July 10, 2019
Greg Forster after his 9th consecutive win.
(Guest Post by Jason Bedrick)
As regular Jayblog readers know, back in 2011, Brother Greg challenged WaPo’s Jay Mathews to a bet in response to the latter’s prediction that the school choice movement was petering out. Mathews accepted the challenge. Forster would win “if at least ten legislative chambers pass bills in 2011 that either create or expand a private school choice program.” Forster not only won in 2011, he has won in every year since. (For a few examples, see 2015 Part 1 / 2015 Part 2, 2016, and 2017. Note: I’m only including states that added a new program or increased appropriations or available tax credits for an existing program, not those, like Virginia, that only expanded eligibility.)
Here’s a brief list of the new and expanded programs signed into law this year:
- Arkansas: Tripled the appropriation for the Arkansas Succeeds voucher program for students with special needs or in foster care.
- Florida: New school voucher program for 18,000 low- and middle-income students that automatically grows by about 7,000 vouchers each year. $23 million additional funding for Gardiner education savings account program for students with special needs.
- Indiana: Increased the tax-credit scholarship program by $16.5 million over the biennium.
- Iowa: Increased the tax-credit scholarship program by $2 million over the biennium.
- Mississippi: Increased funding for the education savings account program by $2 million.
- Ohio: Increased funding for three voucher programs (the EdChoice Scholarships, the Income-Based Scholarships, and the Cleveland Scholarships) and expanded eligibility for two of them (EdChoice and Income-Based).
- Pennsylvania: $30 million increase in tax credits available for tax-credit scholarship programs.
- Tennessee: New school voucher program for low-income students in Davidson and Shelby counties.
Additionally, by my count, here are the states in which at least one legislative chamber passed a new or expanded school choice program:
- Arkansas (SB 539)
- North Carolina (HB 966)
- Oklahoma (SB 407)
- Utah (SB 177)
- West Virginia (SB 1040)
Let me know in the comment section if I missed any!
[Note: Updated on July 19 to include the recently signed Ohio expansion and updated July 25 to include the Arkansas expansion.]
July 8, 2019
(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Herodotus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile” and Arizona is the gift of the Colorado (and a canal). Both Egypt and Arizona have alas been afflicted by an edifice complex- giant mountain sized stone tombs in the case of Egypt, very pricey new construction for districts in the case of Arizona, as I detail in a Chamber Business News column. Any chance $330 per square foot schools will attract tourists thousands of years from now? Warning: reading this piece will expose you to earworm Egyptian themed songs.
July 3, 2019
My favorite part of this is the invocation of “data” to prove the click-bait opinion that the US is just OK. Technocratic and anti-patriotic is precisely the NYT brand.
Of course, the most relevant data might be net migration (or attempted net-migration). After all, unlike the Soviet Empire, no one is proposing a wall to keep people in. But the beauty of technocracy is that the technocrats get to pick the metrics.
Similarly, when it comes to school choice one might think that economists would be persuaded simply by the fact that people choose schools to believe that those are likely better for them — revealed preference. But no. They demand test scores, integration measures, social-emotional learning scales, etc.. to judge chosen school quality. Keep measuring (more likely mis-measuring) until the technocrat can find the metric to show how your own better judgement is mistaken.
July 1, 2019
Image HT ABC7 News
(Guest post by Greg Forster)
1936: New Deal commissions mural in San Francisco public school, painted by a member of the Communist Party, with the purpose of delegitimizing liberal democracy and freedom by reminding America of the terrible crimes it has committed against the principles of liberal democracy and freedom, on the assumption (not yet disproved) that people are foolish enough to think the horror of these crimes undermines rather than reinforces the case for liberal democracy and freedom.
2019: San Francisco will spend $600,000 to paint over the mural in deference to activists whose purpose is to delegitimize liberal democracy and freedom, not because the activists misunderstand the purpose of the mural, but because confronting people with uncomfortable realities is now considered a form of violence.
Kicker: Of the $600,000 it will cost to destroy the mural, $500,000 comes from a mandatory environmental impact statement.
I can’t believe the American Right is actually losing to this idiocy.
Oh, wait, never mind.
May 30, 2019
(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Amazing story by Ron Matus about one of the original 57 Opportunity Scholarship students and her mother over on RedefinED. I could relate the story but it is better for you to watch it:
May 19, 2019
(Guest post by Greg Forster)
Three cheers for George Will’s column today calling upon the Supreme Court to strike down Blaine Amendments:
Blaine came within 1,047 votes of becoming president when, in 1884, hoping his anti-Catholicism would propel him to victory, he lost New York by that margin to Grover Cleveland. A large multiple of that number of New York’s Irish and other Catholic immigrants had become incensed when a prominent Protestant minister, speaking at a rally in New York City with Blaine present, said the Democratic party’s antecedents were “rum, Romanism, and rebellion.”
Blaine paid a steep price for his bigotry. More than 13 decades later, schoolchildren in Montana and elsewhere should not have to pay for it.
I reach the conclusion by different legal reasoning (I think the key point is that Blaine Amendments inevitably create unconstitutional government discrimination against religious organizations, not that they would have been understood to do so in the 19th century). But it rounds up to three cheers!