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Thread: Low scores don't deter Wis. voucher supporters

  1. #1
    Absolutely Sane Ziggy Stardust's Avatar
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    Default Low scores don't deter Wis. voucher supporters

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Supporters of a Milwaukee school-voucher program said Tuesday they weren't deterred by test results showing that kids in those programs perform worse than students in public schools.

    The results, released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, showed that voucher students are nowhere near their public school counterparts — even in the Milwaukee public schools they left.
    The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations tests were given to 430,000 students in third through eighth grade and 10th grade last fall. This is the first year that voucher students, about 10,600 kids, also took the tests. Supporters criticized the results, saying the test gave a single snapshot instead of a more meaningful comparison over time.

    The test results showed that for all grades, 34.4 percent of voucher students were proficient or advanced in math compared to Milwaukee public schools' 47.8 percent average and the 43.9 percent average for low-income Milwaukee public schools students. Statewide, 77.2 percent of public school students scored proficient or advanced in math.
    I can't get the format of the thing clear, so just visit the site.

    Should the program be extended despite these results? Should there be a breather and look at the flaws of the program and the reason for these poor results? Would the money be better spent in improving public schools?

    Or just keep trucking since it's popular with your base?
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    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Do we know why parents select into the voucher system instead of staying in the public school systems? What if they do so because their kids are having difficulties in the public school system? You need to compare equivalent groups before you can make any kind of definitive statements about the effect of vouchers.

    Coincidentally, throwing more money at the public school system has time and time again failed produce noticeable results.
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    Absolutely Sane Ziggy Stardust's Avatar
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    I take it you're reasoning the sensible take a breather appraoch and look into the matter further, don't go extending this program yet until the flaws are apparent.

    And yes, just throwing money at anything won't do much good, but that's not a very good argument. It would eliminate all forms of investment everywhere. I think everyone agrees that when someone says: "better spent in improving" he doesn't mean just funnel a wad of cash that way. He probably means that the money would be used to ... improve. As in make it better than it previously was. The exception to this would be that you think there is no possible way to improve public schools, so any effort would be a waste. But that would mean that previous attempts have in your opinion done the best they could have done, without any results.

    That'd be a bold statement.
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    Vouchers is a freedom issue. Parents should have some say in what school and how their kids are educated. Of course not all voucher programs will always produce better results. Some will do better, some will do worse and some will have similar outcomes.

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    Absolutely Sane Ziggy Stardust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Of course not all voucher programs will always produce better results. Some will do better, some will do worse and some will have similar outcomes.
    Look for the term "average" on the internet. Then read the article again.

    edit: On second thought, don't. I see your "lallalalala I'm not listening" and I fold.

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Vouchers is a freedom issue.
    Yes, people need the freedom to keep society ignorant and supplied with an inferior education.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
    I can't get the format of the thing clear, so just visit the site.

    Should the program be extended despite these results? Should there be a breather and look at the flaws of the program and the reason for these poor results? Would the money be better spent in improving public schools?

    Or just keep trucking since it's popular with your base?
    You have to look at the voucher program's actual goals, which are not to improve math scores. Duh. Better metrics would include:

    a. How much tax money got channeled into religous schools?

    b. How many voucher students got to pray in class?

    c. How many voucher students were given religous education in class, including anti-evolution instruction?

    d. How much education money got channeled into schools that do not have unionized teachers?
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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
    I take it you're reasoning the sensible take a breather appraoch and look into the matter further, don't go extending this program yet until the flaws are apparent.
    Don't go extending or do extend?

    But there are a number of reasons why the data doesn't serve as an indictment of the voucher system.

    1) Time- The test was administered in the fall for just a select number of grades. A student could have used vouchers to join a new school in September, then be tested in November. In which case the results reflect the bad education they were getting before. But more importantly, the point of these programs is to measure progress over time. This is just a legally-mandated test they gave to a bunch of people, without tracking people who have been part of this program for a while.

    2) Regional issues- The entire region seems to have significant gaps compared to the rest of the state/nation.

    34.4 percent of voucher students were proficient or advanced in math compared to Milwaukee public schools' 47.8 percent average and the 43.9 percent average for low-income Milwaukee public schools students. Statewide, 77.2 percent of public school students scored proficient or advanced in math.

