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philnotfil
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/chi-0411300193nov30,1,2982446.story

One of the cornerstones of NCLB is that when a school is failing students can transfer to a school that is not failing. Millions of students are eligible to transfer schools, only thousands actually do. Are the parents uniformed, or do they just not care, or does NCLB not accurately measure the worth of a school?

From Chicago:
quote:
Of the 175,000 students eligible to transfer this year, only 5,933 applied to do so.

Of those who applied, only 438 won spots in the lottery.

And of those who won lottery spots, only 200 showed up.

Of thosed 200, 14 have gone back to the schools they came from. Also, every single one of those 200 was an elementary student, not a single middle school or high school student transferred.

[quoote] Other big-city school systems also struggle with this requirement. A study this year by the Council of the Great City Schools revealed that only 45,000 of the 1.2 million students eligible last year in 41 urban school systems requested a transfer. Of those, about 18,000 transferred.
[/quote]

If anyone is bored they can look up the numbers for non-urban schools and see if there is a difference, I imagine there would be.

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LoverOfJoy
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I think not wanting to commute can be a powerful barrier for some. Elementary schools tend to be closer together so it isn't as much of a factor. Also, high school students have developed long friendships they don't want to lose.

Another possible explanation between the difference of high school vs elementary school applications is the amount eligible. Perhaps the requirements for high school kids are much more easily met and therefore less high schools are "failing".

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Richard Dey
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Another good reason to send ones children to single-sex private boarding schools abroad (with no vacation breaks).
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Lewkowski
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Really need to allow better options for getting out of a failing school.

Really the best way to do it would be to implement vouchers. Private schools cost less to run then public schools. And they are less likely to poison the minds of kids with the constant barrage of liberal sewage that goes on in public schools today.

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Dan Allen
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quote:
pnf: One of the cornerstones of NCLB is that when a school is failing students can transfer to a school that is not failing. Millions of students are eligible to transfer schools, only thousands actually do. Are the parents uniformed, or do they just not care, or does NCLB not accurately measure the worth of a school?
Of the 3 you've listed, options 1 and 2 are pretty much the same, and the most likely. Someone who cares will take the steps to be informed (unless you are arguing that the schools are denying them the information.)

When the charter schools were first becoming popular in Arizona, there were several people arguing that their success was due to their being 'exclusionary' because only the 'rich' parents would drive their kids to school. The argument fell apart when it was pointed out the the charter schools actually had, and were using, better transportation departments than the public schools.

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Callister
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quote:
Private schools cost less to run then public schools
A theory that will quickly become untrue if vouchers pass. Tuitions will go up.

[ December 03, 2004, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Callister ]

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Lewkowski
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One of the think tanks did a study and found that private schools cost less then public schools. (I think it was the Cato institute?)
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Zyne
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That sounds off, like it's not including the cost of donated property or time, or the cost of educating difficult (emotionally/physically handicapped) children (which would of course fall to the private schools if there were no public ones).
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Dan Allen
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quote:
Zyne:
That sounds off, like it's not including the cost of donated property or time, or the cost of educating difficult (emotionally/physically handicapped) children (which would of course fall to the private schools if there were no public ones).

Have you looked at the amount of 'volenteer' time that the public schools are requesting lately? We average about 1 request/week for our grade school kids.

Also, the public schools are already pushing the handicapped out; special ed. budgets are shrinking at the same time that these kids are not being accepted into the main-stream classes for various reasons. The 'public' school system is insisting that it's the parents responsibility to find educators for their handicapped children - mostly to protect their placement on the standardized test lists.

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Lewkowski
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May sound harsh but speical ed classes are pretty stupid.

They really don't learn anything, they are 8 hours of giving the parents time off from having to deal with their high matience kids. Back in my High school they were shipped to elective type classes like Choir and sang along or just sat there as they wished.

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LetterRip
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Lewkoski,

if you read the report by Cato which you are alluding to (as opposed to the summary only), what they actually found was that private religious schools cost less and had worse outcomes. Non -religious private schools cost more and had slightly better outcomes.

The reason for this was that many religious schools use the church property for the school and thus get the infrastructure for 'free' (ie it isn't part of the accounting for the cost of religious schooling), and that they pay teachers at such schools much less than their public and private school counterparts, and they have far fewer benefits. Also many services for religous schools are provided free, ie by volunteers (such as janitorial). So if proper cost accounting were done, the private religous schools would have been providing a more expensive education at worse quality.

Of course the non-religious private schools and religious private schools are both allowed to reject 'problem students' at will. Which strongly gives a positive skew to the results. So, if we were to match private and public schools based on student demographics (which is what Cato should have done, but unsurprizingly didn't), etc. the public schools would have kicked the private non-religious and religious schools all over the floor on both quality of outcome and cost.

