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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Vouchers are fine if receiving schools are held accountable, Askew Institute scholar argues



Florida's school choice programs, from corporate tax credit scholarships to magnet schools, are in full force and show no sign of receding. But the performance of some of the programs is measured differently than others. And that's not good public policy, argue Askew Institute executive director David Colburn and Brian Dassler, chief academic officer of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a public school.

In a piece exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times, the men suggest that all the schools including those receiving vouchers must be held to the same level of accountability:

"(T)here is something basically wrong when public funds are earmarked for these private schools and the state fails to insist on accountability measures for student achievement outcomes.

"How can we be sure that these schools actually deliver on what they promise without such data? How will we know if these private schools are adding educational value when no comparable assessment is provided?

"The answer is we cannot.

"So why are policymakers reluctant to insist on the same standards for private schools accepting vouchers that they require of public schools?

"Those supporting vouchers contend that government should not be monitoring private schools and telling them what to do. Normally that might be true, but when these schools are receiving public funds that would normally go to public schools, the public has every right to know how well those children are doing in comparison with their classmates in public schools."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 6:39am]


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