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View Full Version : Indiana's Great Education Leap


grundle
05-06-11, 09:39 PM
Right now, Indiana spends about $9,000 per student per year on its public schools.

Under this new law, parents who are unhappy with their child's public school can get a voucher for half that amount to send their child to a private school of their choice. And once their child leaves the public school, the public school will no longer get that $9,000.

So this could save money for taxpayers, as well as give children a better education.

While I generally oppose government funded vouchers for private schools because I worry that such vouchers could end up leading to government control of private schools, I am still curious to see how this new plan turns out.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704463804576291740817601146.html

Indiana's Great Education Leap

The Hoosier State passes vouchers and dissolves teacher tenure.

May 6, 2011

School choice is gaining new momentum, and one of the biggest political breakthroughs came this week in Indiana. Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation Thursday that includes[/b] far-reaching reforms in teacher assessment and tenure, as well the most ambitious voucher program in memory.

Under the new law, the state will provide 7,500 publicly financed scholarships of up to $4,500 a year to Hoosier elementary school kids who have been in public schools for the last two semesters and then want to attend another school, public or private. That scholarship number rises to 15,000 in the second year, with no cap in the third year and beyond. High school students can also qualify for a voucher of up to 90% of the state public school support, which varies by school district.

The thinking here is that parents have to give the public schools a try, but then their children shouldn't be trapped by inferior schools merely because of where they live. The voucher is means-tested by family income up to a maximum of roughly $60,000 or so, with lower-income families getting a larger payment. Mr. Daniels says about half of all Hoosier school children will qualify.

Parents can take the money to any certified school in the state, including religious schools. Though the unions will no doubt sue to block the reform, the law should pass both state and federal constitutional muster because it is religiously neutral and parents choose the school for their children.

Another common objection to vouchers is that they cost the state money by spending twice for each student, but Indiana's plan may save money because Indianapolis public schools now spend about $9,000 per student, or twice what the vouchers will cost. The law also changes the state's school funding formula so it will be based on current year enrollment, giving public schools an incentive to improve to retain students or lose money.

The Indiana law also extends school choice in another way, by authorizing a $1,000 tax deduction for families that pay out of pocket for private school expenses. This helps middle-class parents pay for books, computers and the like if their children don't attend public schools.

There's also a major expansion of charter school opportunities. The law allows a state commission and the state's universities to authorize new charters, which now number only 63 statewide. It also reduces one of the main disadvantages that charters have compared to traditional schools by giving them access to unused school buildings, and it gives parents new rights to petition to turn a persistently failing school into a charter.

The reform also makes major gains on teacher accountability, ending the last-in, first-out layoff policy that caused the firing of the state's teacher of the year. School districts will be able to introduce pay for performance, using a new evaluation system based on student progress, not teacher tenure. The angel will have to come in the details of these evaluations, which the union will try to game, but this at least gives reformers a fighting chance to break up a status quo that now makes it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers.

All of this is a major achievement for Mr. Daniels and his Republican legislative majority. Answering to the unions, Democrats tried the flee-to-Illinois strategy to block the reform but Mr. Daniels treated them with gentle scorn and waited them out. The unions are sure to try to capture and water down all of this, so reformers will have to monitor the implementation. But the future just got considerably brighter for Indiana's children.

DthRdrX
05-07-11, 12:24 AM
In my area the only result you would see would be the private schools falling into the toilet as they bus more and more public students in.

kvrdave
05-07-11, 04:34 AM
I don't have a problem with this provided the state reduce the regulations on public schools to the same level they regulate charter and private schools. But I find it to be a knee-jerk reaction to complain about how poor public school performance is compared to others while we hamstring the ability of public schools compared to their counterparts. That isn't "free market competition" that advocates say they want.

Superboy
05-07-11, 09:29 AM
Our culture just does not care about education.

xmiyux
05-07-11, 10:29 AM
I don't have a problem with this provided the state reduce the regulations on public schools to the same level they regulate charter and private schools. But I find it to be a knee-jerk reaction to complain about how poor public school performance is compared to others while we hamstring the ability of public schools compared to their counterparts. That isn't "free market competition" that advocates say they want.

