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tv   School Choice  CSPAN  June 16, 2017 6:51pm-8:01pm EDT

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aspirations and sense of destiny lead him to push sheilaiater aside. during that time there was a well-known political figure in chicago who everyone in black chicago believed could never go higher because he was married to a white woman. so it is in the political tradition of black chicago in the late 1980s, in the early 1990s that for a black man to aspire to represent black chicago it is necessary to have a black spouse. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c' span's q&a. next education analysts talk about school choice and whether the trump administration's proposals for charter schools and other initiatives are likely to be implemented at the state and local level.
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this discussion was part of a conference hosted by the education writers association at georgetown university. it's just over an hour. good morning, everyone. thanks for coming to this panel. i'm eric, deputy director at ewa. today we are going to discuss an issue that has been getting just a little bit of attention these days, school choice and especially private school choice. i know that there is all sorts of forms of school choice in this country and a lot of conversation about charters in particular, as well. given so much of the recent conversation and the recent presidential election i think this is where we are going to do our primary focus. we will allow a little time for other issues if you have questions and so forth. so school vouchers and other
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voucher-like programs, voucher cousins, if you will, have been growing in number. the cousins would be like tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts. the latter is what one proponent called the cool new kid on the block. as most of you know president trump and his secretary of education are big fans of school choice and secretary betsy devos loves to talk about choice and has made it really the center piece of her education agenda. that said, these are complicated times in washington. so the president's billion dollar class plans are by no means certain to become law even in a gop-led congress. we had a panel yesterday on the politics where that was one of the points made. it is probably good to bear that in mind that for all of the talk it's not at all clear what we might see at the federal level. there is still good reason to be
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here. as i think the panelists will tell you, most of the action is at the state level on this anyway and will probably continue to be so. it's been a busy legislative session in states already this year. there were big debates. one of our panelists, were you in texas recently? he was in texas where there has been a lot of debate. i don't know that they ever got past the debate in texas. florida, arizona, arkansas, oklahoma are few examples of the states where there have been efforts to either create new programs or expand existing ones. keep in mind, also, that the 2000 elections didn't just bring in donald trump. the gop also made gains in states and now hold what is sometimes called political trifecta with 25 states where the republican party controls the governorship as well as both
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chambers of the legislature. that is likely to give further momentum to some of these even while this is not always a clearly partisan issue. >> or not. >> clearly, though, i think that is probably going to build some momentum. so our goals today are to help you better understand the current landscape of private school choice and what is on the horizon and how journalist kz do a better job of keeping the public informed on initiatives and their impact in the communities. swegzs such as who do the programs serve? what impact do they have for families and communities? how should public and policy makers judge success and failure. what should journalists keep in mind as they cover proposals and as they monitor and explain existing programs. so many of these are new or they changed, maybe they have expanded in one way or another and can be complicated to keep track of and not so easy to
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carve out a lot of time when you are covering major school systems in addition. that can be a challenge for local reporters. remember the depaitails matter lot. who is eligible and how much money it is worth. which schools prarpt. to what extent are families using funds? certainly with education savings accounts there is a whole menu often. are most families able to get into schools that they want? and are there many schools that don't participate and why? what kind of accountabili abila measures are included. one other is transparency. what is required of the schools and programs so that journalists and other people can understand what is going on. meanwhile, i want to at least say a little bit about charter schools especially because in light of the election i want to point to two particular outcomes
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of note. one of them was in massachusetts where voters rejected a plan to raise that state's charter cap. in a counter narrative there was a school board runoff election in l.a. that just finished up. that actually tipped the balance toward a coalition of board members who support charter schools. so that may well bring new momentum to charters in l.a. which is already i think the city with more kids in charter schools than anywhere else in the country. before we dive in i want to offer one last piece of context. i gave the political reality check before about the trump administration's agenda and how that is going to be complicated to get through congress. but another piece of this that is always important to remember is the number of students we are talking about at least in the current situation. i want to thank ed choice for
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helping collect these numbers. they have great data about how programs work, their design, where they are, what is happening. it's a great place to get that kind of information. but currently when you look at vouchers and voucher style programs across states you know you might guess one, two, three million people participate. it is about 450,000. that compares to about 50 million kids in public schools today. so it's a very small piece of the pie currently obviously a lot of work is looking to expand that. so i'm joined by a terrific lineup of people to help us talk through and think through these issues more including to my left maggie garret, co-chair of national coalition for public education which is an umbrella group for more than 30 national organizations that have been
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fighting against voucher programs both in the political rina and in the legal arena. and they represent that coalition represents teachers unions, school board members, aclu and others. maggie is the legislative director. she keeps a close eye on what is happening across the country. and her group has been involved in political advocacy and legal efforts to overturn vouchers. that is one of the issues that i'm sure will come up today. we have executive vice president of 50 can and executive director of new york can. busy guy. >> don't let that get out. >> and these are both organizations that promote school choice among other issues. his network works on the ground to monitor and influence state and local decisions and work with families and others. next we have samuel abrams who directs national center for
