School Choice: The Benefits of Competitive Schools

School-Choice-700x466One of the greatest benefits that school choice gives to education is that it creates a field of competition and innovation that should, theoretically, raise the standard of education in every school, public, private, and charter.

Competition has been the motor that has driven innovation in this country for its entire existence. In the last two decades we’ve moved from cell phones the size of bricks to smart phones with more computing power than the first NASA space shuttle, because each company involved in that type of technology was constantly trying to find a way to outsell the others product. Without competition between companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google we might have reached this level of technology eventually, but it’s more likely that it would have been our grandchildren, rather than us, enjoying the technology.

Why should our schools do any less?

While in the last two decades we’ve moved from desktop computers that hardly anyone could afford to the tablets and laptops that almost every college student has in their backpack. Unfortunately our field of education has not had that same surge forward, except, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the geographic areas where competition through school choice has taken root.

One of the reasons for the success of charter schools is certain that, while public schools are generally kept open long after they have failed to improve themselve, charter schools can and have been shut down for underperforming. According to The Center for Education Reform, between the years of 1992 and 2011 around 1,036 charters were shut down. Charter schools have to provide a decent education to survive, insuring quality competition between them and the public schools in their area.

Now we aren’t talking about astronomical gains across the board (though many charter schools, like BASIS schools in Arizona, can claim remarkable results) but there is an upward trend being seen in a field where the trend has mostly been stagnation.

Franklin Center recently invited me to attend a conference on school choice in my state of Arizona. We learned a lot about the programs available in my state, but one thing that struck me was a teacher who had founded a charter school in a failing school district. The school has worked hard to prepare students for graduation through a variety of innovations that this school founder has seen spread to other area schools, increasing success at those schools as well.

This anecdote isn’t a fluke or a coincidence. This sort of competition between charter schools and public schools has already been shown to benefit the students.

There have been a multitude of studies that have looked at the correlation between school choice and the quality of public schools in the same districts. Many of the early studies show an increase in productivity, but they also show increased quality of teachers, and an increase in achievement for the students that are still in public school.

In Texas more recent studies (from 2007 and 2014) showed that the creation of charter schools had a positive impact on the traditional public schools in the area and, even more telling, that injecting the best practices of charter schools into the public school setting also showed increases in achievement for students in those schools.

Charter schools were never meant to be the death of traditional public schools, instead they may very well be their rebirth.

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Old Lies About Romney Make a Come Back with Populists…Time to Slap Them Down (AGAIN)…

By The Snark Who Hunts Back and The Conservative New Ager

Paul Ryan

The look on our faces every time these anti-Romney lies keep coming back.

So recently we’ve been seeing a string of complaints coming out the less intelligent, less thoughtful, and more populist/progressive quarters of the Right once again attacking Romney. And the problem is that the vast majority of these arguments boil down to two problems. The first problem is that they’re trotting out the same complaints that they used 4 years ago and were shown to be utterly without fact, basis, or sanity 4 years ago…and the second problem is that if you had a candidate to actually put up you would be singing their praises and not attacking the only competent candidate there is.   But the clearly the kind of people who prefer populists and progressives are the kind who like to repeat lies that have already been struck down, we might as well cover why these lies are horseshit once again…

Romneycare

So the first thing that all small minded people claiming to be conservative like to point to is Romneycare. They claim it’s the origin of Obamacare. Continue reading

Santorum, the Marxist who called himself a conservative

So we all know Santorum doesn’t understand why he lost and that he loves to continue the liberal lie that Romney wasn’t a good candidate and the delusion that he in any way, shape, or form is electable.  But what about his economic ideas?  Well, they’re possibly the only thing worse than his self-assessment.  Now honestly a waste of oxygen like Santorum would probably not be worth the time I’m about to spend on him, and he’s not, but the problem is that while he himself has no chance of ever getting into power, the fact is that his is a walking symbol of everything wrong with the Republican Party—unlike a real conservative he has risen to prominence by claiming to be a conservative, and his ideas have nothing to do with being a conservative, but you hear them in the words of other idiots within the party (former governors from Arkansas and Alaska come to mind) but Rick states these errors in logic and ideas so clearly (because he’s more clueless than most) so he makes an easy target.  The point here is that Rick Santorum isn’t the problem, he’s an annoying idiot who at most does the conservative movement a little PR damage, the real danger are is his ideas which regrettably have made some inroads with the Populist factions of the party—these ideas need to be shown to be to the lies they are, confronted, and ripped from this party, this nation, and this world before they do more harm.

via Santorum, the Marxist who called himself a conservative.