    On reading scores, 55.2 percent of voucher students were advanced or proficient compared with 59 percent of Milwaukee public school students. Among Milwaukee's low-income public school students, 55.3 percent proficient or advanced. Overall, 83 percent of public school students in Wisconsin hit those marks.
    4) Demographics- The voucher program is only open to low-income students, which means there may be other issues in their home life impeding their education (EG their parents are unemployed or work two jobs and are never around).

    5) Recipient schools- It's important to remember that there is no such thing as a "voucher school". These are schools that already exist, which parents choose to send their kids to. Significantly, the tests were only administered to the students at the schools who are having their education subsidized with vouchers.

    6) Big picture- If there is a school-wide failure going on, the point of school vouchers is to allow parents to confront the issue head-on and get their kids into a better school instead of banging their heads against the wall for crucial years of their child's education. The point of vouchers is to allow parents to quickly confront and respond to a school not doing a good job, instead of trapping their kids in a school that doesn't have its act together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
    Look for the term "average" on the internet. Then read the article again.

    edit: On second thought, don't. I see your "lallalalala I'm not listening" and I fold.

    Congratulations.
    Awesome you concede.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    Vouchers is a freedom issue.
    Abortion is a freedom issue. See how productive that was?

  11. #11
    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    Abortion is a freedom issue. See how productive that was?
    Simple. He can argue back the freedom of the unborn child to live out it's life trumps the freedom of the mother to avoid 9 months of baby carrying and seven hours of labor. See, he still supports freedom.
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    I'll expand Dread's (1) and (6):
    Parents who see their child not doing well in their assigned public school will take the voucher and move to another school. Not all public schools, even in the same city, have the same performance! Per-student tracking can and should be done, and I'm 100% positive that it will show that more choice means a better outcome. And then there are parents who take the money and home-school -- that says nothing about charter schools, for instance.
    Last edited by agamemnus; 04-14-2011 at 08:15 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by agamemnus View Post
    I'll expand Dread's (1) and (6):
    Parents who see their child not doing well in their assigned public school will take the voucher and move to another school. Not all public schools, even in the same city, have the same performance! Per-student tracking can and should be done, and I'm 100% positive that it will show that more choice means a better outcome. And then there are parents who take the money and home-school -- that says nothing about charter schools, for instance
    So here are a few questions I want you to answer:

    1. What happens if their child doesn't do well in the next school they are moved to?

    2. What happens when either no more students can move to the "best" school, because it has been filled to capacity?

    3. What if as more students move to the "best" school, the amount of students doing well there begins to decline, and more students start doing poorly, because class sizes are getting larger?

    4. What happens to the students who were doing well at the non-"best" schools, when their school either closes due to no longer having the funds to stay open, or their grades start declining because the school can no longer afford to educate them effectively, due to no longer having as large of a budget from parents moving their kids out of that school using vouchers?

    5. How are the non-"best" schools supposed to improve themselves when money is being funneled from them to other schools via parents using vouchers to take their kids elsewhere?

    6. Say a non-"best" school managed to turn itself around. How would it go about getting back its old students or increasing its enrollment after being considered a non-"best" school? Do you expect them to advertise?

    7. Say a child does bad regardless of the school they are sent to, how should the schools treat this student? Should the parents use their vouchers to float their child around endlessly because it must be the school's fault?

    8. How is this actually going to remove bad schools, and bad teachers? The colleges in the United States essentially act this way, with people spending their money to go where they can, and we still have colleges that run the gamut from poor to superior, why do you assume pre-college schools would end up any differently?

    9. What if all the local schools a parent could send their child to are equally non-"best", how are vouchers going to do anything about this?

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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Having just seen Waiting for Superman tonight for the first time and being moved almost to tears, I have to ask: Why do you doubt the common sense of parents and teachers so much?

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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Good questions, Illusions. Vouchers sound like an interesting option that could work for lots of students, but not sure how that makes overall education better. And since school districting varies so much by states, it would look totally different in county-wide school systems vs municipal/township districts. The transportation and public busing alone sounds like a logistical nightmare, because let's not forget that parochial students have access to busing.

    When the popular schools have more applicants than openings, I suppose they hold a lottery for the voucher kids? That sounds harsh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Having just seen Waiting for Superman tonight for the first time and being moved almost to tears, I have to ask: Why do you doubt the common sense of parents and teachers so much?
    Many horrible and/or stupid people exist.