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privatization in education at columbia university where he studies school choice and keeping an eye on developments. you may find him quoted on news on the subject. you have robert enlow. he is the president and ceo of this national nonprofit research and advocacy group. they track voucher and voucher style programs very closely. as i mentioned they have some helpful resources that just kind of describe the landscape in a nonpartisan way. here are the programs and what they do and so forth. so with that one other thing before we jump in is that we have another conversation at 3:30 where we will turn tables and let journalists talk about their coverage of school choice especially private school choice. if you want to dive in and hear their perspective on what to watch for, tips for getting information and questions to ask that would be a nice compliment
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to what we have here. despite what i said at the beginning about the trump agenda having a tough time, i want to start there to say a little bit about that. i'm not going to do this for each question. for this one i ask each of you to spend a minute or two giving your quick view of trump's plans, what you make of it and what you think will happen. >> hi. thanks for having me. so i represent the national coalition for public education at americans united. i am disappointed though not surprised in the trump devoss plan for education. what i think is particularly troubling is that instead of spending time on figuring out how to support public schools and how to work with the kids 90% of the students are in public schools. instead of having a plan that works with those students, they are solely focussed on how to spend taxpayer dollars to spend it to private schools that don't
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have the same accountability and don't serve all students and can reject students based on different characteristics. i would be more pleased if the focus was on public schools and the most kids and schools that have to accept all students. but instead what they have been doing is use sort of the pulpit to talk about vouchers around the country, tuition tax credits. we have a budget that is decreasing funds for public schools, increasing funds for private schools. one of the programs would give millions of dollars to study and expand private school vouchers. i think that is particularly troubling especially when you look at what they just did with the d.c. voucher for those of you following that, the only federally funded voucher in the country and just renewed that again. one thing that is really interesting is that instead of saying -- it has been studied for years. the studies are showing that
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students are performing worse academically than the other students. instead of when they renewed that saying let's keep studying it, they said i know you are using the gold standard now. my thinking is it is not working out for them because studies are showing it is not improving academically. they are saying you have to use experimental studies for your voucher program. i think looking at that so you can no longer use gold standard for d.c. voucher and looking at the budget saying we want to expand and study vouchers, knowing that they want to use quasi-experimental studies makes me suspicious. what are the studies going to look like under the trump administration? >> i think one thing to clarify, this is not -- it passed just the house? >> the budget? >> the d.c. voucher was put in the spending bill.
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>> it has been renewed. >> it is a done deal. good morning. first thing i would like to do is thank all reporters who have covered me in a balanced way that are in this room. i would like to thank georgetown university, this outstanding institution of higher learning run by a religious order that lots of people attend with public funding. i think the irony on that should not be lost. as far as budget is concerned other than the fact that i think it is dead on arrival once it gets to the congress it is especially like sprinkles of things i really like and an ocean of things i don't like. i, for one, have approached this entire episode since it started in november as an uncomfortable safe harbor in which to try to make some progress for kids really getting the short end of the stick based on zip code, color of their skin or the amount of money their parents make. i think we will have an actual
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discussion when it gets there. i would like to point out that the majority of the money in the choice portion of the budget is to promote public school choice. so i don't know if you are against that then that's cool. i for one actually -- i think private schools have a deep and important role to play in helping us solve problems that our kids face. i am a good schools advocate. i think if we align public policy in a way of where you live, help you get to a great school instead of being assigned to one that doesn't work for you that is one we should all be supporting. >> on that point just to kind of build on your observation about the contents of what the president has proposed i think is it 250 or 300 million for implementation of vouchers and some research dimension that has been unspecified. there is a lot of blanks to fill
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in in all of this. there is a piece where they want to ramp up charter school funding which already gets a pretty good chunk of change about 300 million. i think they wanted to take it up to 500 million. meanwhile they are talking about somehow carving out a billion dollars in title i program for disadvantaged students to create incentives for some sorts of public school choice. i think there are a lot of questions around that and political feasibility for all sorts of reasons including the way money is distributed and so forth. so it is going to be interesting to see how that discussion, what happens with that discussion. so sam -- >> eric, thank you for having me here. it's an honor. i would like to build on what darryl said that the billion dollars in this proposal is for public school choice. it's supposed to follow students
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from one public school to another. that by itself didn't surprise me in the proposal. what did surprise me was there was only $250 million set aside in this education research program to fund vouchers and fund research in vouchers. i expected a lot more. that was my gut response. i was thinking something more along the lines of race to the top where obama allocated $4.35 billion back in 2009. 19 states took slices of that with the provision that states lift cap on charter schools and determine teacher pay according to teacher performance on standardized tests. i thought and perhaps this is where trump and devoss will go, is that they will allocate more than $250 million to states with
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the condition that states come up with some kind of education savings account program or tuition tax credit program. i thought they would incent states like that. that may be down the road. it may be too early for that. that was my gut response. >> thank you. thank you for having us. thing about being last is you get to say yes to a lot of stuff. look, let's first of all before we talk about the budget have a reality check here. federal spending on education is 9% to 11% of the total. majority of funds is at the state and local level. we spend roughly 7$750 billion n america in k-12 education. when we are talking about $250 million in some cases that are rounding. the billion dollar proposed in the budget is significantly higher for public school choice than it is for private school choice. so i look at the budget this
