The traditional public school model is a taxi fleet in an Uber world. It provides less options and worse service, often at a higher price.
We see schools consistently fail kids across the country, but Arizona has been somewhat insulated. Instead of locking parents and teachers into the rusty old industrial model, the Grand Canyon State remains at the forefront of school choice.
Ever since the legislature approved charter schools more than two decades ago, opportunities for students have exploded. They can attend their neighborhood public school, a college prep academy, or focus at an arts, STEM or vocational school.
Homeschooling has a long tradition while the far more modern distance learning is as close as your keyboard. Add in private school scholarships, granted by individuals and corporations, and our state serves as a model for education reformers across the country.
But perhaps Arizona’s most important innovation is the Empowerment Scholarship Account.
Gov. Doug Ducey appears to have solved one of the hairiest problems in Arizona politics: How to give more money to teachers—without raising taxes—and settle a long-standing billion-dollar lawsuit filed against the Grand Canyon state by its own school districts. Mr. Ducey, a former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, apparently knows how to wheel and deal.
Arizona ranks near the bottom of states by total per-pupil funding for K-12 education. Voters tried to fix the problem in 2000 in the usual way: by throwing money at it. They approved a referendum to raise the state sales tax to 5.6% from 5%, with all of this new revenue to be reserved for education. The measure was designed to ensure that school funding kept pace with inflation. The language required the legislature to annually raise the base-level school funding or increase other educated-related expenditures.
Does a President need a college degree? Political insiders on the right and left are asking this question as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker considers a run for the White House.
Reporter Aaron Blake highlighted his lack of a higher ed certification in today’sWashington Post, noting that the last president sans degree was Harry Truman:
The civil rights issue of our era is improving America’s schools. It is essential that all kids, rich and poor, have the chance to achieve the American dream.
To work toward that end, Gov. Robert Bentley recently signed the Alabama Accountability Act. The school choice package allows families with children attending failing schools to receive tax credits to help pay for attendance at a different public school or private school.
Whenever a high school grad is foolish enough to ask me for college advice, I share one simple tip: Watch Animal House.
Sure, it’s important to study and read and learn and intern and blah, blah, blah. But don’t get so pre-occupied with academic achievement that you miss out on the unique opportunity for fun, mayhem and terrible decision-making that college provides. Work hard during the week, but have a blast on the weekend.
Unfortunately, the White House doesn’t share my views about Animal House. In fact, according to the Obama Administration’s new campus rules, showing the John Belushi classic could be considered a crime.
The main problem with big government isn’t that it hurts the economy. Sure, progressive policies demand high taxes, huge deficits and humungous debt, but you’ll find the real damage beyond the balance sheet. Big government stunts the soul.
Instead of seeing how high you can fly, big government teaches you it's better to just get by. Rather than create your own rules, big government demands you follow theirs in triplicate. In a nation where big government guarantees a comfortable living, why go big when you can just go home?
If the goal of a welfare state is creating dependency, it’s succeeding with much of the millennial generation. Many of today’s college students are shunning the very idea of entrepreneurship.
Kids these days.
If they’re not playing World of Minecraft on a WiiTV, they’re blasting that crazy hippity hop “music” on their iSurface pads. Why that Bieber-Eyed Gagas band gives me a headache every time I dial up stations on my wireless. Would it kill them to play a traditional pop standard now and again? Now THAT was music!
By gum, if I didn’t know better I’d think every adolescent is hopped up on Four-Hour Monster Energy Pills and whatnot. As an aging member of the brilliant Generation X, I try to do my part. But when high schoolers tear up my azaleas with their Harlem Shake Mobs, all I can do is scream obscenities and hurl grapefruit at their heads. (Call the cops all you want, but it’s not my fault I lost the belt to my robe.)
The best read of the weekend was a New York Times opinion column. No, I’m not kidding.
Not only did token conservative Ross Douthat blow the lid on the self-perpetuating elitism of the Ivy League, he did it in the pages of the elites’ favorite Sunday morning newspaper.
Kids are weird — especially mine. Sure, I can identify personality traits as coming from me and my wife, but they’re jumbled up in odd ways. If we’re the original track, our kids are the dance remixes.
My eldest daughter is analytical and conscientious when work needs to be done, but fearless and funny in her off time. Her younger sister will procrastinate and goof off, but will create elaborate, amazing projects just for fun. Definitely related, but wildly different.
Seeing first-hand how different kids can be is what finally made school choice personal. If my own daughters’ learning styles are this divergent, just imagine kids from different parents, regions and backgrounds. Since a parent knows their children’s quirks better than any government can, moms and dads should be able to choose how and where the kids are educated.
Kasey Locke is a bright, beautiful six-year-old girl. But she faces challenges most kids never will. At age three, Kasey was diagnosed with autism.
￼When she started kindergarten at her Phoenix, Ariz., public school, Kasey’s parents worked with school officials to incorporate a new learning method that worked well for her. When the school didn’t apply these methods, her parents continued to tutor her after school.
Then Arizona created a revolutionary new school choice option called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Now, a portion of Kasey’s state education funding is deposited into a private account. Her parents can use that money to pay for school tuition, online classes, tutoring, books, and other expenses. Any leftover money can even be saved for college.