This.

One of my biggest complaints is there is this huge focus on the graduation rate and keeping students in school who absolutely do not want to be there. Those students disrupt, lead others into more trouble than they would get in on their own, skip class to commit crimes, and generally require a huge amount of attention that is then not being spent on actually teaching. My "radical" proposal is to go a good cycle (say 10 years) and don't worry about the graduation rate. If a student is continually aggressive, truant, violent, etc. then boot them. They can get their GEDs if they care.

That would free up teachers to actually teach. Then start actually monitoring the teachers to see they are actually doing their jobs and not showing movies every day or being worksheet teacher. If policies have the teeth to remove the disruptive refusing students than the teachers wouldn't have that excuse and I think it would be easier to fairly evaluate their performance. It would also communicate to the students that school is for actually learning... not simply selling drugs and organizing fights to video for Youtube.

That is one of the biggest strengths imo of the private school system. They can actually get rid of the small percentage that will disrupt the entire rest of the school. Public schools can't.

kvrdave
05-07-11, 12:00 PM
Our culture just does not care about education.

:lol: Based on what?

Jason
05-07-11, 12:29 PM
:lol: Based on what?

The fact that this guy has a show on the history channel

http://media.ticketmaster.com/tm/en-us/dbimages/46411a

is proof that education is not a priority to the American people.

fishingleatity
05-07-11, 12:39 PM
That is one of the biggest strengths imo of the private school system. They can actually get rid of the small percentage that will disrupt the entire rest of the school. Public schools can't.

??? My high school kicked out a BUNCH of people. Including some that DID want to graduate but had a few run ins with faculty

jfoobar
05-07-11, 02:32 PM
My default response to suggestions such as this is "go for it, see if it will improve things." Generally speaking, it seems the contentions of the status quo in public education is repeatedly argue against just about any change that anyone suggests, which is in essence defending what we have now.

I'd rather see a bad change that is implemented with good intentions than no change at all. I do stress the "good intentions" part, however, since there is always potential for ulterior motives on the other side of this argument as well.

I agree with much of what xmiyux says, however. "Charter schools" are not a cure-all for children who, due largely to circumstances beyond their control, have very little chance of succeeding in school no matter where they go. I think there are far too many parents, especially within the lower middle class, that think (because basically the media keeps telling them so through strong implication) a "good school" is some sort of guarantee of achievement for their child.

kvrdave
05-07-11, 07:29 PM
Yeah, at a state level, I'm all for it. Let states try things out and find out what works. Maybe some day a state will start a "You're the parent, you need to take some responsibility, too" campaign.

Dr Mabuse
05-07-11, 07:46 PM
http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii18/drmabuse06/GradesSchool.gif

al_bundy
05-07-11, 07:49 PM
Maybe its different now but when I was in school we had different classes for kids who got good grades and those who didn't. The latter were usually beyond help

movielib
05-07-11, 07:55 PM
The fact that this guy has a show on the history channel

http://media.ticketmaster.com/tm/en-us/dbimages/46411a

is proof that education is not a priority to the American people.
Irrefutable argument. Not to mention that for the History Channel this is a step up.

Groucho
05-07-11, 08:11 PM
The fact that this guy has a show on the history channel

http://media.ticketmaster.com/tm/en-us/dbimages/46411a

is proof that education is not a priority to the American people.Hey now, he's like a walking history book with the constitution tattooed to his bicep.

xmiyux
05-07-11, 08:29 PM
??? My high school kicked out a BUNCH of people. Including some that DID want to graduate but had a few run ins with faculty

How long ago are we talking? When I was a student... yes. Now, unless a weapon is brought to school or a felony is committed they are often still in school.