Dan Allen,

quote:
The 'public' school system is insisting that it's the parents responsibility to find educators for their handicapped children - mostly to protect their placement on the standardized test lists.
I'm fairly sure they can't legally do so. They can make the request, but you can't be forced.

Private schools and religious schools can force you to withdraw your student from their school, or flat out reject to accept them.

Regarding the question on 'failing schools', the way the NCLB is setup, it is trivially easy for even excellent schools to fail. For instance in schools with few minority students a single minority missing a test day results in automatic failure - happened to some local schools.

Regarding requests for volunteers at public schools, the actual number of volunteers at public schools is fairly small. A lot of union contracts prohibit usage of volunteer labor. Generally public schools get and allow volunteers with after school programs, and for driving on field trips but generally things like classroom/teacher aids, janitorial services, food services, etc. are off limits.

LetterRip

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towellman
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Link please?

That's a pretty gutsy claim that in my experience having attended both public and private schools, I find very difficult to believe.

On the subject of costs, one thing my private school did was exchange tuition for one child for a qualified parent teaching a class. It worked out great since we were right next to a University. At one point more than half of my 8th grade teachers had Ph.D.'s. A current problem with the current public school system is that qualified people with advanced degrees aren't allowed ot teach in public schools because they don't have a mickey mouse teaching degree tacked on to a simplified major.

There are lots of professionals, scientists, or even college professors that would love the opportunity to "give back" or be a positive influence on kids by teaching a class or two, but they can't because they don't while they are actually competent in the field they would teach...they aren't certified to teach it. Given the choice, which would you rather have a 26 year old with a degree in HS science education teaching AP Biology or a Physician or biochemist? Someone with a degree in math education or an engineer to teach physics? Who would be the better role model, who would likely get more excited about the subject?

There may be some ones that don't work out, but in general professionals will be responsible and well...professional. Besides, I had plenty of crappy teachers in the public school system. It's not a solution for all of public school's problems, but rejecting qualified people who could be among the most inspiring teachers just because they don't have a certificate is ridiculous.

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Zyne
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quote:
May sound harsh but speical ed classes are pretty stupid.

They really don't learn anything, they are 8 hours of giving the parents time off from having to deal with their high matience kids. Back in my High school they were shipped to elective type classes like Choir and sang along or just sat there as they wished.

Yeowch! I will never ever think to accuse you of pulling a punch.

They--and this 'they' is almost too large to speak generally about--they do benefit and learn from simply being with their classmates, some of them benefit from mainstreaming to the point where they cease to be dependent on society. I do agree that NCLB, for example, sets its expectations beyond some students' abilities, which is not in the best interests of themselves or of their peers.

towellman that's great, but did one of them tell you that the plural of anecdote is not data?

quote:
There are lots of professionals, scientists, or even college professors that would love the opportunity to "give back" or be a positive influence on kids by teaching a class or two, but they can't because they don't while they are actually competent in the field they would teach...they aren't certified to teach it.
"Certification" is not some mysterious right of passage that takes 10 years and 20 chickens to pass. These people who would "love the opportunity" to teach can get that opportunity by taking a class or two here and there and getting certified. It really isn't much more on top of a four-year degree.

And you can "Link, please?" yourself by showing me anything reputable resembling a trend of college professors who have been turned away from the public schools solely on the basis of lacking certification.

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Slander Monkey
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Here's your bloody link Towellman: CATO [Smile] ... well at least it's *a* link to a cato report on privatizing primary and secondary education in the US. I don't know if it's the one Lewkowski or LetterRip was talking about.

One of the choicest of observations in the report was this:
"And private school tuitions are supplemented by contributions, fundraising events, in-kind contributions by parents, and below-market labor costs, especially in Catholic schools."

Indeed, it's reasonable to assume that labor costs would be below market when a nonneglible percentage of a school's teachers and administrators have taken a vow of poverty.

LetterRip's observations seem to be pretty close to what I gleaned from this report myself.

A few other observations (though mostly just repeating what LetterRip was saying):

*If their sampling of schools in several different cities (they show tables) is accurately representative of private schools in general, then religious schools greatly outnumber non-religious ones. I couldn't find any actual numbers on the overall breakdown, but it's pretty easy to guess which schools are definitely religious in from the names in the tables -- for example nearly 70% of the elementary schools profiled in Atlanta had obviously religious names -- it is fairly similar for the others.

*This is even more interesting here -- they list the average cost of public schools per student per year as $6,857 (averaged across all grade levels), and this compares quite well to the nonsectarian private schools, which ring in at $6,631. Whether quality of education is different, I don't know, but costs seem to be about the same.

