The War on Poverty drags on. President Trump’s budget proposes heavy cuts in domestic spending, but not to compensatory-education programs, which aim to lift the achievement levels of disadvantaged students. Since 1980 the federal government has spent almost $500 billion (in 2017 dollars) on compensatory education and another $250 billion on Head Start programs for low-income preschoolers. Forty-five states, acting under court orders, threats or settlements, have directed money specifically to their neediest districts. How much have these efforts helped?
For Democrats and Republicans alike, charter schools have long provided a happy compromise between vouchers for religious schools and no school choice at all. Charters give families an alternative schooling option but remain publicly funded, secular institutions authorized by government agencies. They have been warmly endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
Alexis de Tocqueville concluded in the 1830s: “The situation of the Americans is entirely exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be put in the same situation.”
Disadvantaged students make up the fastest growing segment of American children today — and a robust workforce and a skilled economy will depend on their academic success. California is doing things differently — a bold experiment to bring America’s largest public school system back from the brink. Is it working?
January 24, 2017
By Doug Gavel
President Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education has accelerated the discussion around the issue of charter schools, for which DeVos has long advocated in her native Michigan. Charter schools are publicly funded, quasi-independently-operated community-based schools intended to serve as incubators for novel teaching and learning models, but their effectiveness within the public education system has been an issue of longstanding debate.
When Donald Trump selected an advocate for school choice, Betsy DeVos, to be secretary of education, he was acknowledging what many parents have noticed for some time: District-run public schools aren’t educating students well.
A study by Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson on the long-term impact of school vouchers on college enrollment and graduation won the 2016 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) Prize awarded for Best Academic Paper on School Choice and Reform.
Matthew M. Chingos, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute and Paul E. Peterson, Director, Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University, have been selected as the winners of the 2016 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) Prize for their paper “Experimentally estimated impacts of school vouchers on college enrollment and degree attainment” awarded for best academic paper on school choice and reform.
This article is part of a new Education Next series on the state of the American family. The full series will appear in our Spring 2015 issue to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” (generally referred to as the Moynihan Report).