Great New Education Blog

Just when you thought HP might actually be slowing down on the blogging, I bring to you a new blog that has as one of its contributing authors yours truly.

Edspresso.com

Edspresso.com is a blog that was created by the Alliance for School Choice, one of the strongest defenders and promoters of what I consider to be the #1 most promising issue for Hispanic and underprivileged minorities – school vouchers. However, the new blog is not going to be limited to school vouchers but will instead cover a wide range of education related topics, ranging from vouchers to the No Child Left Behind Act.

The new blog will include:

  • daily commentary
  • cutting edge education news
  • scheduled week-long debates between experts
  • diverse and provocative guest writers, starting with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush here

As a person who always tries to see both sides of an issue, my favorite part of the blog is this:

A unique feature on the blog will be regular week-long debates between experts on education reform topics. The first debate will involve analysts from two major think tanks, the Cato Institute and the Fordham Foundation, on national standards in education.

Debates where well qualified experts on both sides of an issue get to present their views, and you, as an outside reader, can make up your own mind. I am a firm believer that the more one learns about vouchers, the more one becomes a fan, and the debates are the perfect way to learn about vouchers without having one side distort the others position.

Scheduled contributors for the first two weeks include:

  • Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform, on school choice
  • Clint Bolick, Alliance for School Choice and Star Parker, CURE, on the administrative action the Alliance and CURE filed in LA and Compton school districts
  • Lori Drummer, American Legislative Exchange Council, on education spending
  • Peter Hanley, California Parents for Educational Choice, on the administrative action the Alliance and CURE filed in LA and Compton school districts
  • Dan Lips, Heritage Foundation, reviewing the new book “An Army of Davids” by blogger Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds
  • Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute, debating national standards in education
  • Sarah Natividad, blogger at Organic Baby Farm, on school reform legislation in Utah
  • Katie Newmark, blogger at A Constrained Vision, on merit pay for teachers
  • Michael J. Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, debating national standards in education
  • Nancy Salvato, The Basics Project, on competition in education reform

For more on Edspresso.com go here and here.

I end with the ending quote from the Jeb Bush article mentioned above:

Researchers from the Manhattan Institute, Harvard and Cornell have independently studied Florida’s private school choice programs. All three studies concluded that the threat of vouchers actually creates the greatest improvement in struggling schools. Given the choice between losing students and raising the quality of education, schools rise to the challenge and make tremendous gains.

The Florida Supreme Court recently struck down one of Florida’s three choice programs on the grounds that it created competition for public schools – the very competition that has helped drive improvement in Florida’s schools. The ruling not only threatens the future of the 733 students in the Opportunity Scholarship program, but in varying degrees could also impact the 29,641 other low-income, minority and disabled students who currently use tuition vouchers.

School choice benefits all students whether they take advantage of the opportunity or not. Our ongoing reform efforts will include changing state law, or the Florida Constitution, to protect school choice programs from activist court rulings.

Please add Edspresso to your blogroll and check back often, it should get interesting. :-)

9 Responses to “Great New Education Blog”


  • So, who thought of the name?

  • Not me, that’s for sure. I knew the name would get your attention. ;-)

  • Blah, blah, blah!

    “Cutting Edge Education News.” How misleading that is to me, an educator. One might read that and think that there might be some new info on early literacy or math instruction, etc. But no!

    I don’t remember seeing anyone of those names in my ed classes or any of the ed journals that I currently read.

    Is this really an education blog or is it an “I want to bitch about my current displeasure about the state of education blog?”

    Hmmm…

  • It just started, be patient. There will be educators from all sides of the political spectrum, not just the right or the left. There will also be educators from all walks of life, not just private, or public, or charter schools. :-)

  • Kjerringa mot Strommen

    Per Jeb Bush: “We’ve been testing 4th grade reading since the 1998-99 school year. At that time, only 51 percent of our 4th graders could read at grade level. Two years later, the number had risen to just 53 percent. After six years, 71 percent of all Florida 4th graders have the ability to pick up a book and read it independently.”

    I didn’t need an elite private school education (a la Bush) to notice the slippery language the governor used here. (In 1998, only 51% of 4th graders could read at grade level, now 71% can pick up a book and read it independently”) What book? At what grade level? Do we need to compare apples and oranges to sell a lemon?

    Anecdotally, I know that students in my town are getting a far more thorough education now than when I was in school. Further, that my latino, first generation high school graduates-to-be are taking many more challenging courses – the maths, sciences – and are challenged to a far greater standard of analytical and writing skills than even 10 years ago. Still further, that many students who were home schooled or attended Christian schools are opting for the public high school due to the superior education. Their parents frequently opt them out of certain works of literature, but they still recognize the level of preparation available in the public high school. Private Christian schools are available, but no competition.