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way. there is sprinkling of good stuff and a lot of stuff that makes me worry. in reality is once it goes to the congress it is not going to withstand the pressure. i don't think any presidential budget has with stood the pressure and stayed the same. let's keep that in mind. no budget from the president ever goes over unscathed and stays unscathed. we will see a lot of challenges. we have a lot of questions to answer about the budget. what do these proposals look like in details? we are spending a lot of time arguing about the ideology rather than the proposals themselves. as we begin to see them we can hopefully have nonpartisan dialogue about this. talking about what might be good and what might not be good. those of us who don't think the cuts are a good idea and those of us who think the choice programs and the growth in the charters are a good idea. it's a bit of a mixture. the reality is it is only a small portion of what we spend
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on k-12 and it is not going to withstand congressional oversight. related to d.c. it was approved for three more years. if you look at the bulk of the studies on the program done by the former administration's research department, you find positive effects particularly in attainment. children graduating higher rates and going to college at higher rates. most recent study is first year study. we'll see what happens in the third year. most programs in the study you find in the third year. when you look at d.c. scholarship program renewed for three years and we should look at the bulk of the studies before we say it is good or bad. >> so there have been five studies and hasn't been around for one year. last year is called one year study because it studied one year of schools in the program. the prior studies showed no
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statistically significant improvement of reading and math. some people point to the fact that in the third year there was improvement in reading. if you look at the d.c. voucher what it says is there was no statistically significant improvement of reading or math. the latest study looking at one year of students shows they performed worse in math and reading. and there is statistically significant decrease in achievement in reading. so i just want to make clear that the prior study did not show significantly significant in reading and math. graduation rates did show a higher rate. it is important to look at that portion of the study where that was not based on actual student records but based on calling parents whose students should have graduated and called and said did your student graduate from high school. 400 something parents who responded. that is the graduation rate that everyone is hooking into for the
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prior five years of study is that the parents who answered the phone 450 of them approximately said their students graduated from college. i wanted to point that out. >> we'll talk a little bit later and more about the research and try not to get too deep into the weeds of it. the one piece of the trump agenda that has been sort of unspoken by the administration itself at least publically but we have heard a lot about is the idea of somehow building in tuition tax credits into a tax system overhaul if that happens. anyone want to comment on whether is that feasible? is that going to happen or should we not spend a whole lot of time talking about it? >> it could happen. it's possible to monday the federal tax code to make this happen. i do think this is sort of the challenge of all of this. one, if you suffer in a blue
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state like i do and have one of the challenges to what samuel was saying earlier is that the administration would not do this in a fashion that sort of had every state automatically opt in. states would have to opt in. from my perspective the kids in the states that i work closely with and want to try to help are likely left out of that. which is why i know race to the top style plan. another thing is that like the democrats and republicans are split on choice which is to say like how much, where, for whom. andrew cuomo would tell you like in new york state teachers unions give to democrats in the city and republicans upstate. lots of people waving the hand to be what i think is the wrong side on this. whether or not the proposal can survive the politics of congress right now is like a coin toss.
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i think they should try it. i don't know whether or not it would be successful. >> when you think about the politics which this leads to the next thing which i want to talk about recent dwemevelopments. i know you guys track this closely. we mentioned texas which i imagine a lot of people would be mystified. how is it that texas has not been able to enact private school choice policy? >> i am going to argue it has a lot to do with rural texas and rural america. so you have to think about who is the largest employer in rural areas? it is teachers and school districts who are working with the teachers union. you have this political connection between rural towns and legislative leadership you have lock step control on votes in rural america. so that has an impact on the voting in texas has been always
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about the rural vote on this issue. >> i think it does have to do with rural. i don't think of it as really about the teachers unions. so from ncpe's perspective often times when we are reading articles about vouchers the way they are sometimes framed as it is the teachers union versus i'm not sure who they are saying it is against. that is not actual reality. i am the co-chair and we have about 60 organizations now in our coalition. it isn't just the teacher unions. they are part of it but we have the naacp. we have baptist joint committee. we have union for reformed judaism. we have civil rights groups. women's groups. you can go down the list and sort of tick off all of the communities opposed to school vouchers for various reasons. when i walk in the door i don't go in with the perspective of whoever although i consider them strong allies of mine. i go in and i argue naacp is
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concerned that there are not civil rights protections for these students. i say concern because a lot of money can go to private schools that can reject kids because they are gay or because they have gay parents or can teach anti-gay curriculum with your tax dollars. i think that we are sort of missing the idea of how important public schools are to the rural areas. there are no public/private schools as an option for many of these people so what this means is it is going to be a whole new tuition tax credit system to take money from the public school and it's not going to go to their community. it will go to a private school somewhere else. i think that is important to understand. >> tuition tax credits don't work that way. that's really important. tuition tax credits are the neutral way to fund the programs because the money is not taken -- if you want to talk about a voucher that is one thing.
