Common Core Train Wreck: We Were Warned!
It hardly needs saying that Common Core is a failed experiment that was neither state-led nor evidence-based. Thousands of articles have explained how the standards came into existence, scores of which have appeared in this publication alone, and have argued that they need to be ditched.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Common Core is a failure now that it has been “tested” in the nation’s schools. Hardly any state has escaped domination by the standards because even those that claim to have changed them actually made only slight revisions to what was rolled out in 2010 and widely adopted.
The Pioneer Institute Study “Common Core, School Choice, and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform” was presented by its authors at The Heritage Foundation on November 8, 2018.
Authors of the study are Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute. The presentation can be viewed by going to the Heritage Foundation YouTube channel and searching for “Rethinking Federal Intervention in K-12 Education.”
Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project Jane Robbins wrote about the presentation for Townhall in an article titled “New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure.” Robbins says, “Study authors Rebarber and McCluskey advocate restoring genuine diversity in education models by removing centralized government control over K-12 school standards.”
Robbins writes, “Paid advocates such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation continue to push Common Core despite overwhelming evidence of the slow-motion train wreck that has resulted — reduced student achievement by almost every metric.” She continues, “Fordham refuses even to acknowledge the bad news, much less try to rationalize it.” [Fordham receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major proponent and funder of the Common Core scheme.]
Robbins reports that at the Heritage Foundation presentation, study co-author Ted Rebarber said, “In my view, [Common Core] is really the worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.” Robbins notes that unlike its supporters, Rebarber offered actual evidence to support his assertions.
He demonstrated that U.S. students’ math scores on the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) had long been creeping up ever since reliable test results became available in the 1970s. But after release of Common Core in 2010 and full implementation in the fall of 2014, NAEP scores plateaued and then began to decline.
NAEP is also known as “The Nation’s Report Card.”
Common Core was supposedly aimed at helping students in “the bottom quartile,” those who were “already behind.” But results show that the performance of that group has fallen. Rebarber says, “That’s never happened at a consistent multi-year scale [on] the best test instruments we’ve had since we’ve been able to measure in the 1970s. And so that is historic.”
Common Core Makes U.S. Students Worldwide Failures
Common Core has also doomed American students to the bottom of the pack as far as preparing them for STEM fields. International scores of 8th-graders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math preparation show that the U.S. now adequately prepares about 10% of those students for success in those fields. Results in other nations show one-third to one-half of students being proficient.
But that’s even worse than it seems. While the U.S. is in the “middle of the pack,” together with nations like Kazakhstan, Russia, Hungary, and Great Britain, the lowest-tier nations rank only slightly behind us. American students are actually very near the bottom.
Private Education at Risk
Not only public education is at risk of further destruction due to Common Core. The limitations, constraints, and obstacles of the standards and other “reform” policies also threaten private schools and their students. Robbins says that this happens when state and/ or federal entities impose “government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers.” (Townhall.com, 11-20-18)
Programs like vouchers that would seem to be positive for students and parents actually threaten to destroy the nation’s private schools. Until the federal government is removed from education, vouchers are a pathway for outside control of private education.
Bill Gates, David Coleman, Fordham, and other proponents of Common Core won’t ever admit it is a failure. Various bodies tasked with fixing it in states have done nothing. Students have been forced into a race to the bottom. Common Core has enforced a true dumbing-down, the likes of which has never been seen before in American education.
President Trump promised to “end Common Core.” Betsy DeVos and her Department of Education have so far done nothing substantive to make that happen.
The proof of failure is there. The only question now is “What are we going to do to fix it?”
It can’t happen soon enough. At risk is an entire generation of students, many of whom have already been severely hampered by the educational sabotage that is Common Core.
The next issue of Education Reporter will provide information about post-Common Core declines in ACT test scores and suggest a solution.
Past and Future Reliability: The University of Dallas
Spring Break is a time for suntans and frolicking in the sea for some college students. Others choose what is called “Alternative Spring Break,” usually a service project meant to benefit others. In October 2018, the University of Dallas accepted applications from students willing to forgo partying and instead help build homes for the needy in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The trip is scheduled for March 10-16, 2019. About 16 selected students spend an hour a week fundraising throughout fall and spring, and working together in teams preparing for the job they’ll do.
This school’s history dates back to 1910, but in its current form it “opened its doors to 96 degree-seeking students in September 1956, on a 1,000-acre tract of rolling hills northwest of the city of Dallas,” in the suburb of Irving. There are currently about 3,000 University of Dallas students; about half are undergraduates and the rest are graduate students.
The University of Dallas is a private, Catholic, co-educational, liberal arts university. Curriculum is “based on a core that emphasizes the pursuit of truth and virtue in the classical Western tradition and the importance of academic rigor.” The school offers 29 undergraduate majors in the arts, humanities, sciences, education, business, and nursing. There are 20 graduate programs.
The school has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1963. The faculty is “largely lay and counts numerous distinguished scholars among its members.”
The University of Dallas is divided into five colleges. The Constantin College of Liberal Arts is the largest and it offers study in humanities, liberal arts, and sciences. The Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in the area of cybersecurity by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts offers graduate degrees in American studies, classics, classical education, English and literature, fine arts, and more. The Ann & Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry offers graduate degree programs in pastoral and catechetical ministry. Its Dallas Ministry Conference is attended by thousands of ordained and lay people from the U.S. and other nations.