  • Either that, or he could just be referring to the same thing in two different ways. After all,’could read at grade level’ could equate to ‘the ability to pick up a book and read it independently’. In which case he is not pulling a fast one.

    Either way, my focus is not primarily on how public schools in general do, but what competition is doing to public schools, and on that point Jeb Bush leaves no confusion in his claim, he writes:

    Researchers from the Manhattan Institute, Harvard and Cornell have independently studied Florida’s private school choice programs. All three studies concluded that the threat of vouchers actually creates the greatest improvement in struggling schools. Given the choice between losing students and raising the quality of education, schools rise to the challenge and make tremendous gains.

    I don’t claim that all public schools are bad, or even that all charter schools or private schools are good. Certainly there are really good public schools and certainly there are really bad private and charter schools. My point here is that parents, when faced with a failing public school, should simply get the same options that rich people have: the ability to send their kid to a different school. Rich white families have this option all the time, shouldn’t poor minority families also have the same option? If the public school in their neighborhood is good, than certainly, the parents should leave their children in that public school. But what happens if the public school in their neighborhood is extremely bad, what do you propose parents do? Should they be forced to just sit back and watch the public school rob their next generation of the American dream? Or should they be given the resources to do something about it?

    That is the difference between the voucher proponents and the voucher opponents: the voucher proponents give these parents options, the voucher opponents give them nothing.

  • Kjerringa mot Strommen

    “My point here is that parents, when faced with a failing public school, should simply get the same options that rich people have: the ability to send their kid to a different school…”

    Interesting concept – rich and poor should have the same options. Why don’t we extend this to health care and housing. We could give each poor family vouchers to enable them to be treated by the same doctors as the Bushes, perhaps. Perhaps transportation vouchers as well, so they could receive the same elective surgeries that may be outlawed in some states.

    Then there would be housing vouchers to allow the poor to live in apartments and houses next to the rest of us – with nice yards, outstanding neighborhood parks, police who come when you call, potholes that are filled immediately and streetlights that are always lit at night. The most elite pre-schools would be free of charge so that poor children would be rubbing shoulders with your children and the Bushes’ children from the time they are in the crib.

    Why not car and gasoline vouchers as well so that the poor could also be part of the ecological problem?

    HP is supporting socialized medicine, transportation and housing?

    Or did you mean “separate and unequal” – a few voucher dollars thrown at the poor that would pay for no more than substandard private schools in the ghetto while at the same time allowing those middle-class families the edge they want to put their children in private schools out of the neighborhood and away from the hoi polloi.

    Maybe a better option would simply be adequately funding and overseeing the public options.

  • Actually, I am for vouchers in those cases as well (well, except the transportation one). For example, in health care I do argue in favor of health vouchers for the poor (I plan to blog on precisely that more in the near future, so keep an eye out), and I do believe, and have argued in the past, that rental vouchers, for example, are significantly more efficient and better for the poor, than rent-control. So yes, I would say I support vouchers in those circumstances as well (this stance is also held by many other conservative and libertarians, as well). :-)

    Btw, that does not mean that I support ‘socialized medicine, transportation and housing’, quite the opposite, if you provide vouchers for the poor, instead of having the government provide the service itself, it leads to a more free-market approach to each of these services. Just like vouchers in education would tend to de-centralize our public education system and break the government monopoly that it currently has, so would vouchers in health care and housing.

    a few voucher dollars thrown at the poor that would pay for no more than substandard private schools in the ghetto while at the same time allowing those middle-class families the edge they want to put their children in private schools out of the neighborhood and away from the hoi polloi.

    Who is arguing for middle class vouchers? Look at all of the voucher posts I have posted on this blog, and you will see that about 100% of them have been in regards to vouchers for the poor. Others argue that vouchers should be universal, and I have no problem with that, but my main concern is vouchers for the poor. As soon as that is achieved, vouchers would stop being a hot issue for me.

    And this is really how its been implemented. If you look at vouchers in Florida, for example, vouchers only go to the children in failing schools. They are not given to children in good schools, and they are not given universally, they are only given to children that attend failing schools, and even then, only after the schools have been warned for several years.

    So here we have a system that directly rebuts your concerns and shows improvements, especially for the poor minority students previously doomed to a failing school. Proponents of vouchers want to give this same thing to other children stuck in failing schools.

    What do opponents of vouchers want to give them? You summarize it well when you say, Maybe a better option would simply be adequately funding and overseeing the public options.

    In other words, nothing. What you are basically saying is that we should continue to do what we’ve been trying to do for the past 30+ years, and every new minority generation that is robbed of the American dream should simply be patient ‘with the system’…

    Frankly, I think it’s time for our patience to run out.

  • Google Walter Haney, Florida, NAEP scores to see how the third grade retention policy served to make the grade 4 NAEP scores look good. The try googling Winters, Florida retntion rtaes, and discrimination.

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