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i will actually totally agree with you on rural and private school density. so like check or fail a lot of people talk about this. i do think that like choice in the way that i have approached it and a lot of people approach it is sort of optimized in a place that is pretty dense that has a lot of people close to one another that has like i don't know private schools or that has charter schools and like a universe of options. nobody is also proposing that this is the optimal solution for every place or even every kid only that it should be one of the solutions that we pursue. >> ultimately the tuition tax credit does function like a voucher because this money is fungible. if corporations and individuals are getting dollar for dollar tax credits there is that much less money to fund public schools. >> that assumes that you believe every dollar that is spent on
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education was dedicated to public schools. in new york state, in jersey when i have worked on these things, the point of this is that the teax credit is differet money. there are lots of church/state issues that are resolved much better with a tax credit than a voucher. the reason why the proposals are like the cool cousin instead of the cousin who shows up and acts up is because they don't directly impact public school spending. >> i would have to disagree. you mentioned football earlier. you're accomplishing something in a different way. there is just not that much money. you can be an advocate for or against school choice. i think you have to concede that if the money is going to be re-allocated to these programs to fund private school attendance through tuition tax credits then there is not that much money left in the budget to fund public schools implicitly. it is just an implicit act.
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>> the presumption is that all dollars are dollars from public schools instead of called pupil funding. when you move from one school district. i was hoping we weren't going to get into a lot of these conversations but looks like we are. we come to the table with private school choice. with children who are gay and less being who are being bullied at a higher rate than other schools. should we restrict the options or increase the options for those families? this ends up being a debate about who controls the money. people in charge of this conversation from a traditional school side want to control the money. in indiana if you are receiving a scholarship to a program you're averaging $4,000 for a low income child to go to a private school. private schools are accepting more children of color and
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certainly more children in poverty than traditional schools right now. higher rates. there is a lot of myths. we bring with us the thousands of parents and thousands of groups who are tired of being forced to schools that don't work and want options. they just want to be able to have exit waste. we want to have conversation about what this money is. if we are going to have conversations about money and who gets it let's have real conversations. we have federal money coming in, state money coming in and local money coming in. no private choice program takes local dollars. that is not part of the game. we get 9% of the state dollars. i think when we are having the conversation we have to talk about who controls the money and where the money goes.
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>> if i can highlight one thing. there is an organization called ed build that i chair that looks at school district boundaries. we recently did like a 50-state survey of school funding formulas. i c there are 50 ways to spend money poorly. it is deeply frustrating to know that you can like -- the taxing power is awesome that we can collect resources with the best intent and have absolutely no idea where it goes and like less of an idea of what we actually want to get for it. the state like sound basic in new york is like an eighth grade education maybe. is any kid well-equipped at $23,000 a student and sound basic to make their way in the world right now? this i think the conversation about how we spend money on our
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children is one that far exceeds where they go to school. it's one we totally need to have and one that is not just about private school choice. >> i will pivot this conversation. is there anything you want torespond to there and then i will move on? let's table that. people can come back and follow up. so robert and others feel free to chime in on this. what are the most important developments that you have seen this year? i know one of the biggies i think is arizona. i think arkansas, a few other states. can you quickly highlight. we have reporters from all over the country. if we can give them a quick sense of places to watch both that have enacted and if there are a few you want to tick off to say pay attention. >> there were 17 states that have been introducing education savings accounts which are called the coolest kid on the block. these are funds set aside for
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families to be able to customize their child's education. arizona has passed a program that allows all families in the state to receive an education savings account to customize it for their child. arizona has mixed an education savings account with robust charter schools movement and robust public school growth. you have a state of educational options. >> how much money is in the pot? >> they get 90% of state funds is what i believe. >> so this could be -- if enough people participated this could be a huge change? >> yeah. typical choice programs start off at 1% and then grow into like 4% or 5%. it's not huge. the sky hasn't fallen on private school choice program. arizona is a big one. nevada will probably end up getting education savings account funded in some way. >> they last year passed what i believe was the first of what people call universal or near
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universal education savings account where basically a pot of money will be set aside for families that want it to use it for tuition to private schools and usually a menu of other options and what is different about nevada that caught everyone's attention was that for the first time it said virtually any family as long as they had a child in public school within the last 100 days could use that. so often as we know voucher programs this is where they start is this is just for low income children and just for students with disabilities and starts to grow. nevada is an example where it expanded. there is a legal challenge that blocked it based on the way it had been planned to be funded. and so now they are trying to figure out we have to find a different way to fund it that will pass legal muster. >> legally in the supreme court in the united states this is a constitutional program just find a different way to fund it. so even if you don't find
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funding for the program this year its constitution will be on the books. the question will be can you find funding? you have places like ohio trying to consolidate. as you heard texas trying to get special needs bill for education savings accounts. as a parent of a special needs son i know how important it is to customize. arkansas passed a small program. you have seen a lot of states, indiana increased the amount. there has been a lot of discussion in movement and not a lot of new states come online. we haven't seen new states come online. >> it is more building on existing. >> it's more like about the environment and not about choice programs specifically. so i would just urge everyone to not just focus on the
