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71% of Moms Support Vouchers

Majority of moms vouch for vouchers
by Deborah Simmons
Washington Times
May 9, 2012

Remember the Ohio mom who was jailed and put on three years’ probation because she lied on her daughters’ school applications about where they lived? Well, a new nationwide poll of mothers sort of bails her out.

Seventy-one percent of mothers support school vouchers, which gives parents the option of choosing where their children go to school, and moms want those vouchers available to all families, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the nonpartisan Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and compiled by the Braun Research Inc.

Conducted April 17 to 24, as liberals were manufacturing the fictitious GOP “war on women,” women added their resounding support to the school-choice movement.

Among mothers, 61 percent support school vouchers; among non-mothers, 55 percent voiced support.

Less than a third of mothers (28 percent) said they oppose vouchers.

Also, the percentage of mothers who “strongly support” vouchers is nearly double that of moms who said they “strongly oppose” vouchers, 33 percent compared to 15 percent.

Moreover, when it comes to access to vouchers and scholarships, 71 percent back universal access by agreeing that “school vouchers or scholarships should be available to all families, regardless of incomes and special needs.”

And when it comes to the non-moms cohort, they, too, agreed that vouchers and scholarships should be available to all families, coming in at a strong 69 percent.

So, whether you are a parent or not, women are sending unwavering support for school choice in general and vouchers in particular.

Do you support vouchers?

For housing?

For substance-abuse treatment?

For the disabled?

For active and veteran members of the military?

For public feeding programs?

For day care services?

For senior citizens?

For funeral services for the indigent?

For college tuition?

For public schooling?


Local, state and federal governments use vouchers for all sorts of programs. School vouchers should be

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Vouchers Prompting Battles Nationwide

School vouchers spark growing court fights in US
by Kimberly Hefling
Associated Press
April 9, 2012

Students like Delano Coffy are at the heart of brewing political fights and court battles over whether public dollars should go to school vouchers to help make private schools more affordable.

He was failing in his neighborhood public elementary school in Indianapolis until his mother enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school. Heather Coffy has scraped by for years to pay the tuition for Delano, now 16 and in a Catholic high school, and his two younger siblings, who attend the same Catholic elementary school as their brother did. She’s getting help today from a voucher program, passed last year at the urging of GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels, that allows her to use state money for her children’s education.

“I can’t even tell you how easy I can breathe now knowing that for at least for this year my kids can stay at the school,” said the single mother, who filed a petition in court in support of the law. The state Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the law, which provides vouchers worth on average more than $4,000 a year to low- and middle-income families. A family of four making about $60,000 a year qualifies.

For all the arguments in favor of vouchers, there are opponents who say vouchers erode public schools by taking away money, violate the separation of church and state by giving public dollars to religious-based private schools, and aren’t a proven way to improve test scores.

Even among supporters, there’s dissension over whether vouchers should only be offered to low-income students on a limited basis or made available to anyone. There’s also division among black and Hispanic leaders as to whether vouchers help or hurt kids in urban schools.

Many opponents also dislike scholarship programs

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Voucher, Charter Victory in Louisiana

“Louisiana Senate votes to expand vouchers, public charter schools”
by Bill Barrow
Times Picayune
April 4, 2012

The Louisiana Senate handed Gov. Bobby Jindal sweeping victories Wednesday, giving him comfortable margins for his wide-ranging proposals to restructure primary and secondary education in Louisiana.

In a 23-16 vote, which followed a handful of amendments, senators voted to limit teacher tenure and overhaul educators’ compensation, while shifting hiring and firing authority from school boards to superintendents. The upper chamber followed several hours later with a 24-15 vote to expand public charter schools and establish a statewide program that uses the public-school financing formula to pay private-school tuition grants for certain low-income students.

The Senate action sends House Bills 974 and 976 back to the lower chamber, which is expected to approve the Senate versions today and forward them to Jindal, who is certain to sign them with great fanfare.

Should representatives reject the changes, a committee of lawmakers from both chambers would reconcile differences.

