Friday, October 01, 2004


"Like every other parent, Marie Sanchez wants the best for her children. What makes her unusual is being a public school teacher and an unabashed advocate of parental choice.

On an almost daily basis, students and teachers in her local public schools in the Edgewood School District in San Antonio, Texas must confront the distinct possibility that they will be caught in a fight. Just trying to break up fights during her years in the district, Marie has been hit in the stomach, punched in the jaw, and kicked in the shins. For the past seven years, two armed policemen have patrolled each high school in the district. The state even funds classes where she and other teachers learn how to extricate themselves from a hair pull or a bite.

Unwilling to let her three children--Robert, Rebecca, and Stephen--grow up with those kinds of distractions and dangers, Marie sent them to private school. For years she paid tuition for her children's education as well as taxes for the public schools they did not attend. Then, in 1998, Dr. James Leininger and the Children First America Foundation created the CEO Horizon Scholarship Program. That program allowed virtually every student in the Edgewood district to receive a privately funded school voucher. Recognizing an opportunity to get an even better education for her children, Marie applied for and received vouchers for Robert and Rebecca. Stephen, by this time, was already in college.

Also recognizing the opportunity the scholarships offered to all children, Marie became a dynamo of activism for the Horizon Program, promoting it to parents, legislators, and her fellow teachers. About 10 Edgewood teachers have followed her lead and applied for a Horizon scholarship for their children.

More here


Students using vouchers to attend private schools in Milwaukee graduate at a higher rate than students enrolled in Milwaukee public schools, according to a study released yesterday by supporters of that city's voucher program.....

About 64 percent of Milwaukee students who used vouchers to enter ninth grade at 10 private schools in 1999 graduated from high school four years later, compared with 36 percent of students in public schools, the study found. The study's author, Jay P. Greene, said it adds to a growing body of research demonstrating that school vouchers have led to improved academic outcomes for students, particularly low-income and minority students in failing school systems.

"Nationwide, roughly half of students in urban high schools fail to receive a regular high school diploma," said Greene, a political scientist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative organization based in New York. "In Milwaukee and Cleveland, it's well under half. Any program that offers a big improvement in the probability of urban students graduating is something that we should be very interested in.".......

Greene, in an interview, acknowledged that students receiving vouchers may come from more highly motivated families, which could account in part for their higher graduation rates. But he said two studies in the 1990s found that voucher recipients in Milwaukee were more likely to be poor and to come from single-parent families than their peers in the regular public schools and that they were likely to start high school with lower test scores.

Greene's study also found that the graduation rate of 64 percent for voucher recipients was higher than the graduation rate of 41 percent among students at six Milwaukee public high schools with selective admission requirements.

More here.


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

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