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conversation about choice in any of its flavors. they are co-constructs. there is a real sort of fight and if you lineup on the right about choice and how many flowers should be blooming. the equivalent conversation on the left -- i know this is narrow, is about accountability. both of these are informed by the current politics. in particular on accountability side i am a big believer in state testing. like voting public hates it. elected officials seem to hate it. you look at the down force of opt out on our ability to actually figure out whether that is working and intervene for low income kids of color. it is a miserable political situation. i viewed these things as paths for needing to be reconciled. how do we get a better sense of accountability? on the other side it is like how
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to bring a more dynamic system into the university that empowers more families? i think you should look at resolving the questions together. >> one of the story lines there is in the midst of the dialogue and debate states are progressing with their choice programs. by the way, they are doing it in concert with charters. in indianapolis the public school board is about reforming and bringing charters in. the law says they can bring anyone they want into the public school district. they can make contracts with private companies. they have tools to create new ideas in the school district. we have charter schools and private school choices. that is what is happening in states as we are having this conversation with the federal level. >> i saw npr had a really interesting in depth story about the indiana program and one of the fascinating parts of it if i recall correctly was how the nature of the program has
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changed in important ways and the students who are participating have changed, the whole demographic has shifted. it is far more white than it was previously, more not so many families participating and so forth. i'm wondering if someone wants to reflect on that situation. >> i will jump in. i think one piece of news that was quite striking was donald trump's visit to catholic school in orlando with betsy devoss a couple of months ago and then you have an op-ed in the wall street journal praising trump for that visit. the npr piece that eric just mentioned is an excellent story, one of the best stories on this topic concerns catholic school attendance. the npr reporters focussed on fort wayne in particular. there what has happened is this voucher is funding students who
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are already in the schools. they are not transferring from public schools to catholic schools. they are already enrolled so it is a direct subsiddy of catholic school attendance. when this started in 2011 there were 7,800 students in the program. it is funding a different population and different demographic. this is something to watch. i will add something else to watch is what is going to happen in the next week in nevada. there you have something quite interesting. you mentioned the trifecta. you have a republican governor and two democrat houses. he is running to get a $60 million allocation to fund this education savings account program. it's going to be very interesting to see how that works because legislature closes session on june 7. >> robert, i will ask you because i know this is your home
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ground indiana. so i'm sure that is a place near and dear to your heart. what is your take on the shift there? is it something that you think has been moving in the right direction or wrong direction? >> i would think it is moving in the right direction. i think we have to be thoughtful about the numbers. >> you are okay with it removing income thresholds or things of that nature? >> so what we have in indiana, this is why it is complex. so when we talk about who is choosing private schools using the program and whether you are subsidizing existing programs you have to ask what would happen absent the program. how many families would be in private school? we have that answer for the last 50 years. nine percent of the population. and now you know with the program more people are able to access it. we have a statewide program that looks like the statewide demographics of our state in terms of racial demographics although the choice program
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serves slightly more african-american children. so children of hispanic backgrounds are getting served highly. so i think one of the questions about pathways if you look at the state report the largest pathway into the choice program in terms of numbers are prior public school students a. one of the reasons we have seen growth is we added a sibling provision. that is one of the reasons. if a child was eligible and in the program now family members can go. >> i would like to thank my panelists for putting up with me. two things that nevada situation i think is interesting not just because of funding but because of the achievement school district is under attack. what you seeing there isn't just like tension around esa or tension around reform rightly or
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wrongly. on the existing families i want to answer that with a different thing. there is this writer who is an awesome writer. i just don't agree with everything she says. she did this great piece where she had her mega cute daughter on the front of the integrated school for daughter in a segregated city being new york. what she points to at the end i think is most telling is the fear of the parents who are like the black parents who are enrolled in this one school that they think is working well that the school would be overrun by like white affluent parents that do not share their values. this is a question about how we organize education and who has power and who does not. and that is not something that is sort of like exclusive to private schools. so like robert and i talked
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about this. when schools get more white families in them they become more politically powerful. if you do not believe that but we can talk elsewhere about that. this is the natural state of things. it is unfortunate. the question i think also is if you care about these programs like should you care about whether or not some working class white people actually participate as a way to make sure that they do not go away? this is a really important concern because that school in brooklyn if it gets whiter and better it's not going away. that school when it was doing okay was something that everybody wanted to change and reorganize. there is always discussion about political dynamics and race that happens inside the discussion about schools and happens across sectors of schools so that political sustainability by
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expanding who participates and those who are more empowered -- >> i will push back on that. milwaukee voucher program, all of these programs sure survived without doing that, places that did have more limited focus have been doing fine. >> i think the question -- they are always under attack. much like so in charter school space i would say in new york and massachusetts even massachusetts referendum went down in boston, it got killed in the suburbs where majority of the voting public has never been to a charter school, likes their schools and is pretty affluent. >> i thought i read the exit data and even in boston opponents, more opponents than supporters. >> it went down in boston.