The proposals headline an agenda that would put the second-term executive and renewed national GOP player at the forefront of Republican governors who have successfully redefined how their states organize and pay for public education. They will become law barely a month after Jindal unveiled the initial version of the bills, an inarguably swift path for complex ideas that drew interest from large constituencies, from the business lobby and school-choice advocates to state teachers associations.

Senate Education Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, framed the proposals as necessary and fundamental. “This system has been stuck at the bottom for decades, as long as anyone can remember,” he said. “If this effort saves one child, then these eight hours we’ve spent on these bills … is worth it, every minute.”

Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said of children in poorly performing schools: “They are desperate for some option.”

‘A slap in the face’

Opponents chided

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No Vouchers For Alaska

“School voucher effort falters in Legislature”
By Pat Forgey
Juneau Empire
April 3, 2012

An effort to amend the Alaska Constitution to allow public money to go to religious schools stalled in the House of Representatives Monday, as supporters acknowledged they didn’t have enough support to pass it.

The House had been scheduled to vote on House Joint Resolution 16, but the measure was pulled from the calendar just before the scheduled vote.

“We didn’t have the votes to pass it,” said Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, the resolution’s chief sponsor.

The measure would ask the public to amend the Constitution to allow for publicly funded vouchers for private schools, including religious schools, something now explicitly prohibited.

Constitutional amendments require a supermajority of 27 votes in the House to pass and be sent to the voters.

Keller’s proposal may have suffered a blow earlier Monday, when House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Kenai, said he had “concerns” with it, though he didn’t say he’d oppose it.

Among the issues Chenault raised were whether some schools would be left with handicapped and other expensive-to-educate students, and whether there would be fairness in options available to students.

Most Democrats, and some Republicans, have already said they’d oppose it, often citing an unwillingness to take money away from public schools.

“In a year when funding is critical for public schools, it is especially frustrating to see this proposal,” said Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau.

Chenault told reporters Monday morning, just hours before the scheduled vote, that he had concerns about how such a measure might be implemented and whether it would be fair to all students.

If a child was able to take a voucher to any school and was admitted to any school regardless of what conditions or issues they may bring, being handicapped or other issues, I could probably support that,” he said.

Chenault said he was worried

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NJ: Vouchers Strike Back

“Long Debated, Legislature Revives Talk of School Vouchers”
by John Mooney
NJ Spotlight
New Jersey Spotlight, NJ
March 16, 2012
After a winter hiatus, a trimmed-down Opportunity Scholarship Act proposal is back in the legislature with a prominent new sponsor in the state Assembly but the loss of another in the Senate.

After a winter hiatus, a trimmed-down Opportunity Scholarship Act proposal is back in the legislature with a prominent new sponsor in the state Assembly but the loss of another in the Senate.

State Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden) yesterday said he filed a new bill that would include just seven districts as part of the pilot to provide scholarships — or vouchers — to low-income students to go to schools of their choice, public or private.

More notably, the second primary sponsor on the bill is state Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden), the Assembly majority leader who has said he would support a smaller pilot and now has his name attached to one.

“I am not a believer in vouchers , but I do believe in a few select communities where children are a prisoner of their own poverty and denied a right to an education,” Greenwald said yesterday.

The new Assembly bill comes a week after state Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. (R-Union) filed a new version of the bill he has long sponsored but also in fewer districts. But it was missing a key sponsor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), the longtime and prominent backer of the bill who gave it key support on the Democratic side.

Lesniak yesterday said he dropped his sponsorship for a variety of reasons, including the closing by the Archdiocese of Newark of another prominent Catholic school in his hometown of Elizabeth. St. Patrick High School, the basketball powerhouse, might have been saved if a voucher bill passed, he said. The

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Christie-Union Clash Reaches New Level

Videographers lurk outside New Jersey Education Association headquarters in hopes of trying to catch NJEA executive director, Vincent Giordano, in another embarrassing moment. The stakeouts are a result of the union leader’s comments about opposition to school vouchers. When asked about low-income families that can’t afford to send their children to schools that could work better for them, he says, “Life’s not always fair and I’m sorry about that.”

The comments drew a reaction from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said Giordano’s comments were “outrageous” and he should be fired or resign. The union leader quickly fired back at Christie, saying he should resign for bullying him.