It is a local issue though since expulsions are run through county BOE and if you have one that doesn't want to expel (because it guarantees -1 student graduating). There have been situations where a student has threatened a teacher and they have been pulled from that teacher's class... but are still in school.

xmiyux
05-07-11, 08:41 PM
"Charter schools" are not a cure-all for children who, due largely to circumstances beyond their control, have very little chance of succeeding in school no matter where they go. I think there are far too many parents, especially within the lower middle class, that think (because basically the media keeps telling them so through strong implication) a "good school" is some sort of guarantee of achievement for their child.

This again. My big problem with the really bad disruptors is they directly take away time I can focus on those students who just need some guidance. There are a good number of low achieving students who want some help and a good teacher could be that father-figure, role-model, or even just someone to hold the kid accountable for the first time ever. What I see happen is the bottom 1% who seem committed to become criminals will disrupt and keep that bottom rest of the low achieving kids from seeking that help.

I agree, a charter school, or having the best of the best students isn't a panacea at all. The flip-side of that though - getting rid of the worst students I believe would have a big impact.

shadowhawk2020
05-07-11, 09:47 PM
I think this will start well, but does this open the door for "schools" to open and take these vouchers to stick kids in front of the History channel?

I think eventually the same crappy students that are in public school will filter into the private schools, making them no better than the public schools.

Plus I can see the private schools becoming overwhelmed with the number of extra students.

kvrdave
05-07-11, 11:19 PM
Maybe its different now but when I was in school we had different classes for kids who got good grades and those who didn't. The latter were usually beyond help

Yet still taking up resources. They ought to have ditch digging classes to at least get them ready to graduate.

Ranger
05-08-11, 12:03 AM
One of my biggest complaints is there is this huge focus on the graduation rate and keeping students in school who absolutely do not want to be there. Those students disrupt, lead others into more trouble than they would get in on their own, skip class to commit crimes, and generally require a huge amount of attention that is then not being spent on actually teaching. My "radical" proposal is to go a good cycle (say 10 years) and don't worry about the graduation rate. If a student is continually aggressive, truant, violent, etc. then boot them. They can get their GEDs if they care.
You mean alternative schools? Is that a recent thing? I've heard of them only in the last decade. Seems to just be a step up from juvenile hall and a way to isolate trouble-makers.

My problem with education is that K-12 is way too long, IMO, there's a lot of filler and repetitive learning, trim it down to K-10. That's still plenty of time to prepare students for college, and more students will graduate and resources will be saved.

fishingleatity
05-08-11, 12:04 AM
How long ago are we talking? When I was a student... yes. Now, unless a weapon is brought to school or a felony is committed they are often still in school.


10 years ago... I graduated in 2001 in Northern California. I know at least one person had no felonies and I'm pretty sure almost none of the other kids that got kicked out did either. The worst I heard about was taking pills at school..

MrX
05-08-11, 12:28 AM
You mean alternative schools? Is that a recent thing? I've heard of them only in the last decade. Seems to just be a step up from juvenile hall and a way to isolate trouble-makers.

Alternative schools are a joke. The kids sit in front of a computer all day and do tutorials or work on worksheets. I've had kids who would misbehave because they wanted to be moved to an alternative school because they knew they wouldn't have to do any work.

xmiyux
05-08-11, 10:13 AM
Alternative schools are a joke. The kids sit in front of a computer all day and do tutorials or work on worksheets. I've had kids who would misbehave because they wanted to be moved to an alternative school because they knew they wouldn't have to do any work.

That is another one of my complaints. Many of the alternative schools are alternative - but not schools. They are often doing the same thing as in regular school just with any rigor removed and in a few evening hours a day. If a student doesn't care about grades or education why would they not prefer something super easy that can be wrapped up in a couple hours every evening/afternoon?

It is a waste.

Groucho
05-08-11, 10:48 AM
Just because a student is in a private school doesn't mean they can be kicked out. I went to a private high school and a kid got kicked out...only to return the next week after a "generous" donation from his parents.

