School Vouchers. Opportunity Scholarships. Rainbow-Colored Unicorn Subsidies. No matter the name, these ill-conceived programs have proven disastrously ineffective in the past and are doomed to the same fate in Tennessee if they go into effect.
Several versions of a voucher program are being considered in the Tennessee legislature, with each taking funds away from public schools to pay the full cost of private school tuition for a small number of students. This is a horrible plan for many reasons.
One of the central claims of charter school backers has long been that charter schools produce better standardized test scores with the “same students” as regular public schools. This is important because, if charter schools have a different student body and if they concentrate motivated students from engaged families into separate schools, then those schools with high test scores can’t claim those scores are due to better instruction.
A Reuters news service article, “How Charter Schools Get the Students They Want”, contradicted this “same students” assertion. The article looked at practices of certain charter schools across the country, and the response from the Tennessee charter school community was emphatically that such practices do NOT occur in Tennessee schools. The facts say otherwise.
Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) is excited to announce “Tested to Death,” a community forum featuring the authors of The Mismeasure of Education, Dr. Jim Horn and Dr. Denise Wilburn. The event will held at the New Song Church auditorium (formerly Turner School) at 2949 Nolensville Pike in Nashville on Saturday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Horn and Dr. Wilburn will discuss education policies related to high-stakes testing and the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) used to evaluate teachers.