Not long after this battle of words did cameras start appearing at NJEA headquarters. Cameramen have been identified and have connections to the Republican Party, prompting union spokesperson Steve Wollmer to ask if Republican Christie was behind these tactics.

The Statehouse Bureau captures Michael Drewniak’s response for Christie well: “The governor certainly had no part in it, but it is great to see NJEA’s crack public relations machine at work. They’ve succeeded in re-shining the light on Giordano and his cold-hearted, ‘life is unfair’ feelings about children trapped in failing urban schools. Bravo.”

Voucher Students Make Gains

“Voucher students improve on reading, study finds”
by Erin Richards
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 26, 2012

A sample of students in Milwaukee’s private voucher schools made gains in reading in 2010-’11 that were significantly higher than those of a matched sample of peers in Milwaukee Public Schools, but math achievement remained the same last school year, according to the results of a multiyear study tracking students in both sectors.

The results of the study are being released Monday in Milwaukee as the final installment of an examination of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, or voucher program.

The longitudinal study – meaning it tracked the same set of students over the testing period – was conducted by the School Choice Demonstration Project, a nonpartisan research center at the University of Arkansas. The group was selected by the state to conduct a long-term study of the voucher program and its impact on Milwaukee.

Rather than looking at scores of all students, the study matched a sample of 2,727 voucher students in third through ninth grades in 2006 with an equal number of similar MPS students. The study used a complex statistical methodology based on growth models.

The study matched the random sample of students and found their achievement growth on the state’s annual standardized test to be about the same in math over the next four years, and about the same in reading for three of those four years.

The latest year of data shows the reading bump for the voucher students and represents the first time an achievement growth advantage has been observed for either the public school sample or the voucher school sample over the four-year period, according to the study. That finding casts the program in a slightly more favorable light than when the state released the fall 2010 results of the standardized test, known

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Obama Administration Flips on School Vouchers

WASHINGTON, DC – In a stunning turn of events, the Obama Administration today reversed course on the issue of school choice and vouchers, detailing an ambitious plan to create national school choice options through a competitive grant program for states.

“Unfortunately, I had not actually sat down and read the research on school choice and achievement for myself,” Obama admitted during a press conference this morning. “I trusted the counsel of those who supposedly had. I can admit when I am wrong, and in this case, I see that offering options to parents is not only changing lives, but, on a large scale, can lift our entire school system to new heights. That’s exactly what this White House is all about.”

Joined at the podium by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the President outlined their proposal to launch a competition that, like its predecessor ‘Race to the Top’, asks states to collaborate with stakeholders to win gobs of cash. Only, this time, according to Duncan, “the stakeholders will not be teachers unions and school boards, but parents and students. We screwed up last time and relied on the input of those we thought had the best interests of kids in mind. We wanted urgency. What we got was a pile of promises that have not only been sitting in limbo for over a year, but in some cases abandoned entirely.”

Duncan also revealed that no outside consultancy would be accepted to boost the chances states have to win. “For ‘Race to the Top’, my staff was reading the same application over and over again. Only the state names changed.”

To prove his point, he brought up the winning applications of Maryland and Hawaii. “Honestly, we were just flipping coins at the end,” he said.

Details of the plan are still being put in place, but

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Snowe-d under

plowIn an attempt to win back her crown as Miss Congeniality among anti-school-choice Democrats, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) strolled to the well of the Senate yesterday evening to stab her fellow Mainer, Sen. Susan Collins, in the back by voting against the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Ms. Collins is one of the program’s chief champions. Despite the courage demonstrated by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Bill Nelson, Mark Warner, and Joe Lieberman – who voted FOR the voucher program – Sen. Snowe’s status as the lone Republican vote against the program was anything but courageous. Whether she likes Sen. Collins or not – or whether she wants to curry favor with Democrats or not (she does), Sen. Snowe’s vote today left DC kids… snowed under.

(In another bit of Maine news, yesterday, the state legislature again denied families another form school choice when their Education Committee endorsed an “innovative schools” bill which had all references to charter school removed before moving on to the main body.)


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