I think public education could use a bit of retuning, but I think it's a little silly and unfair to compare the costs of running public schools to the costs of running Catholic schools. Furthermore, the data in this report doesn't really seem to imply that private schools are better run, cheaper or more successful educators... certainly not good enough on its own to justify diving into an all out voucher system.

[ December 07, 2004, 03:17 AM: Message edited by: Slander Monkey ]

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Slander Monkey
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How about this from the CATO report:

They had this to say about Private schools in Hudson County, New Jersey:

quote:
Jersey City's public schools are in Hudson County, New Jersey. The district currently spends $8,315 per pupil at public schools, even though low-cost alternatives to them abound. Not one of Hudson County's 40 private elementary schools charges as much as the government schools cost--in fact, only two cost more than $3,000. The median tuition is $1,775 (Table 7, p. 16).
The fact that only two cost more than $3,000 is shocking, isn't it? Actually, the corresponding table only shows one above $3000 -- even better, right? Well it is until you consider the fact that the school that comes in above $3000 -- $3,750 to be specific -- is the only school on the list that doesn't have an obvious religious name: Cornerstone School. Moreover, 49% of the schools in that table are all called St. something or another [edit -- whoops, I missed one; it was written out as Saint rather than St. so it's 51%] -- anyone care to guess what types of schools those are?


quote:
As is the case with the primary schools, none of Jersey City's 16 private high schools costs as much as the public schools spend, and six cost $3,000 or less. The median cost is $3,210 (Table 8, p. 17).
This is a bit worse considering that the county pays presumably something in excess of $8,315 per pupil for high schools. Though again, the schools that they list are pretty much all religiously affiliated -- though I can't say for sure about: The Bergen School or Marist High School.

[ December 07, 2004, 03:36 AM: Message edited by: Slander Monkey ]

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Dan Allen
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quote:
LR: I'm fairly sure they can't legally do so. They can make the request, but you can't be forced.

Private schools and religious schools can force you to withdraw your student from their school, or flat out reject to accept them.

Legally no; but since when has that stopped any bureaucrat (and school administrators are nothing if not bureaucrats) from interpreting rules for their own benefit?

Public schools can, and do, the same thing. Often those kids, at least here in Arizona, end up in charter schools where they are removed from the local school districts records. How often are kids expelled for bad behavior? Enough times and they don't come back - really no different than with private, or for-profit schools.

I have a friend whose child was refused entry, for almost two years, because she requires an ASL interpreter in class, and the school refused to provide one - as required by law. It took our friend taking the issue to the state level to get it fixed. Most parents won't press it that hard, believing that the administrator knows the regulations better than they would.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Lewkowski:
May sound harsh but speical ed classes are pretty stupid.

They really don't learn anything, they are 8 hours of giving the parents time off from having to deal with their high matience kids. Back in my High school they were shipped to elective type classes like Choir and sang along or just sat there as they wished.

That's going to vary quite a bit from state to state and perhaps between school systems.

In Oregon a few years back when some friends were dealing with it, the kids were warehoused without being taught.

Here, on the other hand, they have a course of studies the teacher is required to cover and modification for learning/grading/work is made according to each student's need.

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philnotfil
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Another article on students not transferring- this time in St. Louis:
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/42C3A5E3D931C82486256F850037BC71?OpenDocument&Headline=Only+few+opt+to+pull+kids+out+of+subpar+schools

quote:
The St. Louis Public Schools mailed letters to nearly 7,900 students. About 340 applied, 130 were placed at different schools and only 61 decided to make the move. Fifty of those were elementary students; 11 were middle school students.

In Hazelwood, 79 students out of 2,684 students transferred.

In Ferguson-Florissant, eight out of 1,239 changed schools.

In districts such as Normandy, Ritenour, Riverview Gardens and Rockwood, no children moved.

The low percentage of transfers falls in line with what's happening in districts in other parts of the country. For instance, in Chicago, 200 out of 175,000 transferred this year, although 5,933 applied.

In some districts, there was no other better-performing school at some grade levels for a student from an lower-performing school.

That was the case in Ritenour. Middle school students were unable to transfer to a better school because each of the district's two middle schools was on the needs-improvement list.

Although Ritenour's Kratz Elementary School also fell on the needs-improvement list, no parent requested a transfer from that school, said David Hoefakker, assistant superintendent for student services.


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TomDavidson
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Having attended a private religious school and a public secular school, I must say that I also found the secular school much more intellectually rigorous.

"And they are less likely to poison the minds of kids with the constant barrage of liberal sewage that goes on in public schools today."

Like, um, basic science?

