Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Worse Than You Think

The below article solidifies are stance on why vouchers are so important for the children of Croydon and SAU 43. As reported by our superintendent at lasts months school board meeting about 2/3 of our students are performing at or above proficient level on performance. He seemed satisfied with this level. That means 1/3 of the children are being left behind. Parents should at least have the option of choice many may still may choose Croydon schools and SAU 43 schools but parents should have options. If a person is on food stamps they are not required to shop at only one store. If a person is on medicare or medicaid they are not restricted to one hospital or doctor. It is time we push forward in the 21st century. We in Croydon need to think outside the box.

The following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Worse Than You Think
WSJ: October 24, 2007; Page A20

Proponents of educational choice tend to focus on the underprivileged, which is understandable given that low-income kids are overrepresented in failing inner-city public schools. But an emphasis on the plight of the poor can leave the impression that middle-class public school students are doing fine. And that would be a false impression, according to a new book-length study by the Pacific Research Institute, "Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle-Class Needs School Choice."

Conventional wisdom holds that upscale communities tend to have "good" schools, and parents often buy homes in expensive neighborhoods so their kids have a shot at a decent public education. But the PRI study, which focused on California, found that in nearly 300 schools in middle-class and affluent neighborhoods, "less than half of the students in at least one grade level performed at proficiency in state math and English tests."

Many of these schools were located in the Golden State's toniest zip codes, places like Orange County, Silicon Valley and the beach communities of Los Angeles. In areas such as Newport Beach, Capistrano and Huntington Beach, where million-dollar houses are commonplace, researchers found more than a dozen schools where 50% to 80% of students weren't proficient in math at their grade level. In one Silicon Valley community where the median home goes for $1.6 million, less than half of 10th and 11th graders scored at or above proficiency on the state English exam.

Schools serving middle-income kids are also doing a poor job of preparing them for higher education. Some 60% of freshmen in the California State University system need remedial courses. And it's not because they grew up in Watts. At Dos Pueblos High School in ritzy Santa Barbara, only 28% of high school juniors tested college-ready for English in 2006, slightly better than the 23% of students who did so at San Marin High School in Marin County, where the median home price recently hit $1 million.

"Many middle-class parents don't think they have a stake in the school-choice debate," says Lance Izumi, the lead author of the study, in an interview. "They assume their schools are doing better than they are." In reality, these families would benefit from vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other educational options as surely as the inner-city single mom.

And the competitive pressure would help make the surrounding public schools better. "When you show people in these communities how their schools aren't doing so well, how they're not getting the bang for their buck," says Mr. Izumi, "they can begin to see how the debate over school choice affects them, too."

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