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Old 08-06-2010, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Philly
8,871 posts, read 7,704,688 times
Reputation: 2106

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
True, and we need to do something to make that harder, like bigger district and delocalized funding. But the bottomline is that something like a charter system gives wealthier parents a financial incentive to mix their children with less well-off children, whereas an unrestricted voucher system does not.
not really. and let's face it, parents are more concerned with the qaulity of their child's education than anything else. sure, there are always going to be some really wealthy people that don't want their kids mixing with lower classes but that happens today, everywhere, its just a fact of life. what we're talking about is middle and upper middle class. worse, the current system forces everyone to live apart, which is worse IMO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
It would be interesting to try a hybrid between charters and vouchers where the schools were required to have need-blind admissions and also required to grant sufficient financial needs-based aid, but allowed to take additional tuition from parent who could afford it. I'm not sure that is practical or whether many people would want that, but I'd be willing to experiment.
similar to what sweden has?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post

That's not an obvious claim. Properly assessed, charter schools and private schools don't necessarily do better than traditional public schools on average. I think the better argument is that charter systems can make it easier to experiment, easier to open new schools where needed, and so forth. But to make it work to the net benefit of the system, you really need to be willing to close down the charter schools that aren't doing better.
it's fairly obvious to those most affectd, which is what counts. to your last statement, absolutely. I think the time has come to become tougher with bad charters (and district schools) but also mroe rewarding with good ones, giving them longer charters and more leeway in enrollment.
Again, that is possible with charter schools. But it isn't possible with unrestricted vouchers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Eh, I think lots of people don't really know the details. In my experience, when talking about vouchers with people who want them, they are actually referring to something like charter schools. Which is fine.
charters are an end around the anti-voucher folks. charters are a decent compromise, and perhaps we shoudl work with what's already working here. OTOH, vouchers receive a lot of unfair criticism based on dubious claims largely from people in good districts and the powerful teachers' union.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
They do have a program like that in Sweden, but it hasn't taken off and is pretty controversial. Basically, at least to hear the Swedes talk about it, it is only popular among right-wingers and very religious people.
Edit: I see you edited. I agree that geographic flexibility is a good thing, but again, you can get that with charters, and don't need vouchers.
there were large scale protests against charters in Philadelphia but today, thousands of students are on waiting lists. it's also true there is no one right way or school to educate children. something the massive education factories from the industrial era do not recognize. from teh excerpts on sweden, it seems safe to say the % is much higher in urban areas brought down by low percentages in rural (and probably suburban) areas. in a place like, say, harrisburg you could live in midtown and send your kid to a safe school outside county borders.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Absolutely, but you can get private operators competing with traditional public schools with charter schools. You don't need vouchers for that.
no, you don't, but vouchers aren't necessarily a bad alternative either. I'm not against the charter school movement, I hope it keeps expanding. if you wish, I wouldn't mind seeing whole districts "charterize"
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:41 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,712,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
not really.
Sure it does. A charter system says to wealthier parents, "You can get $X per year per child from us to pay for their educations, for up to a total of 13 years per child, but only if you send them to a school which is open and free to other children." While some wealthier parents still won't take that deal, it is a pretty substantial incentive, particularly if you are middle or upper-middle class but not "if you have to ask how much it costs you aren't rich" rich.

Quote:
and let's face it, parents are more concerned with the qaulity of their child's education than anything else/
Yes and no. To really understand how much educational value a school is adding, you need to control for other relevant factors, including the socioeconomic class of the parents. If you do that, a lot of expensive private schools, including at the college and university level, aren't actually providing much if any additional educational benefit over available, much cheaper, public alternatives. And yet lots of parents simply shrug off this issue, or if pressed, will argue things like that the prestige of the school will help create opportunities, or that being around other better students is an inherent good, or so on.

The problem is that whether true or not, none of that is stuff we should be encouraging in our public education system, at least not through high school. And so while we can't actually stop wealthy parents from pursuing such ends, we don't have to give them a subsidy to that end either.

Quote:
worse, the current system forces everyone to live apart, which is worse IMO.
Yep. Although I don't think unrestricted vouchers are the right answer, I'm not defending the status quo either.

Quote:
similar to what sweden has?
I don't think so--unless I am missing something, they don't require need-blind admissions nor need-based financial aid from schools that take vouchers.

Quote:
it's fairly obvious to those most affectd, which is what counts.
I'm not sure what you are referring to, but one of the things people have found when looking at the performance of charter schools and voucher programs is that if you look at the sorts of parents who make use of them, and then see how the kids of similar parents fare in the relevant traditional schools, often a lot of the perceived performance gap goes away. In other words, this is a self-selection issue, and the highly-motivated parents in question may be giving too much credit to the school and not enough credit to themselves.

Quote:
I think the time has come to become tougher with bad charters (and district schools) but also mroe rewarding with good ones, giving them longer charters and more leeway in enrollment.
I very much agree on all of those points, including the parenthetical.

Quote:
charters are an end around the anti-voucher folks. charters are a decent compromise, and perhaps we shoudl work with what's already working here. OTOH, vouchers receive a lot of unfair criticism based on dubious claims largely from people in good districts and the powerful teachers' union.
I think there is some truth to the notion that charters have played out as a compromise designed to build more support for school choice in the face of opposition from various entrenched interests.

But I really do think you can make a perfectly straightforward argument for charters having the best combination of attributes. It is good to allow experimentation, increased flexibility, public-private partnerships, and so forth. But it is also good to insist that public education money go to schools open and available to all children regardless of their parents' financial means, with non-discriminatory admissions policies, and so on. It is also good to make it easier to close down failing schools. When you try to satisfy all those ends, I think charters legitimately make the most sense.

Quote:
from teh excerpts on sweden, it seems safe to say the % is much higher in urban areas brought down by low percentages in rural (and probably suburban) areas. in a place like, say, harrisburg you could live in midtown and send your kid to a safe school outside county borders.
Holding aside the vouchers versus charters issue, I very much agree we should be expanding the geographic scope of alternative schools wherever possible. Right now that would probably mean more city kids going to suburban schools, but I wouldn't count on that remaining true permanently.

Quote:
no, you don't, but vouchers aren't necessarily a bad alternative either.
As I noted above, I really do feel like charters are a much better alternative in light of our goals for public education. That said, if charters weren't an option, I might well support a voucher system.

Quote:
I'm not against the charter school movement, I hope it keeps expanding. if you wish, I wouldn't mind seeing whole districts "charterize"
I'm not necessarily against that concept, but I do think one thing the research has shown is that overall, the traditional public school system model really isn't that bad. It can certainly fail in specific circumstances, but when the financing is decent, standards are clear, parents are involved, and so forth, alternative schools have struggled to do much better (comparing apples to apples).

Which is not an argument against alternative schools, because if nothing else they are a way of keeping the traditional schools honest and giving parents an option if they fail. But I don't know if the ideal has to be no traditional schools--it could be something like 60% traditional schools, 40% alternatives (those are arbitrary numbers, but hopefully my point is clear).
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