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Teacher shortages and school “choice”

by Dan Burns on June 9, 2017

abandonedOne wonders how many science teachers in particular are being hoovered up by for-profit charters.
 

The Chokio-Alberta School District, nestled in the agricultural belt 50 miles east of the South Dakota border, serves two rural communities with a combined population of just under 500. The district has about 150 students.
 
This past year, when Superintendent David Baukol hired Shaun McNally to teach 7th-12th grade science, he felt relief. A teacher shortage has left districts across the state scrambling to fill positions in math, science, technology, and special education, especially in rural areas.
 
But with only one science teacher for a combined middle-high school of 73 students, Baukol doesn’t know what he will do if McNally ever leaves. He was the only person to apply when the job was posted last year, which doesn’t breed confidence in anyone else coming along soon.
 
“We’re just barely holding on by a thread,” says Baukol. “If we had not had this science teacher apply, we would have been in dire straits. What would we have done without a science department?”
(City Pages)

When she was questioned by Congress, Betsy DeVos let the cat out of the bag about vouchers.
 
The U.S. Department of Education will hand out money for vouchers and will not enforce civil rights laws.
 
“She lifted the curtain on school vouchers and made clear exactly what this system of using taxpayer funds to pay for private and religious schools is.
 
“It’s a way for some parents, particularly bigots, to get taxpayers to subsidize their attempts to evade or break the law.
(Diane Ravitch’s blog)

Another week, another round of evidence that providing parents with more “school choice,” especially the kind that lets them opt out of public schools, is not a very effective vehicle for ensuring students improve academically or that taxpayer dollars are spent more wisely.
 
The latest evidence comes from a study of the voucher program in Washington, DC that allows parents to transfer their children from public to private schools at taxpayer expense.
 
The study found that students “who attended a private school through the program performed worse on standardized tests than their public school counterparts who did not use the vouchers,” reports the New York Times.
 
This study adds to others – from Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana – finding that school vouchers have negative impacts on students.
 
Despite these results, many proponents of school choice contend the purpose of school choice was never about generating better results. It’s about choice for choice’s sake.
(OurFuture.org)

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