School Choice Legislation in Oklahoma

From Milton and Rose Friedmans' Foundation for Educational Choice:...
Oklahoma House Passes School Choice Program with Broad Student Eligibility
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — More Oklahoma families will be able to send their children to the schools of their choosing, following today's passage of the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act. The bill will provide partial tax credits to individuals and businesses that donate to nonprofits that distribute private-school scholarships to eligible families.

By a vote of 64-43, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved the measure, which previously passed the Senate chamber by a vote of 30-14.

"This is another step in the direction of choice for Oklahoma's parents and children," Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice, said. "We look forward to seeing school choice continue to flourish in the Sooner State, and we are eager to watch other states follow Oklahoma's lead."


Indiana Voucher Legislation

From Milton and Rose Friedman's Foundation for Educational Choice:...

Indiana Senate Passes Nation's Largest Voucher Bill
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Senate today passed legislation that would create the nation's broadest school voucher program, allowing low- and middle-income families to use taxpayer funds to send their children to the private school of their choice.

House Bill 1003, which was approved by the Senate in a 28-22 vote, would create a new scholarship program enabling families to send their children to the private school of their choice. Scholarship amounts are determined on a sliding scale based on income, with families receiving up to 90 percent of state support.

The Indiana House of Representatives previously approved a similar version of the bill by a vote of 56-42. The Senate version, which adds a $1,000 tax deduction for families that pay out of pocket for private or homeschool expenses, will now go back to the House. If the House agrees to the changes made in the Senate, the bill will proceed to Governor Daniels, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

"This is exciting news," said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice. "We applaud those legislators who stood tall for kids, and we hope the House will concur as soon as possible so that Indiana families who desperately need educational options do not have to wait any longer."

If enacted, the voucher would be available to far more students than other programs in the country, where vouchers are limited to low-income households, students in failing schools, or special-needs students. Under HB 1003, a family of four earning up to $61,000 per year would be eligible.

Additionally, the $1,000 tax deduction for private and homeschool expenses has universal eligibility. The bill also improves Indiana's scholarship tax credit program by increasing the program cap to $5 million, making $10 million in scholarships available to Hoosier families.
This will merit celebration when the Governor signs it. Arizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, just vetoed a tax-rebate-funded voucher program (wasting litigation that had won a 5-4 decision from the US Supreme Court), so strange things can happen. Still, expect this to become law.


Let's Change the Name

Governor Dr. Neil Abercrombie has made clear his support for public sector employees. He forgets (or refuses to acknowledge) the accumulation of pension debt. Do you get the impression he's just topping off his own pension, and leaving the mess for others to address when he's gone? As with federal entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, State pension obligations are uncertain but large. The Government Accounting Standards Board determines the rules according to which actuaries calculate pension commitments. Let's change the name to Government Accounting Standards Panel.


Education Bubbles

...(F)or Thiel, the bubble that has taken the place of housing is the higher education bubble. “A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”
Much of this applies to K-12 schooling as well. State and local governments spent more than $800 billion on their K-PhD schools in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, according to this chart from the NCES.


Not The Tiger Mom

P. J. O'Rourke reviews Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:
Amy Chua, I’ve got bad news. "A"' students work for "B" students. Or not even. A businessman friend of mine corrected me. "No, P. J.," he said, " ‘B’ students work for ‘C’ students. ‘A’ students teach.”
I used to tell my students that it was okay to get an A if they found my course easy. A Math professor friend of mine says he prefers "B" students to "A" students, on average, since the temperment of the "A" students inclines them to unthinking acceptance. I'd like to see a scholarship for students with the widest variance between SAT scores and GPA. The kid with a combined 700 SAT (old style) and a 3.75 GPA would be an interesting kid to have in class. Ditto the kid with the 1560 SAT and the 1.75 GPA. I wonder if they'd get along in freshman Physics.


Awww, Shoot

How does one man with a six-shot revolver hold 76 hostages in their seats? He plugs the wheelchair-bound old man across the room between the eyes with one shot, to demonstrate that (a) he can hit his target and (b) he has absolutely no inhibitions regarding killing. If the crowd rises simultaneously, they'll get him, but the first five out of their seats will die.

The tragedy of the commons is a multi-party, iterated prisoner's dilemma, with memory. Why do people pick the mangoes on trees which grow on public land at an earlier stage of development than they pick the mangoes from the trees in their own yards? The commons does nor reward self-restraint in the harvest. The commons does not reward courage against a threat. Stay seated and live, or, at least, hope to be the last to die.

Friday, 2011-04-01 (1-April-2011), the Hawaii Senate Education committee holds hearings on Governor Abercrombie's nomination of J. N. Musto (Executive Director, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly) to the Education Commission of the States and Louise Cayetano (teacher), Wray Jose (teacher), and Barry Wurst (teacher) to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly is an NEA subsidiary. Whether or not Dr. Musto's contributions to the Governor's election campaign influenced the Governor's selection, members of the legislature will note the access that the Governor has given to Dr. Musto.

Governor Abercrombie devoted several lines in his inaugural address to the State's budget problems, immediate and long-term. The State-Advertiser recently reported comments by legislators expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of leadership from the Governor on the budget issue. Leadership on budget issues will not come from the legislature. Public sector unions hold legislators hostage; oppose them and the NEA/AFSCME cartel will subsidize a primary challenge and your general election opponent, guaranteed.

Humans have the mass of the Earth, a steady rain of meteoric dust, and a solar budget. They apply ingenuity to these resources. The sun shines, rain falls, and the Earth sustains plants. Variations in the circumstances we call "economic" largely result from variations in human attention. While it may seem natural to nominate insiders to governing boards, the Governor's nominations of insiders to governing boards of the most expensive programs in the State budget communicate to legislators that they will get no leadership on budget issues from him. He may as well have tossed the gunman an extra box of cartridges. Governor Abercrombie won't be leaping from his seat, you can be sure.