February 2003 School Reform News

Issue Date: 
February, 2003
Newspaper PDF: 

The February 2003 issue of School Reform News features an exclusive interview with Charlene K. Haar, president of the Education Policy Institute and author of The Politics of the PTA, published last fall. An educational consultant specializing in teacher/parent relations and education policy, Haar contends the National Parent-Teacher Association has little use for parents.

The issue features extensive coverage of recent think tank contributions to the education reform debate:

  • the Cato Institute’s December 10 Policy Forum, at which the president of the District of Columbia Board of Education blasted private scholarship programs, saying they dupe parents into removing their children from “improving” DC public schools;
  • the American Legislative Exchange Council’s release of Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis 1976-2001, a data-packed publication presenting state-by-state figures on 100+ input and output measures and more than 115 tables and figures;
  • the Manhattan Institute’s new study of special education “bounty” hunters, who label an increasing number of students as learning disabled in order to qualify for special education funds; and
  • the Capital Research Center’s EducationWatch Web site, which tracks the efforts of more than 200 political advocacy groups with an interest in education issues.

This issue also covers Nina Shokraii Rees’ appointment to the U.S. Department of Education’s new Office of Innovation and Improvement; DoEd’s new guidelines for implementing the No Child Left Behind Act; and Dr. Herb Walberg’s calculations on the cost of producing a proficient student (the U.S. average is $107,000!).

For readers who might think their suburban schools offer a “sanctuary” from the dumbing-down that takes place in public education, Kevin Killion reviews Class Warfare: Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence. Author J. Martin Rochester, writes Killion, brings “the education battleground to the doorstep of suburban America.”

The Friedman Report profiles Dr. Alberta Wilson, president and founder of Philadelphia’s Faith First Educational Assistance Corporation, and reports on state activities in Arkansas, Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Marya DeGrow summarizes voucher and tax credit programs under way nationwide, and Robert Holland reports on school choice initiatives in the works in Virginia. Colorado may get vouchers of a different sort; a nine-member blue-ribbon panel has proposed giving higher education funds directly to students rather than schools.

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