    Why do you doubt that pre-college schools would end up any differently than American colleges? How are vouchers so much more different than money that these pre-college schools would not turn out to run the gamut from poor to superior like this already existing example?

    You could also answer the questions.

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    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    A public school provides a poor education. What's the consequence?
    A charter school provides a poor education. What's the consequence?
    Hope is the denial of reality

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    My questions first would be nice. I'd really like you to explain how public and private colleges can manage to run the gamut of poor to superior, when they are competing for money, yet public and private schools would not do so when they are competing for vouchers (which would equate to money).

    Then the other questions would be nice too.

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    Nihilist Nessus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    A public school provides a poor education. What's the consequence?
    A charter school provides a poor education. What's the consequence?
    What's the consequence of creating an economic under-class?
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    So here are a few questions I want you to answer:
    I'm assuming that we are talking about private as well as public schools here, right? For private schools, the government would only be doing funding allocation so the answer will differ...

    1. What happens if their child doesn't do well in the next school they are moved to?
    That's the parents' decision.

    2. What happens when either no more students can move to the "best" school, because it has been filled to capacity?
    Lottery until the school expands physically. Meanwhile, reward the teachers there with money based on long-term contracts to encourage them to stay in that school specifically. Losers stay in the current school or have to choose a different school, or maybe there will be 2 lottery rounds...

    3. What if as more students move to the "best" school, the amount of students doing well there begins to decline, and more students start doing poorly, because class sizes are getting larger?
    Allocate the same amount of money per child in the same city and in the same grade before school starts. Keep a sensible per-teacher ratio. (lottery again)

    4. What happens to the students who were doing well at the non-"best" schools, when their school either closes due to no longer having the funds to stay open, or their grades start declining because the school can no longer afford to educate them effectively, due to no longer having as large of a budget from parents moving their kids out of that school using vouchers?
    It will downsize according to how many children are there.. if students move away, that means fewer students per teacher.

    5. How are the non-"best" schools supposed to improve themselves when money is being funneled from them to other schools via parents using vouchers to take their kids elsewhere?
    There are fixed expenses and variable expenses. Schools can downsize the variable expenses by transferring teachers if necessary, but they shouldn't be penalized for fixed expenses, like the cost of heating. Every school should get the same amount of funding per student, with small teacher-or-administrator/principal bonuses or contracts as I mentioned earlier, so they can improve just fine.

    6. Say a non-"best" school managed to turn itself around. How would it go about getting back its old students or increasing its enrollment after being considered a non-"best" school? Do you expect them to advertise?
    Standardized tests. Massachusetts has them yearly and posts all the results online. That helps inform the parents.

    7. Say a child does bad regardless of the school they are sent to, how should the schools treat this student? Should the parents use their vouchers to float their child around endlessly because it must be the school's fault?
    There would be an algorithm to marginalize such students in scoring for teacher/principal bonuses, with an adjustment depending on relative rates of actual people (parents) physically moving around school districts so as not to penalize such districts.

    8. How is this actually going to remove bad schools, and bad teachers? The colleges in the United States essentially act this way, with people spending their money to go where they can, and we still have colleges that run the gamut from poor to superior, why do you assume pre-college schools would end up any differently?
    Bad teachers without aforementioned contracts (or with, in extreme circumstances) could be fired by administrators who themselves would be held accountable to a review committee. Schools that don't work for a number of years could try different options on a case-by-case basis, such as removal of the principal or even shutting down the school altogether. (if it's determined to be simply a problem with the physical site of the school -- near a highway, near high-crime area, etc.)

    9. What if all the local schools a parent could send their child to are equally non-"best", how are vouchers going to do anything about this?
    Even marginally better schools would still get a boost.

    In Massachusetts, charter schools have a number of benchmarks yearly and must create annual review things. It's been done... they don't represent a large percent of the schools as of yet, though. Further, in Massachusetts there are very many private K-12 schools already. The presence of a private school nearby, or the public school performance of a certain city or town drives people to buy houses there, if they aren't poor and can afford to buy a house in the suburbs...