NotThatGuy
05-08-11, 11:02 AM
If a kid doesn't want to be in a traditional school, they should be given the option to attend a technical school. Some kids are a great fit for technical school, but they aren't given the opportunity. Other kids may not be cut out for schooling in general, so they should be given the opportunity to earn a GED while they work somewhere. And then there are the gangbangers/hoodlums/whitetrash-esque kids who do nothing but taint the school system. Those kids should be able to get kicked out if they fail out of traditional/technical/and or GED equiv. training. There is no sense throwing more money down the drain.

movielib
05-08-11, 11:34 AM
Many of the alternative schools are alternative - but not schools.
Hmm, like alternative medicine is an alternative to what works.

xmiyux
05-08-11, 11:57 AM
If a kid doesn't want to be in a traditional school, they should be given the option to attend a technical school. Some kids are a great fit for technical school, but they aren't given the opportunity. Other kids may not be cut out for schooling in general, so they should be given the opportunity to earn a GED while they work somewhere. And then there are the gangbangers/hoodlums/whitetrash-esque kids who do nothing but taint the school system. Those kids should be able to get kicked out if they fail out of traditional/technical/and or GED equiv. training. There is no sense throwing more money down the drain.

This is another travesty. Technical programs are losing their funding left and right. When I was in high school in the 90s there were all kinds of small engine classes, sheet metal, welding, etc. classes offered. Those are all, for the most part, gone. I think that is also one of the contributing factors to the problem. There are many kids/people who are hands on and could have a very successful career doing mechanic style work (heck, they will make way more than I will ever make). To insist they sit in a classroom, do bookwork, and are going to college is stupid.

Hmm, like alternative medicine is an alternative to what works.

Perhaps, perhaps... :lol:

Ghostbuster
05-08-11, 02:35 PM
Great education leap? As far as I know, there is little or no evidence indicating that vouchers are effective. For example, below are selected quotes from the MPCP Longitudinal Educational Growth Study: Fourth Year Report, published in March 2011. The report is available online at the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform Web site (http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/SCDP/Milwaukee_Research.html).

The School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP), based within the Department of Education Reform, is an education research center devoted to the non-partisan study of the effects of school choice policy and is staffed by leading school choice researchers and scholars.

The MPCP, which began in 1990, provides government-funded vouchers for low-income children to attend private schools in the City of Milwaukee. The maximum voucher amount in 2009-10 was $6,442, and 20,899 children used a voucher to attend either secular or religious private schools.1 The MPCP is the oldest and largest urban school voucher program in the United States.

This report presents the fourth year analysis of academic achievement in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP). The analysis compares a sample of MPCP students to a sample of very similar (and in most observable ways statistically identical) MPS students. A comparison of inter-sector means and other descriptive statistics did not indicate significant differences between the school sectors in terms of student achievement growth in either math or reading three years after they were carefully matched. This was also true of multivariate models that included baseline test scores, student demographic variables, and whether the student switched schools or was retained in grade. Although there was some difference in the success of MPCP schools in affecting reading achievement at the higher levels of student achievement, the main and overwhelming conclusion is that thus far we have observed no significant difference in student achievement growth, as measured by standardized tests, between voucher-receiving private school students and a matched sample of students in MPS.

Anecdotes aren't worth much, but I attended a parochial school in Indianapolis through the 8th grade before attending a public high school. In my opinion, there was no significant difference in the quality of instruction that I received.

grundle
05-08-11, 03:18 PM
http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii18/drmabuse06/GradesSchool.gif

Heh heh.

It's funny because it's true.

grundle
05-08-11, 03:19 PM
I think this will start well, but does this open the door for "schools" to open and take these vouchers to stick kids in front of the History channel?



Only if the parents let them.

Ghostbuster
05-08-11, 04:33 PM
Across the Web and on TV, I keep reading and hearing comments about "trying new things." I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. However, market-based reforms such as "school choice" and merit pay have already been implemented in large school systems, and there is ample evidence that they are ineffective. It's not hard to understand why. These reforms do not necessarily change what happens inside the classroom. Nor do they change what happens outside the classroom (at home). Today's prominent reformers basically say, "We don't know what works, but if we light a fire under the butts of enough principals and teachers, they'll figure it out...eventually." These reforms have garnered support and praise, not because they make a significant practical impact, but because they align with a particular ideology (and are fairly easy to implement).