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>> i think this question about -- >> i was surprised about that. >> this is the question about scale and whom? the majority of people in america don't have a family member in charter schools. they may or may not have a family member in a private school or choice program. so we are asking people who have not experienced this thing to talk about it and make decisions about it. and that politically is difficult. >> i want to get some questions from the audience. so if you can come to this podium. i ask just if we first start with a few journalists and then to other questions. identify yourself. >> i am brian macvicar from grand rapids press. michigan has a constitutional ban on providing public funding for private schools. short of changing the state constitution what would the push look like in a state with such a
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ban? >> i have no idea how these things will collide with amendments. i do think it is a vestige of a not so good time in america. so unless there is a concerted push i'm not sure what would happen. that said i think a lot of people -- the federal tax codes will exist everywhere. so a change sort of happens everywhere regardless of how state laws are set up. i doubt that michigan would opt into such a program either way. >> you followed the legal dimension things. >> in michigan you have no -- for those of you who don't know, there are 37 states that have revisions that are stronger than the u.s. establishment clause so the separation of church and state provision that say you can't fund secretary yn
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religious organizations. michigan was voted on recently twice and the voters in michigan said they wanted to keep it so it is a popular thing in michigan. it was on the ballot and chose to keep it. that has happened around the country every time one of these provisions has been on the ballot including oklahoma recently that kept the provisions in place. they are popular with the people. so the state cannot spend money for a religious school in michigan. there are other provisions in other states that i think would be helpful for all of you to know that there are also provisions in other states that say that public funds must fund public schools so it is a little separate than the no aid clause. florida has one of those, as well. so those are always a challenge, as well. so i think that the question would become is if there is a program -- some of them are to create incentives they couldn't
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take it. michigan couldn't take this money because they have to create a program that is constitutionally prohibited. other states if they were to create a program and the money funnels down that would be a legal question and we would say that the federal money and the state divvying it out they couldn't do that. something else to be aware of is a case at the u.s. supreme court looking at some of these no aid clauses and so that could be a factor in the future on how all of this sort of plays out in the courts in the state legislatu s legislatures. >> it gets even more difficult when you heard secretary devoss hear there is a state opt in program so more challenging in a state like michigan. >> before you ask i want to plant one seed in each of your brains before we run out of time i will tick down the list and ask each of you to say if you are in a state that has a new or existing private school choice
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program what are three things that a reporter should be asking about that to help their community make sense of that program, its effect and what it means? just something to be thinking about while you are thinking about the next question. can you tell us who you are? >> emily will continkins. i follow the federal government. a lot of people pointed out that we are sort of in this very unique opportunity for the federal government to do some sort of policy on school choice. so i wanted to sort of pick the panels' brain and see of the options out there with the federal government could do with school choice what proposal might have the most chance of actually getting through congress and getting the president's signature? >> so i won't take bets on any one of them. i would say that there should be more than one of them. i have been a person to talk about this like to our point
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about like a traditional tax credit probably works better in a dense environment. but tax credit for individual expenses around test prep and tutoring, the sort of hybridization. minnesota has credit and deduction that deal with more school expenses than just tuition. i think that lots of different levers that could be pulled at the federal level or enhanced on existing programs that would help more families have more power in determining the kind of school they want their kid to go to and we should focus on the broadest array possible both for parental and kid reasons and for political reasons. >> next question. >> i'm trying to wrap my head
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around the argument that tuition tax credits don't reduce funding for public schools. by the nature they are reducing tax liability which means reduction in public funds so therefore a reduction in public services including public education. maybe it's not public schools but some public services, right? >> so, again, like to what robert said and samuel disagreed on, lots of states have dedicated funds, tax credits circumvent like the dedicated public education fund if you want to call it that. so if you believe that every dollar spent on education is a dollar spent in a public school then no way i will convince you. if you believe that creating a separate revenue stream that kids can use to go to a school of their choice via tax credit is a different part of money then you will agree with me.
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i do think in the end what continues to matter here is not whether or not you know it's not about the money, it's about the money. if you care about sort of improving options for families, like if that is your number one driver, then you can behave differently and rationalize this differently than you would -- >> you spent a lot of time on that issue. i think if you guys could just revisit it afterwards. the only other point i want to make is it is such a great issue to think about is that the federal level the education dollars are ten percent. the state level, a lot of state dollars go to education so you know if it goes to that pool it's likely to have more of an impact because states pony up an awful lot of money. >> there is a large body of
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research to suggesting that because voucher and tax credit scholarship programs only take a portion of state funds and not including local and federal funds and actually only a portion there has to be savings. there is a large body of research saying there are savings coming from school choice program. >> let's move to the next question. i am from the las vegas review journal. >> what is going to happen? >> that is what i wanted to ask you guys. what do you guys think what was heralded as the universal esa program may end up looking like monday at midnight when the regular session closes? >> given that we still have quite a few questions i'm guessing that maybe maggie and robert want to give like their 30 second version of what they think. >> you have been on the ground.
