careful studies show that private school choice produces better outcomes.

But wait. A recent study from the University of Virginia's highly regarded Curry School of Education found “no evidence that private schools, exclusive of family background or income, are more effective for promoting student success.” Hogwash, says Michael Q. McShane, the national research director of EdChoice, a pro-choice advocacy group, who argues that the UVA study lacked “randomization.” Under “randomization,” McShane says: “Everyone who wants a voucher gets their name thrown in a hopper and random chance is the only thing that differs between those who get a voucher and those who don't. That's how we know that any differences between the two groups can be attributed to the program.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty wrote last year: “The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program works. … Out of 11 gold standard studies on the program, 10 have shown that students in the MPCP outperform their peers at Milwaukee Public Schools (one study showed no significant difference). … Students in the MPCP outperformed their peers in public schools in both math and reading on the Forward Exam when appropriate ‘apples-to-apples' comparisons are made. We also found that MPCP students score about 7.7 percent higher on the ACT than MPS students, a difference that could determine whether a student gets into college or not in some cases.”

Thomas Sowell, who supports private school choice, also emphasizes the importance of comparing apples to apples.

“My favorite way of making comparisons among truly comparable students,” says Sowell, “is to get educational results from schools where both the charter school and the traditional public school are located in the very same building, teaching the same grade levels, and with the students being tested by the very same tests.” When examined that way, school choice works.

About Milwaukee, Szafir and Petersen wrote: “Many parents have turned to the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, passed in 1990, which provides low-income children with vouchers for private schools. Over the past decade, enrollment has increased 45 percent at MPCP schools and by 47 percent at the city's charter schools.”

Larry Elder
Larry Elder

If private school choice does not yield benefit, can someone explain why programs that provide choice consistently have long lines of parents who want to enroll their students? Trump wants to give urban parents an opt-out of an underperforming government school. Resistance against Trump ought not to translate into resistance against parents who want a better future for their children.

About Larry Elder:

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

  • 22 thoughts on “Don’t Let Trump Hatred Thwart the School Choice Movement

    1. Author: Chuckbone56
      Comment:
      My daughter is in her senior year at a top university for education majors. She has had many socialist/communist professors try to sway her towards that line of nonsense. Now she is doing her classroom observation and says it is so bad she is going to teach at a private conservative school upon graduation. I raised her to think for herself. Public school today is a giant wasteland where the nation sends its treasure and receives a dumass kid in return. BTW @Ron your either stupid or a school administrator. Possibly both.

      I agree 100% about the dummies our PS system puts out. Just look at our so-called athletes. They can’t even speak English properly. I only went through 12th grade.grad in 1969. Had a job 35 yrs retired 13. The PS did great for me.But it gets worse as we speak. These so-called lib teachers,professors etc are the problem. (in part)
      It’s disgusting. Not a school adm nor am I stupid. Gotta fix the problem and vouchers don’t accomplish that.
      It’s track record shows. Again….No Vouchers!

    2. I’m SURE I shall hear some kinda backlash (perhaps?) but…..I am also a strong proponent of ‘Separation of Church and State’.

    3. Author: tomcat
      Comment:
      Starting with the title of the article Larry Elder showed his spots. I have my reservations that the article was even worth the time it took to read it.

      Didn’t think of it that way. You do have a good point! For what it’s worth, thank you for pointing that out tomcat.

    4. Author: Wild Bill
      Comment:
      @Ron, Yep, you have convinced me. If I ever get a chance to vote for a voucher system (as opposed to the current public school funding system), then I am voting for the vouchers. That is a good and proper goal of any debate. Thank you.

      Oh well……..like I stated, READ. You refuse to. Come up with what ever…..’clever’ statement you wish. All your ‘followers’ will take your word. The ‘click’ ya know?
      No vouchers…………You are most welcome ..Bill

    5. Starting with the title of the article Larry Elder showed his spots. I have my reservations that the article was even worth the time it took to read it.

    6. Author: Wild Bill

      Just the sorta response I expected Bill. You did not disappoint me. (not that it would matter)
      Just goes to show…….you only read what ya want. Keep up the ‘feel good’ image. (needs improvement)
      Again….No vouchers..Stop the BS’N and read up! (you won’t)

    7. My daughter is in her senior year at a top university for education majors. She has had many socialist/communist professors try to sway her towards that line of nonsense. Now she is doing her classroom observation and says it is so bad she is going to teach at a private conservative school upon graduation. I raised her to think for herself. Public school today is a giant wasteland where the nation sends its treasure and receives a dumass kid in return. BTW @Ron your either stupid or a school administrator. Possibly both.