For people interested in today's poisonous brand of school reform, I strongly recommend the following antidote: The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch, NYU education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education (under President George H.W. Bush). Ravitch actually supported No Child Left Behind and market-based reforms until she closely examined the data on their effects. Here's an interesting article by the same author about the tendency of prominent reformers to reject data they don't like (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/ravitch-when-reformers-reject-data-they-dont-like/2011/04/27/AF4wg5zE_blog.html).

BKenn01
05-08-11, 04:55 PM
What this will do is drive up the cost of private school for those of us that choose to send our kids already. The schools will absorb the money and due to higher demand the prices will go up.

kvrdave
05-09-11, 01:17 AM
What this will do is drive up the cost of private school for those of us that choose to send our kids already. The schools will absorb the money and due to higher demand the prices will go up.

Interesting point. Easy college loans have certainly driven up the price of college tuition. I've seen some legislation that limits the tuition of the schools to that of the amount of the voucher. Not sure if these particular one has any limits. Otherwise, I'd expect it to go up by at least half the cost of the voucher.

Josh-da-man
05-09-11, 02:09 AM
Just because a student is in a private school doesn't mean they can be kicked out. I went to a private high school and a kid got kicked out...only to return the next week after a "generous" donation from his parents.

But at least he's from a better class of delinquents.

Josh-da-man
05-09-11, 02:16 AM
Irrefutable argument. Not to mention that for the History Channel this is s step up.

Things I learned from the History Channel:

Any primitive drawing that shows something round in the sky or a human figure with a big or oddly shaped head is irrefutable proof that we have been visited by aliens for thousands of years.

Those aliens built the pyramids and Stonehenge.

And, even though those aliens have been traveling here for centuries, across thousands of light years, they regularly crash their spaceships. Apparently, despite being thousands of years ahead of us in technology, they can't drive for shit.

The world will end on December 21, 2012. They've done about two hundred programs on this very subject.

Nostradmus' prophecies are completely and precisely accurate. That guy who tries to look like Nostradamus and writes all of those books about him is a good authority.

Truckers driving through snow is really interesting.

So are lumberjacks.

Amy Mainzer (from "The Universe" and Jet Propulsion Laboratory) is kind of hot.

jfoobar
05-09-11, 07:09 AM
Or..."How I Got On TV and Finally Profited From that Previously Useless History Degree."

movielib
05-09-11, 07:27 AM
Things I learned from the History Channel:

Any primitive drawing that shows something round in the sky or a human figure with a big or oddly shaped head is irrefutable proof that we have been visited by aliens for thousands of years.

Those aliens built the pyramids and Stonehenge.

And, even though those aliens have been traveling here for centuries, across thousands of light years, they regularly crash their spaceships. Apparently, despite being thousands of years ahead of us in technology, they can't drive for shit.

The world will end on December 21, 2012. They've done about two hundred programs on this very subject.

Nostradmus' prophecies are completely and precisely accurate. That guy who tries to look like Nostradamus and writes all of those books about him is a good authority.

Truckers driving through snow is really interesting.

So are lumberjacks.

Amy Mainzer (from "The Universe" and Jet Propulsion Laboratory) is kind of hot.
Don't forget that everybody except Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK.

BearFan
05-09-11, 11:09 AM
You forgot Hitler had a pit in the currect Czech Republic where he was going to lower a bomb that would reach the Earth's core and destroy the planet.

Sadly, not making this up, see Cities of the Underworld (what should be a really cool show, but they jack it up with nonsense like this).

wishbone
05-09-11, 11:17 AM
Anecdotes aren't worth much, but I attended a parochial school in Indianapolis through the 8th grade before attending a public high school. In my opinion, there was no significant difference in the quality of instruction that I received.Did you attend IPS?

fishingleatity
05-09-11, 11:39 AM
Or..."How I Got On TV and Finally Profited From that Previously Useless History Degree."

