(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
I have received reports from a reliable source, as yet undocumented, that digital learning courses more than doubled last year, and that in the wake of the new charter school law rewarding excellence, that the state has received over 300 applications for new schools. If there was any doubt left, the choice genie is officially out of the Florida bottle.
Indiana will have to redouble their already impressive efforts.
So is 2011 the water-shed year in education reform or is 2012 shaping up to be even more revolutionary?
I think we’ve got a way to go and what’s been done recently only looks impressive against a hundred and fifty years of essentially zero progress. Not that I’m trying to take anything away from the politicians who’ve enacted these reforms but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step which, when taken, seems like quite an accomplishment if you’ve been sitting on your ass for a hundred years.
By the way, anyone got any thoughts about where we’re going? What’s the end-point or even an intermediate point on this story arc?
[plug] For eight views of the “endpoint” we should strive for (with varying mixtures of realism and aspiration) see our recent book Freedom and School Choice. [/plug]
With a list price of $85? You better get a lot busier plugging that book. Not all of us are hugged to the well-endowed financial bosom of a well-endowed foundation.
Of course you could have let me stick my beak in with Jay’s essay from chapter one – http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Greene/Big_Rock_Candy_Mountain.pdf – which gives the hazy, utopian future some consideration.
My own prescription’s a bit more concrete; line up a bunch of money-bags to fund a private voucher program, with a guarantee of some reasonable lifetime like ten or fifteen years, to put an end to some municipal school district.
New York’s a bridge too far but Washington D.C. seems doable and there are smaller, nearly as execrable, districts that would do nicely as a well.
What’s sweet about the idea is that it works whether the vouchers actually get into the hands of parents or if legal/political maneuvering prevents that from happening.
Like I’ve maintained, the school district performs no service necessary to the education of kids. But school districts have flown below the radar of the public, and of pundits as well, so their valuelessness has never been questioned.
But get people asking about the value of school districts, whether it’s parents wondering why their kid’s future ought to be dictated by some faceless bureaucrat with no skin in the game or some municipal union official wondering where to find money to prevent member layoffs, and the answers will not be favorable to the continued, untroubled existence of the public education monopoly.
The move in online learning is truly stunning- from around 140k courses to over 300k courses in a single year.
“He likes it! Hey Mikey!”
Well over 300 applications for new charter schools is stunning as well. For some perspective, charter schools started in Minn in 1991, and there are 161 operating in the state today.
Actually, you don’t need to merely quote “a reliable source,” because SRN got the charter school boom info straight from the Florida ed department a few weeks ago: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/09/15/florida-policies-create-charter-school-boom
What do you mean? SRN is a reliable source, and so is the Florida Department of Education!