    If you/re talking about inner city schools like in my city, where poor people (or anyone else now trapped here because of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac hellish government appraisal scheme) not only cannot switch houses but they cannot even sometimes switch schools in their own city, student performance is not so great comparatively. Your mileage may vary though. Some schools are very good, some aren't -- depends on the principal, teachers, building conditions, building location, and the rest of the students. Again, the first problem in public schools is that there is not much of an incentive to perform.

    The second problem, kind of stemming in part from the first, is that kids who for instance can't or don't want to learn English or math must be accepted into their local school and there is not enough of an apparatus or mechanism in place to handle it. That's really outside the scope of being solvable by the educational system alone, though... HOWEVER, just because this problem exists does not mean that the first problem should not be fixed, or at least tried-to-be-fixed!

    Even with the mess of a few highly populated inner cities and their not so great-performance schools, we do have the best schools in the country apparently.

  21. #21
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Hey aggie, not to sound too crass by making personal observations....with your degree in economics and so many policy ideas you think would fix our ills.....have you found a job yet?

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    Absolutely Sane Ziggy Stardust's Avatar
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    Not as much crass as irrelevant?
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    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    I thought it was relevant. For someone with a degree in economics opining about education in economic terms.

  24. #24
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    My questions first would be nice. I'd really like you to explain how public and private colleges can manage to run the gamut of poor to superior, when they are competing for money, yet public and private schools would not do so when they are competing for vouchers (which would equate to money).

    Then the other questions would be nice too.
    Except no one is under any obligation to go to a public college (or any college for that matter). Public colleges therefore compete with both each other and with private colleges. Depending on zoning rules, a given public school doesn't compete with anyone (for students whose parents aren't loaded).

    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    What's the consequence of creating an economic under-class?
    That's a fait accompli. Don't see why any leftist would want to perpetuate the status quo. The entire purpose of charter schools is to give poor people an alternative to a public system that has failed the kids of other poor people for generations. You can talk all you want about throwing money to fix public schools, but the reality is that this would take a lot of time even if people went about implementing it. Meanwhile, the students in those schools are seeing their life prospects destroyed.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  25. #25
    You can have school choice without vouchers...
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  26. #26
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    In a self-contained system where schools gain little positive from getting more students. Districts are the ones that hand out money to schools. As long as a student transfers from one public school to another in the same district, no one is punished in any way. As a result, where's the incentive to improve?
    Hope is the denial of reality

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    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
    Not as much crass as irrelevant?
    It looked like a fairly relevant albeit thoroughly unfair attack on his competence to discuss the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    You can have school choice without vouchers...
    Can we? Do we? I know that the only way around here to have a choice between public schools is to sell your home and move to another school's assigned area. That is largely the only way to "choose" a public school, beyond competition to get your child into a magnet school or whatever related restricted program your district might be offering. Things may be a bit different in some of the really large urban districts, but mostly the really large urban districts have even more performance problems than the rest of the system.
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  28. #28
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    Hey aggie, not to sound too crass by making personal observations....with your degree in economics and so many policy ideas you think would fix our ills.....have you found a job yet?
    What a vicious attack. I wonder how you'd react to a similar one.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    Can we? Do we?
    Its called open enrollment. My county uses it because, thankfully, the voucher program is restricted to low income and continously "failing" schools at the moment. It allows any student to enroll in any public school as long as they can show they are able to regularly attend that school, with preference given to students who would live in that school's community (no forced busing). This allows parents to move their students away from neighborhoods they don't agree with, or drop them off at a school thats closer to their work instead of their home.
    Schools within the same county end up competing against each other, but its still kept within the public system, so the effect of advertising can kept minimal, especially with sports. The idea is that the better the teachers perform, the better their student base will be, so the better/easier their job will be.
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 04-14-2011 at 07:56 PM.
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  30. #30
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    When the popular schools have more applicants than openings, I suppose they hold a lottery for the voucher kids? That sounds harsh.
    As opposed to charter schools now, which run lotteries because parents are desperate to find a school in their district that actually provides a flexible, quality education.

    Quote Originally Posted by Illusions View Post
    Many horrible and/or stupid people exist.

    Why do you doubt that pre-college schools would end up any differently than American colleges? How are vouchers so much more different than money that these pre-college schools would not turn out to run the gamut from poor to superior like this already existing example?

    You could also answer the questions.
    Different than college in what way? I don't see anyone proposing a voucher system for college tuition.

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