Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WP and WWC on Vouchers/New CEP Report Analyzes Achievement Gaps on State Tests/Following Senate Education Committee Chairman Piccola's Press

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog - Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/14/2010
Where education reform is heading: From extreme to extremum
By Valerie Strauss
If you want to understand where public education reform is heading, look south and east to Florida, where the governor-elect, Rick Scott, is talking about a new funding student formula that is more likely to destroy the public school system than accomplish anything else.
Scott wants to expand a voucher program that allows low-income and disabled students to use public money to go to private schools to ALL students.
One of the ironies of this whole idea is that the folks who support it are big supporters of “accountability” in education. That means grading schools and students and teachers on standardized test scores. But private schools aren’t subject to this type of accountability.

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) released four updated quick reviews this week, including this one on the Milwaukee Voucher Program
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program Longitudinal Educational Growth Study Third Year Report—This study examined whether students in Milwaukee who use a voucher to attend private school have greater mathematics and reading achievement than students who attend public schools. This quick review has been updated with a revised WWC study rating based on information provided by the study authors regarding baseline equivalence of the analysis samples. The WWC study rating was changed to meets WWC Evidence Standards with Reservations. The study authors found no significant differences between math and reading achievement of students who used a voucher to attend private school and comparison students from Milwaukee Public Schools.

New CEP Report Analyzes Achievement Gaps on State Tests
Today, the Center on Education Policy released a report analyzing state student achievement trend and gap data for states and the District of Columbia in math and reading for grades 4, 8, and high school.  The data is analyzed by student race, ethnicity, income, and gender from as early as 2002 through 2009 for states with three or more years of comparable testing results. The report also examines whether state-level results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) confirm the trends found on state tests.  Also available are 50 state profiles with detailed student achievement data and appendix tables showing the performance of various student groups on 2009 state tests.  In addition, short video clips of CEP’s President and CEO Jack Jennings explaining the main findings of this study are available.

The report, State Test Score Trends through 2008-09, Part 2: Slow and Uneven Progress in Narrowing Gaps, and related materials are posted on the CEP Web Site ( under “What’s New” and can be downloaded free-of-charge.

Following Senate Education Committee Chairman Piccola's Press
Last week, Mr. Piccola sat down with PA Independent for an exclusive interview on the future of education in the Keystone State, the new attempt to institute school choice and the frustration of lawmakers with the state's education unions.  The Senator also published an OP/ED on his website in support of the “parent trigger”.


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