Articles tagged with vouchers

Delegate Assembly approves NSBA advocacy agenda

NSBA Delegate Assembly

NSBA’s Delegate Assembly approved the association’s hard-hitting advocacy agenda around public education at its business session Friday in New Orleans. The meeting was held right before the start of NSBA’s Annual Conference, which opens Saturday.

“This will now form the basis for NSBA’s advocacy efforts and become part of our enduring beliefs,” said David Pickler, the 2013-14 NSBA President. He referred to the three core policies voted on by the assembly as the three “legs” of the association’s aggressive and ambitious advocacy agenda.

The first “leg” is opposition to unlawful expansion of executive authority. According to the resolution, NSBA supports “an appropriate federal role in education.” However, it opposes the “federal intrusion and expansion of executive authority by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies” in the absence of authorizing legislation, viewing it as an “invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority.”

Such overstepping has had a detrimental effect on schools and districts, including imposing unnecessary financial and administrative requirements and preventing local school officials from making the best decisions for their students based on their close knowledge of community needs and priorities.

The second “leg” is opposition to privatization — vouchers, tuition tax credits, and charter schools not authorized by local school boards. Privatization has resulted in a “second system of publicly funded education” that sends tax-payer money to private schools, fails to hold private schools accountable for evaluating and reporting student and financial performance and abiding by open meeting requirements, and often has the effect of resegregating schools.

High academic standards, including the Common Core State Standards, are the topic of the third “leg.” NSBA supports high academic standards, including Common Core, when they are voluntarily adopted by states with school board input and when the standards are free from federal directions, mandates, funding conditions or coercion.

Local school boards are responsible for the implementation of any new academic standards. Instruction and materials should be locally approved, to reflect community needs. In the resolution is a “call to action” to states to provide the financial and technical support that school districts require to implement voluntarily adopted rigorous standards in an effective and timely manner.

Also at the meeting, the assembly elected NSBA’s new officers and regional directors. They will take office on Monday, April 7.

The 2014-15 NSBA President, Anne Byrne of New York, was formally sworn into office at Delegate Assembly. “I promise to work hard for you to advance the mission of NSBA,” she told the group. “Leading children to excellence is my theme. To me, it is a deep commitment to the children we all serve.”

The Delegate Assembly is the policy-making body of NSBA, and it consists of delegates chosen by state school board associations. This year, changes in the Delegate Assembly meeting included holding small-group briefing sessions so delegates and state association leaders had a chance to fully understand and debate the issues around the three core elements.

Also new was an online forum for the delegates to review and debate the issues before they arrived in New Orleans.

Kathleen Vail|April 5th, 2014|Categories: Common Core State Standards, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Annual Conference 2014, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The harm of school vouchers

David A. Pickler

David A. Pickler, President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and member of Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education, was featured in The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet today discussing the failures of school voucher schemes and the impact of the recent Louisiana Supreme Court ruling deeming their state’s school voucher program unconstitutional.

Pickler noted:

Imagine a state outsourcing the education of its disadvantaged children to dozens of private entities, asking for only minimal updates on the students’ learning and their financial management of taxpayers’ dollars.

This happened in Louisiana last year, when Gov. Bobby Jindal and his allies in the state legislature rammed through a school voucher bill that diminished communities’ schools and their students by siphoning off public funds to private, parochial, and for-profit enterprises.

But the Louisiana Supreme Court recently took a strong stand for public education across the country when it deemed the funding for that plan unconstitutional in a 6-1 ruling.

Read Pickler’s complete commentary on The Washington Post’s website.

Alexis Rice|May 20th, 2013|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Public Advocacy, School Vouchers|Tags: , , , , , , , |

NSBA opposes funding for unproven D.C. voucher program

The National School Boards Association has asked the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate funding for the Washington, D.C., school voucher program, an experimental program which provides tuition assistance for about 1,600 disadvantaged students from the District of Columbia to attend private or religious schools.

The program has repeatedly failed to show effectiveness in improving student achievement over the years,” writes Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s associate executive director for federal advocacy and public policy, in a June 20 letter.

“At the time when Congress is considering cutting billions of dollars from the federal budget, it should not be spending $20 million of taxpayer dollars, or a 35 percent increase from last year’s funding level, for a small number of students to attend private schools.”

The funding is included in the FY2013 financial services appropriations bill, which is scheduled to be debated by the committee on June 20.

The letter cites four studies by the U.S. Department of Education, ordered by Congress and conducted in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 that found no significant impact on math achievement among students who were in voucher schools compared to their peers in public schools.

In the programs’ first two years, data showed no significant improvement in reading achievement. There were some gains in reading achievement in the next two years, but NSBA noted that students coming from “failing schools” and those who enter the voucher program in the lower third of the test-score distribution—the very groups the program intended to help—showed no improvement in reading.

“Not only does the experimental program lack academic evidence to support its continuation, the [2007 report] documented numerous accountability shortcomings, including federal taxpayer dollars paying tuition at private schools that do not even charge tuition, schools that lacked a legally-required city occupancy permit, and schools employing teachers without bachelor’s degrees and/or certification,” Resnick writes. “It also noted that children with physical or learning disabilities were underrepresented compared to public schools.”

 

Joetta Sack-Min|June 20th, 2012|Categories: Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Legislative advocacy, Mathematics Education, School Vouchers, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , |
Page 1 of 11