Seriously, though, this points out the principal flaw in libertarian thought that I've always had to drag out whenever we discuss vouchers, layoffs, or anything else along the same lines: the population is NOT perfectly mobile. They will not always relocate in order to obtain higher-quality services, not least because there are other factors that work to discourage relocation.

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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
the population is NOT perfectly mobile. They will not always relocate in order to obtain higher-quality services, not least because there are other factors that work to discourage relocation.

You mean, like lazyness, apathy, and fear?

But your point is well understood, it is the same reason that the free markets don't work perfectly. They expect that consumers will make rational decisions based on self-interest. When parents a) Don't bother to inform themselves, b) Don't care about their children's education or c) are afraid to change their schools, those parents thwart the purpose of vouchers, etc. But I doubt it is possible to come up with legislation that will overcome parental ignorance.

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TomDavidson
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"You mean, like lazyness, apathy, and fear?"

Nope. Like "I don't want my kids to have to ride a bus for an hour each day" or "I would move to find better work in another state, but I don't want to live six hours from my elderly parents, who can't take care of themselves all that well." Or even "the only other school in town is a Catholic school, and I don't want my kid raised Catholic."

It's more than just, as you imply, not caring about a child's education or being afraid to switch schools; there are often legitimate reasons for parents to not consider the other alternatives.

[ January 12, 2005, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Koner
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[quote]quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
the population is NOT perfectly mobile. They will not always relocate in order to obtain higher-quality services, not least because there are other factors that work to discourage relocation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You mean, like lazyness, apathy, and fear?
[quote]

You sound as though you assume that the vast majority of Americans live in urban areas where there are several schools within a reasonable commuting distance which makes transfers veasible. If that is in fact your assumption then you need to get better informed. A vast portion of the population lives in very rural areas.

Take me for instance I grew up in a very samll rural farming community of about 2000 people. The closest high school to my house was 20 miles away. I traveled to and from school by bus (1 hour each way). The next closest high school to mine was nearly 40 miles away. That is not a reasonable distance to transport children to and from school on rural gravel roads in the snow belt of Michigan. It is still that way in many rural areas.

But I also grew up in a different community and a different mind set. Where I grew up parents did, and still do take an active part in their childs education. Sure I didn't have those fancy classes like art, foreign languages, and european history but I don't think I suffered. My 1500 SATs, my 97 ASVAB, and the fact that I graduated 25 of 500 from the Naval Nuclear Power school prove to me pretty well that you can in fact get a good basic education from a rural school with limited resources.

In contrast, my sister is a first year 6th grade teacher at a surburban Detroit school. THREE of her 35 6th graders read at a 6th grade level. The rest are at or below a 4th grade level. But I don't blame the teachers of her school. I blame the parents of those children for not fullfilling their parental responsibilities in their childrens education. And that is why schools are failing. Not for lack of good teachers or funding.

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The Drake
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I think the original poster was quoting statistics for Chicago, an urban area if there ever was one. I was posting based on that subset. All the comments regarding rural or limited suburban areas are quite correct. Vouchers and school transfer are largely proposed to improve education in heavily populated areas.

Obviously, there are legitimate priorities that trump education - or incremental increases in education. But parents have the option to teach their kids, either as a supplement to public/private education or full homeschooling.

My point was that the parents are too lazy, too apathetic, or too afraid to try something different or get personally involved in the education of their children. The failure to use voucher programs in Chicago is just one aspect of this.

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rhymes with tequila
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There is something that I don't understand here
quote:
Of the 175,000 students eligible to transfer this year, only 5,933 applied to do so.

Of those who applied, only 438 won spots in the lottery.

Does that mean that less than 10% of students who asked to transfer were given the chance to do so?
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The Drake
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Some more detailed information on the topic from the National School Board Association.

http://www.nsba.org/site/doc_sbn_issue.asp?TRACKID=&VID=55&CID=682&DID=35025

quote:

“We have seen examples of districts that have not complied with the law to inform parents why their children’s school is in need of improvement and what their transfer options are,” Rees says. “Even when districts do send out such a letter, the notice is often unclear, confusing, and filled with jargon.”

Getting out good information about student transfer rights has been an issue in New York City, where students and parents weren’t notified of their right to transfer schools until after the school year had started. The timing discouraged transfers, critics say, because it is more disruptive to switch schools during the school year.

In Illinois, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Thompson refused to notify parents about their transfer options until December, when the state provided an official list of schools that must offer choice.


quote:

Many parents are reluctant to move their children out of a neighborhood school, and students often are reluctant to leave the friends they’ve made at school.

“We have a large number of parents who don’t like the idea of putting their kids on a bus and sending them across town to a school with more space,” says one Los Angeles official. In New York City, officials say Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s highly public effort to improve the school system has reassured parents and convinced many to give their schools time to improve.


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