Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fordham Institute:What's the Place of Accountability in School Voucher Programs?/Research for Action: Vouchers - Facts, Figures, and a Summary of the Research/Univ.of Arkansas:New Report Finds Little Difference Between Charters, Regular School Achievement

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1, the “Opportunity Scholarship Act” is expected to be introduced this week. A summary of SB1 provided by Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeff Piccola  demands accountability only from traditional public schools.  Private and religious schools receiving taxpayer funded “Opportunity Scholarships” would have no accountability for assessing or reporting student test scores and academic performance to the State of Pennsylvania, the Federal government or the public.  Additionally, private and religious schools receiving taxpayer funded “Opportunity Scholarships” would have no accountability for reporting how those public funds are being spent or requirements to operate under state  Sunshine Laws. This March 2009 report from the Fordham Institute discusses those issues:

Thomas B. Fordham Institute March 2009
When Private Schools Take Public Dollars: What's the Place of Accountability in School Voucher Programs?
Voucher opponents often argue that it's unfair to hold public schools accountable for results under the No Child Left Behind Act and various state rules while allowing private schools that participate in voucher programs to receive taxpayer dollars without similar accountability.
We at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute don't entirely buy that argument but we also believe there's room for a reasonable middle ground. It's time for the school-voucher movement to embrace accountability done right, just as most of the charter-school movement has done. But it's also vital to preserve the capacity of private schools to be different and not to deter them from taking children who would benefit.
Read the full report (PDF, 458 KB)     Read the report in a nutshell (PDF, 153 KB)

Research for Action Report Sept. 2010

Spotlight: Educational Vouchers - Facts, Figures, and a Summary of the Research

Educational vouchers have gained increasing currency in recent months as a potential school reform strategy in Pennsylvania.
Vouchers could have dramatic effects on education in the commonwealth, and could have implications nationwide.
The following 14 questions and their answers provide important information about vouchers that can inform debates and discussions about this critical education reform issue.
Research for Action (RFA) seeks to use research as the basis for the improvement of educational opportunities and outcomes for traditionally underserved students.
Our work is designed to strengthen public schools and postsecondary institutions; provide research-based recommendations to policymakers, practitioners and the public
 at the local, state and national levels; and enrich the civic and community dialogue about public education.

University of Arkansas School Choice Demonstration Project December 2010
New Report Finds Little Difference Between Charters, Regular School Achievement
University of Arkansas researchers studying school-choice programs in Milwaukee have found little difference in the academic achievement of students attending independent charter schools and students attending regular city schools.  The new report is part of the School Choice Demonstration Project, a national research organization based at the university. Another new report by the project analyzes the cost-effectiveness of the city's school-voucher program.

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