Summary: More money and increased government control has not been – and will not be – an effective model to improve our children’s education. The available data shows that increased federal spending and regulatory reforms have not significantly reduced the inequities in our education system across states and districts. Current efforts to increase the federal government’s role in education, raise funding levels, and grow the welfare state’s programs to compensate for the academic needs of districts and states will most likely produce stagnant and limited results. A localized approach improves the quality of our education system and will transform it into one that ultimately addresses the needs of all students, including Hispanics.
Principles for Reform:
- Competition: Encourage competition among existing sectors: traditional district, district school choice, charter schools, and private schools. Each has a role to play and expands the effective options for parents and students.
- Innovation: Foster policies that allow for innovation, and avoid one-size-fits-all classrooms. Accelerate measures that are resulting in the greatest gains in achievement: schools of choice and Teacher Induction programs that recruit from the top universities and eliminate barriers to entry for new companies that want to offer schools, teacher models, and technological advances. Insist on accountable and efficient expenditure of public education funding.
- Incentives/ Accountability: Change the incentives in the system that protects the status quo. Promote common metrics for defining success without imposing a federal system.
- Parental Involvement: Advocate for policies that facilitate parental engagement and empowerment through school choice options.
- Increase School Choice: Allow parents to transfer their children out of failing schools. School choice options enable and empower parents to take an active role in their children’s education.
- Allow Vouchers: Transform school aid to vouchers that students may use in the public or private school of their choice. School choice encourages healthy competition among schools in the same community.
- Scholarship Tax Credit: Provide a state tax credit to businesses and individuals that donate money to scholarship funds.
- Support Charter Schools: Charter schools receive 40 percent less funding than traditional public schools. By supporting the creation of charter schools, parents will have more options.
- Improve Teacher and School Accountability: Promote the evaluation of a teacher’s performance based on student outcomes and gains in student achievement. Knowing that they will be held accountable of their students’ success serves as a natural incentive for teachers to reject the status quo and aim for excellence. The DC Impact program is a case study that serves as a primary model. Likewise, promoting a transparent grading system across schools will improve outcomes.
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