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>> i have no idea. >>. >> i think there are lots of discussions but we won't know until monday until they come out of dark corners of the rooms. >> do you think they will come up with something? >> i think there is a significant effort absolutely. >> i am based in pittsburgh where cyber charters are huge. i'm wondering if you can talk about that for a second and variables that might change when you are talking about choosing a cyber charter over brick and mortar school. >> i know we spent so much time on private school choice. >> well, i would just say -- >> before you do, you should check out one of the award winners from the ewa awards yesterday was on a deep investigation of cyber charters by education week. it's excellent and i highly recommend it to you. there is my sales pitch for
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that. >> there was recently a good story about the online credit recovery program in florida. it is a big issue. certainly can help some students who feel like they need to be home or their parents feel like they need to be home. there are major issues about moral hazards and that has to be investigated and reporters have to keep their eye on it is someone having their sister do the report? it's a very hard thing to control this quality control and is credit recovery a money maker for for profit. those are big questions to investigate carefully. >> we put out like the only thing we ever issued nationally basically dropping a bomb on cyber charters.
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that said as i try to explain to matt barnum is that to me like there is the implementation of the thing and then the tool. i do believe at some point someone will figure out a way to do this right and in a way that like benefits a kid who has certain circumstances or whatever. that it is not being done well right now does not mean at some point that won't happen. i think it is important. >> next question. >> new hampshire public radio. we almost passed universal education savings account this year. one question we had was what kind of data would be available to us in terms of where the money is going and how do schools spend it? >> this is such an important issue that frankly in some way i would love to have a whole
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additional panel to dive into this across programs. tell us a little bit. >> we love this idea. we have done two reports on arizona. so you're you are finding for multiple uses. the state's reporting and all of this. it's all in the study. we are getting ready to do one in florida. it is important in organizations like ours to have a very nonpartisan look at the data. the state in arizona collects where the money goes, how it goes, who uses it, where does it end up? they haven't gotten into the grading conversation yet because a lot is for special needs family. the data is out there and you can look on our website and find out whatw would happen in arizona. >> you don't know where the
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money is going. you might be able to say this percentage maybe went to tuition. you don't know what schools. i think a recent article in arizona that was we have no idea where the money is going because the parents type in where they are sending their students and so one of the examples one of the journalists use was like there were all sorts of different schools where parents spelled names wrong and department of education was like we are not going to correct that so you have to go through. maybe it is the same school and maybe it is not. maybe they have good curriculum and maybe they don't. maybe they are getting good grades and maybe the students have bachelors degrees. you don't know this information. in georgia after they passed their tuition tax credit program they got i'm not sure which group it was but they gave them the black hole award because you have no idea what schools are getting the money, what grades they are getting. there is just zero information
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when it is tuition tax credit. >> if i can make one point. there are lots of kids getting traditional high school diplomas from traditional public schools who cannot read them. the question of whether or not we have been successful and how to prove that and how to show that in a transparent way is one we are asking across every kind of school. i want to point out we should do better with esas and tax credits and do better everywhere. >> a reminder at 3:30 we will have several reporters talking about data and their advice about how to cover this on the ground. one other interesting piece of this that we don't have time to discuss is the accountability piece. i feel like it is a totally different conversation divorced from the public school and charter school debates about accountability which is a little bit odd. sometimes you hear people arguing things that in another context they argue the opposite. one of the important things to
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ask is besides say you know what data is required to be submitted and is there any consequence in the public education sector. we talk about what is the 239 school doesn't do well by kids, and it varies widely. there are places like indiana where they grade all schools including the voucher schools and theoretically they can shut down the funding valve. >> they have. >> they have? some cases. in some case iz read that waivers schools not nprps. >> none of them were approved. >> more on that later. one last question. >> hi, i'm annie martin from the orlando sent nal. my question has to do with accountability for schools that are receiving either the tax credit program money or voucher money. in our state it seems like the parents are the primary mechanism of accountable for schools and the philosophy is if the school's not getting the job done the parents are going to
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put their kids elsewhere. but there's not a lot of public information available about the skoolsz that receive this money in terms of, you know, how kids performed on standardized tests or who's teaching at the school or what kind of qualifications they have. i'm interested to hear this group's take on that issue. >> so given our time, what i'm going to sigh is that if you each can boil it will down to 30 seconds and then share at least one or two of the questions that you were suggesting judge be lists should pursue as they cover choice programs in their communities. maggie. >> so that is exactly one of the things we talk about a lot when we're talking about choice programs is that you don't know any of this information. and the idea is that, well, the parents will, you know, the parents will decide. well, often times the parents aren't given proper information. there were two gao reports about 'it and they said actually they're not giving correct information about what's happening in these schools, even the minimum requirements of what the parents are supposed to know. so they're deprived of all of this information and yet we are telling them like oh they can
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just make the decision. plus taxpayers themselves i think should have some, you know, you should have a role in saying how public funds should be spent. when you look at discrimination issues which i one of the things people should look at very carefully when vouch proer grams are being passed, a lot of people say oh parents can make decisions about whether they want to go to schools that have civil rights protections. what about us as taxpayers saying that our federal funds should not go to schools that can discriminate against kids based on religion, disability, lgbt status all these sorts of things. i think that's an important thing. so when schools are talking about civil rights protections, i think it's really important to not just look and see if there's just some thing like in the dc vouch ter says you can't discriminate students based on blah, blah, and has a list. there's no enforcement mechanism for this whatsoever. so what happens if you're discriminated against there's no one to tell, no way taupe force it so i think that's an
