April 25, 2004


Early results on 'No Child': progress (ROSALIND ROSSI, April 25, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

Kids who won highly prized transfers out of failing Chicago public schools averaged much better reading and math gains during the first year in their new schools --just as drafters of the federal No Child Left Behind Law envisioned, an exclusive analysis indicates.

And, contrary to some predictions, moving low-scoring kids to better-performing schools didn't seem to slow the progress of students in those higher-achieving schools.

Even kids "left behind'' in struggling schools generally posted better gains in state tests once their peers transferred elsewhere.

"It's a win-win-win,'' said Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan. "I couldn't have asked for better results.''

Opposition to vouchers is opposition to educating poor kids. The only folks who oppose it are those who are irretrievably wedded to the idea that government is efficient, those who seek to prop up union boondoggle jobs, those who fear having black kids in their children's classes, and those who despise religion so much they'd rather see kids remain ignorant than see religious institutions provide educations. Unfortunately, that's pretty much a majority.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2004 10:19 AM

There are some Republicans opposed to vouchers, because they feel that what will cease to exist in the future is "private" schools. In other words whoever pays the piper (and govt. will be paying) gets to call the tune. Therefore you are seeing a nationalization of "private" schools.

Not a minor concern.

Posted by: h-man at April 25, 2004 6:44 PM

And it's your impression that government can't interfere with them unless there are vouchers?

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2004 7:07 PM

That would be my impression, yes.

We have private schools in this county where no pretense at education is made.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 25, 2004 7:35 PM

I would say that presently, without government funding there is no threat of removal of government funding, which might result in control shifting to government control.

Regarding certification of private schools, it is considerably more difficult for the government to dictate curriculum, and almost impossible for them to enforce other more petty efforts at social controls. Control of private schools will always be on the margins, but like slowly boiling a frog, the frog eventually will be like a public school.

Yes they can set standards for attainment of the final High School Diploma. Contrary to Harry's assertion failures in education, are greater in public schools than in private schools. If there is no "pretense at education" then what you are seeing is lack of effort by the State Agencies rather than lack of law.

Posted by: h-man at April 25, 2004 8:28 PM

By the way, OJ, the process of gradually underming private institutions, via government funding would be more obivious to you in the case of Churches themselves. Haven't you had discussions on this board, regarding the French government funding Mosques and the resultant control they exert.

Back to vouchers, Milton Friedman, who originally proposed school vouchers as a means of improving schools, stated emphatically that there was a huge risk of government control of private schools and that any legislation should be written in such a way as to prevent that.

Posted by: h-man at April 25, 2004 8:42 PM

There's no such thing as demand without supply. If vouchers became widespread, there would be plenty of school proprietors to deal with the demand. Religious, and otherwise.

Better think about what to do with the madrassas that would pop up in the Dearborn area, though.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 25, 2004 9:06 PM


Your point is? It's simple enough to just have vouchers follow children with no further interference other than required testing.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2004 10:59 PM


Precisely. What do you think the odds are taxpayer dollars won't go to funding some hatred spewing "school?"

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 26, 2004 8:55 PM


So what? If that's what parents want they should be able to send their kids there. Why lock them into a system that spews state-sanctioned hatred?

Posted by: oj at April 26, 2004 10:49 PM

Sorry to break into this philosophical discussion, but I'm looking at actual schools. In my county, at least, there is one, very expensive (over $20K/yr) private school that turns out preppies.

There are a whole bunch of other private schools, cheaper, and all of them are doing a terrible job of educating, down to the one where the kids surf all day. Not even a pretense.

I know, Orrin's gonna say, again, that parents will get what they pay for. Only they won't pay. I will.

I'd rather at least attempt to educate 'em. Let 'em surf on their own nickel.

I was amused, Friday, to listen to speeches from two men who condemned public schools. One said, "The place to look for really good private schools is where the public schools are really rotten."

He's chairman of the largest business in the county with a personal fortune of several hundred million dollars. The other guy is the leading economist in the state.

Funny, they were together in public high school in the 1970s. Somehow they rose above it.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 27, 2004 1:28 AM


He's right. Those neighborhoods tend to have Catholic schools (as in NY) which turn out better educated studfents for a fraction of the cost of the public school system. Create vouchers in your county and you'll have alternatives. Keep a government monopoly and you may not.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2004 7:59 AM


BTW, I'm in favor of vouchers. But they could result in your paying for schools that recruit terrorists out to kill you.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 27, 2004 8:12 PM


Why? Your public school education taught you to kill children.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2004 8:21 PM

Uh, actually, no, it didn't.

But if that little slice of ad hominem attack makes you feel better than addressing the issue raised, then why let a little fact like that get in the way.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 27, 2004 10:43 PM

You want to kill babies. Islamic fundamentalists want to kill you. The babies are innocent...

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2004 10:49 PM

I don't think that vouchers will lead to government control of private schools, since there are many private schools today that operate without any government subsidy. The parents are willing to forego their tax dollars that are dedicated to public education and pay for the private school on top of that. This option will always be there.

As long as the government (preferably the state governments, and not the federal) do not restrict the content of the education other than to require them to meet certification requirements which are purely academic and secular, I don't see anything wrong with vouchers. I see them as a "win-win" way to defuse the culture war, which is in large part fueled by the struggle for control of the public school curriculum.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 28, 2004 12:54 PM


"But if that little slice of ad hominem attack makes you feel better than addressing the issue raised, then why let a little fact like that get in the way."

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 28, 2004 5:42 PM

Killing is the issue.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2004 5:47 PM

No, the issue is the likelihood of taxpayer funded madrassas.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at April 28, 2004 10:23 PM

No, the issue is parents getting back their tax dollars to decide how their children will be educated. You may prefer that your murderous secularist ideology be inculcated in public schools; it's conceivable some people might choose to have their kids educated in murderous white supremacist or Islamicist ideology instead. Everybody wants to kill somebody.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2004 10:31 PM

Orrin, as even you must admit, I am a poster boy for the badness of Catholic schools. 14 years of them.

All I'm asking is for all you voucher enthusiasts to do is look around and ask what is being taught in existing private schools.

Robert is way overoptimistic if he thinks what little government oversight there is now is ensuring some sort of academic quality.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 29, 2004 2:36 AM