The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 11, 2012

Most important goals for teacher unions

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Even in the best systems, like Maryland, which spends an average of $13,738 per student, children struggle with basic writing and math in college. More than 60 percent of students who studied a “college prep” curriculum in high school need to take remedial classes at community college, and the statistics are hardly better at the state’s flagship school, the University of Maryland at College Park.

If the successful students in the country’s best school system (as ranked by Education Week magazine) need so much help, what does it say about students in the rest of the country? Can a majority make correct change or write a grammatically correct cover letter after graduation?

The sad thing is poor and minority students like those in Louisiana and in Baltimore City, my former home, are the ones most impacted by failing schools. For them, vouchers have proven a way to escape dangerous schools where those who want to learn are sacrificed for those who disrupt class or worse.

An August 2012 joint study from Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson of Harvard University shows just how much vouchers can help.

The authors compared the outcomes of students who won a voucher through a lottery and those who didn’t in New York City in the late 1990s through 2011. No other study has tracked students over such a long period of time. They found that black students who won a voucher through the lottery for the slots were 24 percent more likely to attend college than those who didn’t win one.

Given that the cost of the private program was $4,200 per child over a three-year period, it’s not hard to extrapolate that governments around the country could help millions of kids and save hundreds of millions of dollars by expanding voucher programs, since most private schools can educate children much more cheaply than public schools.

The evidence is there. For the sake of the 4,900 children in Louisiana, millions more throughout America and our economy, children need to start being the focus of our education dollars.

Marta H. Mossburg is an independent columnist. Contact her at marta@martamossburg.com.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014