    8. Author: Wild Bill
      Comment:
      @Ron, It is even easier to talk to real people. Google is someone else’s say so. It is not original research. I based my statement on my recent hiring experience in my own community. I just do not think that socialized education is the answer.
      You based your statement on ‘your local’ experience. Well look up how it went in the states where it has been implemented! And YES,you are correct..it is easier to talk to someone one on one, although you didn’t state that. And I am real.Google has really begun to s–k! But there are some things you can still check out. Try it. (and you DO) There are two sides to every coin. I try to read both and have done a good attempt. You? Feel good and impress your cohorts. One side of the coin fits all yer needs. Just feel good.

      1. @Ron, I based my answer on my local experience because it is so expensive to travel around the U.S. interviewing every public school graduate, in anticipation of your objection.
        I am sure that you are real because you typed out a response. I believe that public education has been implemented in every state.
        I appreciate that you have “done a good attempt”. Everything in your comment after that are only sentence fragments so I don’t know what you mean (e.g. “Just feel good.”) I apologize for not responding to those.

    9. Author: Wild Bill
      Comment:
      @Ron, Forced taxation and forced participation is the very essence of socialism. And look at the end product. These socialized education graduates can not do math, can not read cursive, can not think critically, do not know their own country’s history or civic duties, and do not know what limits are on government. They are, however, full of propaganda, narcissism, and fake facts…
      Fake facts, Propag, narciss……..etc. It would seem to be that you are using your own Fact’s etc to promote your (and the others) point of view. Do your ‘homework’ and LOOK IT UP. Not hard to do. And the rest of ya too. READ!
      And again….NO VOUCHERS!!!

    10. Author: Joseph Barrett
      Comment:
      Ron is an idiot or a teacher. Let the money follow the child. If a kid goes to private school, 1) his parents should not have to pay school taxes and the state should give the parents the same amount of money they provide the public school system for their effort. Also, anybody that homeschools their child should get this money. The public school systems have a monopoly on our children and the power to tax. Not a good combo. They turn out an inferior product, work very little over the year, have the best health care, pensions, unions and pay. It’s just shy of the mafia.

      Rubbish Joe. Do your ‘homework’. PS inferior? Prove it. Again, NO to vouchers! Wake up people.

      1. @Ron, Yep, you have convinced me. If I ever get a chance to vote for a voucher system (as opposed to the current public school funding system), then I am voting for the vouchers. That is a good and proper goal of any debate. Thank you.

    11. Author: Wild Bill
      Comment:
      @Ron, Forced taxation and forced participation is the very essence of socialism. And look at the end product. These socialized education graduates can not do math, can not read cursive, can not think critically, do not know their own country’s history or civic duties, and do not know what limits are on government. They are, however, full of propaganda, narcissism, and fake facts.

      Look it up. Vouchers ,where used have had little effect, if even less in some cases compared to Public Schools.
      Not hard to Google Bill. NO to vouchers!

      1. @Ron, It is even easier to talk to real people. Google is someone else’s say so. It is not original research. I based my statement on my recent hiring experience in my own community. I just do not think that socialized education is the answer.