Grow The F*ck Up: The Professor Probation Alternative

1276866247674The saddest thing about this installment of this series is that it isn’t an immature college student freaking out about politics or religion, it’s a grown adult with a job (well she had a job…) and responsibilities and influence over the previously mentioned immature college students.

This installment of Grow The Fuck Up is brought to you by Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young of the Feminist Studies Department of UC Santa Barbara.

Actually the previous two installments of this series make a lot of sense when you realize that people like this are allowed to teach college students.

Continue reading

Grow The F*ck Up: The UCLA Remix

Seems like someone needs to teach this class at UCLA.

Seems like someone needs to teach this class at UCLA.

It’s not the first, nor will it be the last, time that I’ve brought up and condemned the childish, illegal, and unethical tactics of the left, but the “Grow The F*ck” series is beginning to be a favorite of mine. Mostly because it gives me an excuse to tear up the childish temper tantrums of liberal college students.

So here was go again.

This time it’s campus preachers, again, that are being targeted. Last time it was a preacher at one of my local universities and this week we are moving from Phoenix, Arizona to UCLA in Los Angeles, California.

Continue reading

Don’t Be A Jackass When Stores Allow You To Bring in Guns

I like Chipotle. I liked it when they allowed you to bring guns into their locations and I still like them now that they’ve changed their mind. I like their food and I’ll continue to eat there unless I find out that they are actually serving dog meat instead of steak or something of that nature.

Frankly I don’t blame them even a little bit for changing their policy on carrying guns into their stores at this point.

Why? Because the people who brought in large firearms are just being jackasses.

Continue reading

Guns Are Tools, So Are Drones: Don’t Fear Technology

I love the 21st century.

I love the 21st century.

BY: MEREDITH ANCRET

I’m never quite sure when to take Megyn Kelly seriously. She has the art of sarcasm and trolling down to a science and it confuses her guests into saying things they wouldn’t normally, but sometimes she ends up confusing me too.

So on last night’s episode, when she was talking about how she didn’t like the new Amazon drone delivery, I wasn’t sure if she really didn’t like them or if she was just playing devil’s advocate.

I’m going to write this article as if she was being serious, since she wouldn’t be the only conservative I’ve seen talking like this.

See Amazon wants to innovate in the realm of delivery and start dropping packages at your door by drone.

The idea would be to deliver packages as quickly as possible using the small, unmanned aircraft, through a service the company is calling Prime Air, the CEO said.

Bezos played a demo video on 60 Minutes that showed how the aircraft, also known as octocopters, will pick up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon’s fulfillment centers and fly through the air to deliver items to customers after they hit the buy button online at Amazon.com.

The goal of the new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less, the world’s largest Internet retailer said. Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take “some number of years” as Amazon develops the technology further and waits for the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with rules and regulations, the company added.

USA Today

There seems to be quite a few people worried about this because the word “drone” brings to mind all sorts of nasty things these days.

Let me explain why you are wrong to freak out about this.

These drones are not armed, not government controlled, and they are not targeting Americans with anything other than awesomely cool new ways for the free market to give us instant gratification.

Personally I’m all for that.

Amazon is like any other business. They are looking to cut costs, innovate, and find better ways to keep their customers happy. That’s at the heart of free market ideas.

In fact, as conservatives, we should be annoyed that Amazon is having to jump through circles of fire in order to get permission from the government to conduct their business.

Drones aren’t going to land on your children or drop deliveries on your pets…probably. If they do then they will have the inevitable probem that comes with loss of business, so they will be doing their best to insure their technology isn’t pancaking Spot the dog or beheading little Timmy on his way to the bus. This is a private business after all and if there is one things that conservatives know, it’s that the free market is infinitely better than the government at almost anything they put their mind too.

These are not the drones you are looking for when you you think of Rand Paul filibuster about drones being used by the government to track and police American citizens on a whim.

This is the absolute coolest kind of innovation and we shouldn’t be fighting that. We should be applauding the fact that companies like Amazon are still trying new things and striving to improve their business.

We should be ecstatic that Nissan is one step closer to a car that can drive itself.

We should be excited that pretty soon we are going to have beer that doesn’t give you a hangover.

Technological advancement is kick ass.

In short, stop being boring old fuddy-duddies about drones. Drones, like guns, are not inherently a bad technological tool. What makes a drone (or a gun) bad or good is solely in the hands of the people who control the tool and what they choose to use it for.

Spying on Americans or ruining their afternoon coffee by shooting them at a cafe? Not cool.

Delivering a 5 pound bag of gummy bears to my doorstep in half an hour? That’s very cool.