Category: Education

Get Real About the Federal Education Budget

By Larry Sand Did you know that the Trump/DeVos budget is manifestly cruel to children and catastrophic to public schools? Are you aware that Trump/Devos are planning to slash funding for public schools and use voucher schemes to funnel taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private schools? I didn’t “know” these things until the two national teachers union leaders told me. Climbing out of the union rabbit hole and venturing back to the real world, one regains perspective. And the reality is that the Trump/Devos budget cuts – which, of course, will have to run through the Congressional obstacle course before becoming law – don’t warrant the union leaders’ outlandish hyperbole. Not one iota. In a nutshell, the budget does away with… View Article

Education is Key to Redeeming Lives in Prison

By Gerard Robinson and Van Jones Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges. Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50-75 percent of them end up incarcerated again within five years. In today’s knowledge economy, higher education is one of the first rungs on the ladder to economic freedom and social… View Article

Education Reform Requires More Than Tweaks

By Benita M. Dodd It’s no secret that a 2017 legislative session begun with a smorgasbord of meaningful education reforms disintegrated into crumbs for Georgia families struggling to find viable alternatives when public schools fail to meet their children’s needs. This week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law some education legislation that survived anti-choice sentiment under the Gold Dome. Last year, voters defeated a constitutional amendment for a statewide “Opportunity School District” covering Georgia’s chronically failing schools. It fell victim to a well-funded opposition campaign. Foes themed their opposition around Georgians’ fierce loyalty to local control, claiming it would take money and control from the local school board and superintendent. Lost in the kerfuffle, unfortunately, was that providing parental… View Article

Giving Perspective to Scholarship Programs

By Benjamin Scafidi Benjamin Scafidi A recent opinion piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked, “Are vouchers a failure?” Any answer requires examining the best evidence on the topic and placing research results into a reasonable policy context. First, the best evidence: Eighteen “gold-standard” studies followed students who were randomly offered a voucher to attend a private school and compared their outcomes with students who wanted a voucher, but were randomly denied one. Fourteen of these studies reported positive effects from vouchers for some or all students. Two studies found no real effects, and two studies – both from Louisiana – found negative effects. Interestingly, the Louisiana voucher program is the most regulated voucher program in the country, with… View Article

Testimony on Education Savings Accounts

Senate Education and Youth Committee Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Testimony of Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation I would like to focus my testimony on the impact of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) on public schools. Regarding student achievement, research shows that school choice improves outcomes modestly for public school students. As of last May, 33 empirical studies had been published that examined the effect of school choice on students’ academic outcomes in public schools. Of those, 31 found choice improved public schools. One found no visible effect. One found a negative effect.[1] Regarding fiscal impact, being fiscally conservative, we certainly appreciate any concern about the cost to taxpayers of any new state programs. Fortunately, any negative… View Article
By Jenn Hatfield When President Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, the clock started ticking on the 282 promises he made on the campaign trail. While his every move has garnered significant media attention, Trump has also pledged to make what happens in Washington matter less. In his inaugural address, he declared, “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.” So it’s only fitting to give a bit more attention to what governors are saying – especially on K-12 education, where Trump and Secretary of Education have both promised to respect state autonomy and make good on the states-rights spirit of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As a… View Article
Georgia Public Policy Foundation News Release For Immediate Release February 7, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes DeVos as Secretary of Education Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.  “The vote for Betsy DeVos is a vote for America’s children. “Mrs. DeVos has exercised her constitutional right to put her money where her mouth is – into school choice – and we’re excited to see her promote her preference to give families options for their children’s education. “Competition is a rising tide that lifts all boats; there’s especially no reason for an… View Article
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield’s column in the Sunday edition on February 5, 2017 focuses on the Foundation’s new study by Ben Scafidi, “Balancing the Books in Public Education,” which points out that the Georgia Department of Education website underreports public education spending. Wingfield’s column can be accessed online here (subscription required); it is reprinted below in its entirety. Why school spending has soared, but teachers’ salaries haven’t By Kyle Wingfield The fault line dividing public opinion about school choice and other education reforms is spending. Proponents say we spend plenty today, with mediocre results. Opponents say the results would improve if we spent more. The latter argument largely boils down to paying teachers better, hiring more of… View Article

Expand Retirement Options, Shrink Teacher Doldrums

This commentary appeared in the February 1, 2017, edition of The Marietta Daily Journal. By Benita M. Dodd PAGE, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, has surveyed its members and the findings, reported in its January/February 2017 newsletter (PAGE One), are depressing. The survey found that nearly half of teachers (45 percent) say they are unlikely to remain in education for the next 10 years. Sadly, a majority – 53 percent – also said they would not recommend a career in education. The report notes, “With the current teacher shortage and continuing teacher pipeline issues, these statistics are of great concern to PAGE.” The survey also found that 59 percent of the respondents oppose converting the Teacher Retirement System from… View Article
Marietta Daily Journal reporter Mary Kate McGowan covered the Foundation's Leadership Breakfast on January 26, 2017, which celebrated National School Choice Week and highlighted public education funding in Georgia. Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi, a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, unveiled his study that revealed the Georgia Department of Education underreports education funding on its website. Published in full below is The Marietta Daily Journal article and Dr. Scafidi's letter to the editor in response to comments in the article. State education department reporting called into question By Mary Kate McGowan CUMBERLAND — As school choice proponent Betsy DeVos awaits her confirmation as the next education secretary, the argument for school choice is heating up at the local level.… View Article

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