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important thing to look at. it's also important to look at issues about whose choice is this. we talk about school choice. in private school they can tell you you can't come because you don't meet the -- you don't have enough -- you can't pay over the voucher so you can't go. you can take an academic test you don't meet their standards. you have a disability they don't want to serve you. they have a whole list of things. so is it the private school's choice of which kids they're taking in with money or is it the parents's choice because a lot of schools are denied them. >> so two quick things on the latter. i think you just design a state program that addresses those issues. so, i don't know. but on the former, i think, again, this conversation about accountability, lz some people that are like choice is accountability and some people are like there's no accountability unless it's state accountability. and i think both of those are wrong. the right answer is that there is a mix, right, of both of these. and like accountability frameworks we've had under nclb
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and public schools sort of overweigh, i don't want to say overweigh because i care about this kind of accountability, but they de-emphasize parent choice as a deciding factor in school quality. so i think this is an emergent conversation. it's important, we need to have it. last thing this is the last thing on discrimination. >> i feel like discrimination is the wrong word to describe a very complicated and thoutd-provoking issue that we need to deal with under federal civil rights protection. >> i went to an all boy's emiss pailian school in baltimore. do you know what that school does? it discriminates against women, right. we need to have a sophisticated conversation about this, not this, like, frankly political ex-orientation that's going on right now that's making it difficult to navigate something that's really important that we should be really thoughtful about. >> thanks. sam. >> i would say it's an excellent question, it gets to the core of this issue when milton friedman in his seminal essay back in
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1955 talked about school choice he talked about minimum standards. this does have to be explored in detail and it has to be established state by state. in that regard, those three points i would make, teacher qualifications. so apropos, minimum standards. what are the minimum standards that these schools are receiving. second attrition of students as well as teachers in that regard. and the third thing i think for reporters and i was talking about this with robert earlier, kevin kerry had a great piece in the "new york times" back in february on three voucher programs, indiana, ohio, and louisiana and how they hadn't worked out. but one thing missing from that analysis that journalists have to underscore is the difference in per people expenditure, okay. you -- you don't have to be a fan of vouchers to underscore that the per people expenditure for example here in d.c., it's about 50% at the private schools. this does have to be emphasized
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if you're going to do apples to apples comparisons. >> on the floor, there's only one study of a tax credit program and it's the florida model by david figure will heio. and it does show some positive results for the program. that said we still need to have the conversation about trance patience sip but i wanted to refer you to the figure leo study. the three things i would say for journalists, as i said before, please try to follow the money. that's really, really important, where it goes, how it flows. the second thing accountability, let's have -- in following up on der relevant's comment, these are complex issues, so account ability is a very difficult subject. we actually have accountability in our traditional schools. we've layered tons of akit ability on them and it hasn't actually improved a lot. so do we twooenlt pose the same type of accountability on all school types? these are legitimate questions that reporters should ask, i think. what accountability, what constitutes good accountability, what constitutes transparency? does the traditional system have it right? my answer would probably be no.
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and we need to have a much more nuance conversation about the issue of civil rights and schooling. you know, the answer who enforces the law right now, these programs are written so that they follow the federal code on discrimination, okay. the federal ocr is the one who's suppose dodd it or the ocr. having a nuance conversation is important. not all traditional schools serve all kids. they're required, for example, in special needs to provide services, that doesn't mean every school does. so we have to get beyond some of the mess of this conversation and talk about how we're actually delivering services to children who have special needs and deal with the discrimination in a much more nuanced way. >> thank you all so much and thank you panelists for such a nuanced conversation today. really appreciate it. >> thank you. great to meet you. >> anybody who came in late please sign the sign-in sheets. i'll be in the back with them.
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this weekend c-span city's tour with the help of our tv partners takes book tv and american history tv to hyde park new york as we explore the history and lit rear life of a town that's come to be sa non mum with franklin roosevelt, eleanor roosevelt and the extended roosevelt family. saturday on book tv an exclusive interview with david roosevelt grandson of fdr and eleanor as he talks about his memoir. >> it really was not until my grandmother's funeral that i realized she was a special person and something of a celebrity. we never thought of her in that way. we never fooud viewed my grandmother, she was only a grandmother to us and that's all
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she ever wanted to. >> then author tony amusso and his book fdr and the post office. >> i found four letters in the archive in his handwriting, not typewritten, that actually credited stamp collecting with saving his life after he became ill and ended up being confined to a wheelchair. >> on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv we toured the fdr presidential library, the first presidential library in the national archives system. >> the library was established by president frank lin ruse sbrelt velt. he was looking for a way to preserve the papers of his administration and also his personal papers and so he created a library on the grounds of his estate here in hyde park, new york. he basically what he decided to do was to raise private money to build the library and then he gave it to the government to be operated by the national
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archives. >> watch c-span's city's tour of hyde park, new york, saturday at noon eastern on book tv and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span 3. working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. tonight on c-span 3, secretary of state rex tillerson testifies on the president's 2018 budget request. then oregon congressman greg wald don talked about repealing and


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