    12. I will agree with you as long as I get MY tax dollars back from the school or schools which I, as my child’s parent and foremost advocate, have determined are not going to best meet my child’s needs to then apply to whatever educational solution I believe best meets her or his needs.
      Under the current system, the largest portion of my county property taxes (highest in my fairly rural state and top third as percentage of property value, nationally) go to support education under the idea that everyone benefits from supporting public education just as everyone benefits from having public services like police, fire, trash collection, street maintenance, and so on available.
      The fundamental problem is if the sewers are backed up, if the fire or police departments have unacceptable response times, in general when public services are substandard we have at least some tools with which to effect change: voting in new county commissioners or city councilors as examples. And yes, the public employee unions and their incestuous relationships with political figures they buy have badly blunted those tools. But there are few places in the current system where the public’s ultimate control of their tax dollars is more badly damaged than in education. With “it’s for the children” as their sword and shield, almost any level of incompetence or malfeasance can be hidden or excused, and when the educational complex is called to account for their shortcomings, the answer is always “more money” regardless the question asked and any level of scrutiny suggested is decried as a full-scale attack from whomever made the suggestion. What’s to hide if we’re all working “for the children”?
      There are really two tragedies here; first, the sheer number of children being poorly served by our current system and second, the sheer number of truly dedicated teachers being failed by our current system. Not that all teachers are dedicated or that all children are failed–like many unionized groups, teachers unions’ tend to reward those performing to the average with little benefit to those who would attempt to do more and all too many children, with little or no structure, love, or discipline in the home, are destined to “just getting by” as a best case life scenario as they’ve no experiential reasons to expect or believe more is possible. Some will, of course, transcend their environment–his politics aside, who can fail to see Dr. Ben Carson’s life story as anything but inspiring and a tribute to both a bright child and his dedicated mother’s love and discipline? But it stands out precisely because it’s rare, unusual, not because children of impoverished single parent homes who attend school in poorly performing school districts regularly reach pinnacles of excellence in rarefied fields.
      Market systems don’t always work; but where they work they usually work very well. Why not expand the vouchers, charter schools, and other educational experiments to truly see what works best locally, regionally, and nationally if our children’s best educational outcome is the overarching concern? Why not reward the highest achieving educators and their educational models, then emulate them wherever possible? Why, in this of all countries, are we accepting of a “one big plan” mentality reminiscent of the worst of Soviet centralized production failures? Do we really think that if the commissars, backed by force of law and guns couldn’t make centralized planning and production work literally on pain of imprisonment or death, that the Department of Education along with the various teachers’ unions can make our education system work successfully on a national level? What better argument for hyper-local control by the actual stakeholders exists?
      The mere fact the education system isn’t more badly broken is frankly a testament to the women and men actually in the trenches trying to teach the kids as well as to the all too few parents showing up and being involved both at school and at home. Once you get much above that level, the system appears irretrievalbly mired in politics both personal and systemic–examples including teachers under contract walking out for higher pay or state school boards arguing about what aspects of national history to throw out to replace with viewpoints that are more politically correct and/or trendy in the educational community currently while kids nationally are struggling with basic math and writing as exemplified by falling standardized test scores and, yes, in many cases inadequate or poorly allocated funding at the highest levels impacting the services schools can provide the kids they exist to serve.
      Perhaps most telling is the appalling fact that what should be our brightest kids, those selecting to attend and being accepted to colleges are starting as freshmen taking remedial math and writing courses which they depressingly often struggle with or even fail. How can our public K-12 system, theoretically designed and continuing to bill itself as uniquely and exclusively fitted as the best option to prepare our kids for success in life, look at even just those data points without conceding their failures and committing to engaging in whatever fixes are necessary, even if the necessary fixes include those market driven solutions like vouchers, to the very real problems we all know exist?
      It’s a cliche, but a cliche for a reason: doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome is insanity. With respect to our current educational system, isn’t it time we stop the insanity?

    13. Ron is an idiot or a teacher. Let the money follow the child. If a kid goes to private school, 1) his parents should not have to pay school taxes and the state should give the parents the same amount of money they provide the public school system for their effort. Also, anybody that homeschools their child should get this money. The public school systems have a monopoly on our children and the power to tax. Not a good combo. They turn out an inferior product, work very little over the year, have the best health care, pensions, unions and pay. It’s just shy of the mafia.

    14. No vouchers! You want to send your child to another school (private or otherwise) ,you foot the bill. Not the taxpayer!

        1. Oh, poor Ron and John. The parent of a home-schooled or private-schooled child is THE taxpayer of note here and they should get THEIR money back to help educate (as opposed to indoctrinate) THEIR child, not support yours. “Vouchers are not fair to me,” you whine. No, the TAXES are not fair to THEM! Why should they have to pay for theirs AND yours. The vouchers DO NOT come out of YOUR pocket, they reimburse them for what THEY have already paid in. Are we reading from the right page, now?

          BTW, my wife is a 22-yr. public school teacher.

      1. My wife and I taught our children at home. The result was that our children received scholarships in the university they attended. We also paid our school taxes and, of course, received nothing in return personally. In fact we helped the neighbors by schooling their daughter until she could be enrolled in a home study program after she quit high school literally in fear for her life. So Ron, if I am paying for someone else’s child to be educated I would appreciate it if they were at least given a choice on how and where their child is educated. Government schools are not a good foundation for building a free country. We need to be smart, not just all the same like a bunch of automatons.

      2. @Ron, Forced taxation and forced participation is the very essence of socialism. And look at the end product. These socialized education graduates can not do math, can not read cursive, can not think critically, do not know their own country’s history or civic duties, and do not know what limits are on government. They are, however, full of propaganda, narcissism, and fake facts.

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