Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Here are several interesting articles around the web in the last month that you might enjoy:

More Voucher Research - and It's All Bad

If you have not heard, House Bill 590, the "scholarship" bill that would have ushered in vouchers to the state of Idaho, was held in the Senate Education Committee. Every education stakeholder with the exception of the Charter School Network and Bluum
(essentially the same organization operating under the Albertson Foundation umbrella) opposed the bill, including the Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Education Association, and the Idaho Board of Education.

In some form, this bill will likely be back, no matter how bad an idea it represents. But two new articles cast further aspersions on the idea of vouchers. "Congressional legislation seeks to fund school vouchers for military families — despite major opposition from military families" was featured in Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post. Remember that vouchers for military children were part of Idaho's failed attempt in HB 590.

A new summary of the failure of vouchers around the country comes from the Center for American Progress, and is titled "The Highly Negative Impacts of Vouchers". The article, by Ulrich Boser, Meg Benner, and Erin Roth, highlights the negative impacts of vouchers in Louisiana, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and then adds in the Washington D.C. program's failures. The authors make this remarkable statement:

"How bad are school vouchers for students? Far worse than most people imagine. Indeed, according to the analysis conducted by the authors of this report, the use of school vouchers—which provide families with public dollars to spend on private schools—is equivalent to missing out on more than one-third of a year of classroom learning."

The Upshot: Aging America, Reach of Racism for Black Boys

In "Why Outer Suburbs in the East and Midwest Have Stopped Booming, NY Times Upshot contributor Robert Gebeloff paints a picture of how increasing numbers of suburbs are aging and seeing more deaths than births.

“It is one of the biggest puzzles of my career as a demographer,” said Kenneth Johnson, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire who has studied the various components of population change for years.  “Each year when new data comes out, I expect to see a significant uptick in births, but I have yet to see it.”

It's interesting to note that we have focused a few times on stagnant kindergarten numbers statewide that have led to stalled overall enrollment.

The Statesman carried this article , but if you missed it, "Extensive Data Shows Punishing
Reach of Racism for Black Boys" is fascinating. Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy write about the results of a wide-ranging and groundbreaking study led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. The study itself covers considerably more ground than does the New York Times article, and is definitely worth a read.

From the study summary:

"Among those who grow up in families with comparable incomes, black men grow
up to earn substantially less than the white men. In contrast, black women earn
slightly more than white women conditional on parent income. Moreover, there is

little or no gap in wage rates or hours of work between black and white women."

Generational Analysis from Pew

The Pew Research Center publishes some excellent demographic research. "How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago" , by Richard Fry, is a great example. Fry provides information about work habits, education, marital status, service in the military, and urban-rural living status.

For example, here's a screenshot of an interactive chart in the article. You can see that this shot is of ethnic distributins for the generations in 2017. There are a number of other comparisons to view, as well.

Op-Ed on School Choice

Natalie Hopkinson is a Professor at Howard University, and a resident of the District of Columbia. In this HuffPost op-ed entitled "School Choice’ Is A Lie That Harms Us All", she writes about her personal struggle with choice and avoiding D.C public schools, and the realization she has come to about education in America.

She pulls no punches:

"Parents and policymakers need to overcome the collective amnesia that has taken root in our society about the long, sordid story of school choice. So many of the choices that we make, personally and collectively, are about running away from this history. At some point, instead of fleeing and hunting for the next shiny scheme, we have to stay and conquer the inequities and disadvantages that have continued to accumulate in this country.  

If we think we can all outrun it, I have some bad news."