24 July 2007

It's Better than Sheff!

Before our readers put down the Wall Street Journal, take a look at this editorial by Professor Paul E. Peterson of Harvard University on achieving racial balance in our schools:

And the solution is simple: To achieve racial balance, let parents choose their school, and let oversubscribed schools admit students by lot. If parents of all races and ethnicities seek admission to a particular school at the same rate, then a lottery will ensure that the school's social mix reflects that of the school district, the very goal Seattle said it tried to achieve.

Professor Peterson answers some of the typical objections to school choice, such as that minority parents somehow won't be as responsible as white parents in putting their children in better schools:

Charter schools serve a higher percentage of minorities and disadvantaged students than traditional public schools. According to a Department of Education survey, 33% of charter school students are African-American, as compared to 18% in traditional public schools. For Hispanics, the proportions in the two sectors are 15% and 13%, respectively. Nor are the well-to-do crowding out the economically disadvantaged: 54% of charter-school students are income eligible for the subsidized lunch program, as compared to 46% of those in public school.

Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski likes the idea of school choice:

Converting Hartford to an all-choice system of schools, in which schools need to distinguish themselves to attract students, is key to Dr. Adamowski's plans for rejuvenating the district.

I don't blame him:

  • Hartford is the lowest performing school district in Connecticut.
  • It is the lowest performing district among the six urban districts in the state.
  • Only 15 percent of all third graders read at grade level.
  • Only 8 percent of Hartford tenth graders scored at goal on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT).
  • Only 29 percent of those who started high school in 2002 graduated in 2006.
  • Only 39 percent of Hartford graduates go to college; 20 percent of those attend two-year schools.
If Superintendent Adamowski succeeds, and I hope he does, then we'll have to ask our Democratic friends, "If school choice is good enough for Hartford, then how about the rest of the state?"

I'm sure our friend, Judy Aron, at Consent of the Governed would approve.


Judy Aron said...

I approve wholeheartedly, how did you know?

Additionally, it is really disgusting how Liberals and educrats continually push the notion that minority parents are incapable of taking care of their own children and that minority students cannot learn without rich white kids sitting next to them. The expensive programs that they push consistently reinforce those assumptions.

We don't need busing or regionalization or social engineering, or some "nouveau" education theories - we need schools that concentrate on teaching the basics, more choices in education (including non-government controlled education), and parents given the ability to choose freely from among those choices.

We also need the federal government to get out of education and stop micro-managing that which is not in their power to micro-manage in the first place. We also need to get the psychiatrists and big Pharma out of the schools!

Clearly the current Hartford model is not working at all. It's about time someone is looking at making some changes.