I never understood this...
I had a professor that used to work for Fortune 500 companies, he was the person that did the hiring.

According to him what the degree was in made almost NO difference, the only time it did was if they thought a degree might interfere with you learning the way they do things.
ie, they need a computer tech, they DONT want someone with an advanced computer degree because they might be set in their ways..

Maybe it does matter for some places, but at least in his experience it was the least important factor

movielib
05-09-11, 02:24 PM
You forgot Hitler had a pit in the currect Czech Republic where he was going to lower a bomb that would reach the Earth's core and destroy the planet.

Sadly, not making this up, see Cities of the Underworld (what should be a really cool show, but they jack it up with nonsense like this).
That might work because the Earth's "interior" is "several million degrees" according to Al Gore:

http://theautopsy.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/al-gore-earths-core-is-a-few-million-degrees-c/

Josh-da-man
05-09-11, 05:24 PM
Don't forget that everybody except Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK.

I haven't seen too much JFK stuff on the History Channel lately. I do remember when it was the all Hitler channel, though.

movielib
05-09-11, 05:41 PM
I haven't seen too much JFK stuff on the History Channel lately. I do remember when it was the all Hitler channel, though.
I think they carried a lot of very stupid shows around the 40th anniversary (2003).

xmiyux
05-09-11, 07:14 PM
The world will end on December 21, 2012. They've done about two hundred programs on this very subject.



I am so sick of hearing about this. When I was in Mexico last summer we were getting this awesome guided tour of the observatories at some of the ruins and all everyone could focus on for their questions was 2012 crap. Nevermind the fact that we were standing directly in front of awesome and completely observable scientific coolness... we had to ask about the calendar crap.

crazyronin
05-09-11, 07:50 PM
Things I learned from the History Channel:


Truckers driving through snow is really interesting.

So are lumberjacks.




http://i636.photobucket.com/albums/uu89/vail_lyke/Leave_Britney_Alone.png
Leave the Pelletier Brothers alone!

Ghostbuster
05-09-11, 10:17 PM
Did you attend IPS?

No, I lived in Lawrence Township.

Creek Rat
05-10-11, 12:21 AM
The issue with the $9,000 per student really comes down to inability of a the school district to pick and choose which students they accept.

Learning disability. Check.
Physical handicap. Check.
Developmental handicap. Check.
Parents that don't give a shit. Check.
Students with substance abuse issue. Check.
Student in the supply side of Substance Abuse. Check.
Your basic, stupid kid. Check.


Believe it or not it doesn't cost all that much to educate an average student. The problem is all the "special" kids bringing the issues above cost a district a lot of money, money that a private school doesn't have to spend because they can just choose to not accept these kids. That $9,000 will be $10k then $11k as the "decent" students opt for private school leave the train-wreck kids in public schools with ever increasing per student costs as the pool of good, cheap students gets smaller and smaller.

fishingleatity
05-10-11, 12:29 AM
Perhaps, perhaps... :lol:

<iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JiPvqQ5KCRM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Ghostbuster
05-13-11, 10:52 PM
Diane Ravitch recently spoke at Indiana University. I recommend watching the video (http://www.indiana.edu/~video/stream/launchflash.html?format=MP4&folder=vic&filename=dian_ravitch_lecture_20110426.mp4). It's long, but it's worth it.

Note how she continually cites evidence from research. Ironically, the research showing lackluster results from voucher and charter schools is being funded by pro-voucher and pro-charter foundations.

creekdipper
05-14-11, 12:38 AM
Alternative schools are a joke. The kids sit in front of a computer all day and do tutorials or work on worksheets. I've had kids who would misbehave because they wanted to be moved to an alternative school because they knew they wouldn't have to do any work.

You mean they are the school equivalent of Dilbert's Wally?