May 2003 School Reform News

Issue Date: 
May, 2003
Newspaper PDF: 

“Horace Mann’s concerns were not with providing schooling but with making schooling an effective instrument for social reform,” notes education historian Charles L. Glenn Jr. in the May 2003 issue of School Reform News. “The issue with Horace Mann wasn’t having public schools, it was having the state control public schools. It’s a fundamental difference.”

Glenn—author of The Myth of the Common School, The Ambiguous Embrace: Government and Faith-based Schools and Social Agencies, and, Finding the Right Balance: Freedom, Autonomy and Accountability in Education—offers lessons from history and advice for private schools today. “I think schools that are very clear about what it is they stand for have a very good chance of maintaining their distinctive identity,” says Glenn. “It really depends on what the school does, not on what the government does.”

Page 1 of the May issue reports Colorado’s March 31 approval of a voucher program for students in roughly a dozen poorly performing districts in the state. Governor Bill Owens issued a statement praising the bill and saying he would sign the measure.

Page 1 also reports DC parents’ support for school choice, including President George W. Bush’s Choice Incentive Fund for the District of Columbia; and the difficulties Florida will have funding a voter-approved mandate to reduce class sizes in the state. Lexington Institute analyst Robert Holland notes Florida may have “one way to comply without drastic spending cuts or a tax hike: expanded school choice.”

A four-page Friedman Report profiles Cornelius “Con” Chapman, co-founder of the Coalition for Parental Choice in Massachusetts, and highlights school choice-related legislative activity in Arizona, California, Connecticut, DC, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Vermont. (Managing Editor Clowes welcomes reports from your state; his email address is

Also in this issue: special education reform; the progress of school choice in 2002; lessons from Sweden’s voucher program; regulation of private schools; and the importance of parental involvement.

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