Yesterday Greets Tomorrow
Since 1994, a program the University of Dallas began in 1970 has had permanent facilities in Italy at the 14-acre Eugene Constantin Campus near Albano, not far from the heart of ancient Rome. Students enjoy the semester-abroad program offered at the campus “that combines intensive study of art, architecture, history, literature, theology, and philosophy with travel that transports them to the very places where Western civilization first flourished….” (uDallas.edu)
With one foot firmly in the past, the U of D prepares students for a bright future, as is the case with Yeabkal Wubshit, a member of the class of 2020. His excellence in computer science studies gained him the plum of that undergraduate endeavor: an internship in Sunnyvale, California at the main office of Google.
Trump Administration Defining ‘Sex and ‘Gender’
When the Trump administration recently considered defining “sex” as the gender assigned to an individual at birth, the New York Times ran this catchy headline: “Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.” The Times article began, “The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” (10-21-18)
As Peter Sprigg wrote in the Washington Examiner:
That means the Times only made it eight words into this sensationalized article before making its first factual error. The Times simply assumed precisely what the administration rejects — namely, that the word ‘gender’ is synonymous with ‘sex.’
Sprigg says, “What they should have said is that the Trump administration is considering additional policy changes to standardize the meaning of the word ‘sex’ in federal law and regulations.” He continues, “The policy reportedly under consideration would define the word ‘sex,’ particularly as a protected category in various nondiscrimination laws and policies,
exclusively on the basis of biological characteristics evident at birth. (Washington Examiner, 10-25-18)
Do New York Times writers not know the correct definitions of the words “gender” and “sex”?
Peter Sprigg is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies with the Family Research Council. He has apparently also studied English.
Citizens Resist ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’
In September, parents and others in Atlanta decided to “resist” a Drag Queen Story Time planned by their local library. It would have been the second year in a row that the public library invited men dressed as women, wearing make-up and often in sexually provocative attire, to read books to young children.
Resisters stood outside the library and handed out fliers to make others aware of the planned event. They contacted management at the Ponce De Leon Library where the event would take place. They emailed members of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, who are elected officials in the county where the library is located.
An activist reported, “One of the commissioners even agreed with our stance against these programs.” But the program was still set to happen on September 30, 2018.
Parents enlisted other parents to hand out fliers to their friends, in their neighborhoods, and even in shops.
Library officials were unhappy about the parents handing out fliers. The library took no calls from the public for two days. Emails to the County Commission “bounced back.” And, “The library manager refused to meet with one of the parents.”
One leader of the resistance movement in Georgia received “a rather threatening phone call.” Using a technological aid to disguise the voice, the unknown person on the phone said, “If you protest in front of the Ponce De Leon Library on September 30th, you will be removed from the premises.” The resistance leader filed a report with her local sheriff’s office.
Drag Queen Story Time Cancelled
Those who didn’t want the event to occur kept checking with the library to see if the story time was still on the schedule. On September 26, callers were told that the event had been cancelled.
Arthur Schaper is the director of MassResistance, an organization that helped the Georgia team and that has publicized and protested these events nationwide. Schaper called the Ponce De
Leon Library the next day and was also told the event wouldn’t take place Georgians associated with MassResistance didn’t let down their guard. They were wary, afraid maybe the Drag Queen event would be snuck in. As a precaution, Georgia MassResistance showed up at the library on the 30th. They handed out fliers again. MassResistance reported, “There were a few angry liberals who tried to intimidate them, but they refused to be intimidated by anyone.”
What Is MassResistance?
MassResistance is a tour de force in the face of societal changes that it deems detrimental to children and families.
At the website, MassResistance.org, activists suggest that “too many pro-family groups want to be seen as ‘reasonable’ and ‘not extreme.’” In aid of that, “They tend to ‘fight’ by writing commentary, re-posting shocking articles, and putting up a polite opposition to the latest left-wing lunacy.”
MassResistance actively resists. They claim to “cover issues and events other conservative groups are afraid to touch.” The website says:
We don’t compromise with the Left. We provide analysis so the average person understands what’s really happening. And we give citizens and activists everywhere the tools and strategy to effectively confront the anti-family forces against them.
Headquartered in Massachusetts, MassResistance had various names before settling on the current one. They initially organized in 1995, when then-Governor Mitt Romney championed gay marriage. The founders say, “Since we were in the first state to see homosexual activism in the schools and ‘gay marriage,’ we thoroughly understood the threat of sexual radicalism, curtailed freedom of speech, uneven application of the law, judicial activism, and post-constitutional government.”
MassResistance says that “‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ programs held at local libraries are the latest well-organized effort of the radical LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) movement to indoctrinate young children and change their perception of reality.” (MassResistance.org)
Events like the one halted in Atlanta are happening across the nation, in big cities and in smaller towns. Sometimes there isn’t a group of people willing to take on liberal librarians and politicians who are afraid of being called “homophobic.” In some cases, the Drag Queen Story Hours are kept on the down-low, secret from the general public in order to avoid resistance.
A 2017 article in American Thinker explores how the Left stole the word “Resist” after President Trump was elected. The article’s author is Amy Contrada, a member of MassResistance. Contrada became an activist in Massachusetts, “where LGBT brainwashing in the schools and ‘same-sex marriage’ happened first, and pro-life sidewalk counselors are treated as criminals.” She says, “We really had something to resist there: tyrannical government at the state and local level.”
Contrada asks, “But what exactly are the Leftists now claiming to resist, other than Trump’s legitimacy?” She says, “Surely, they don’t want to resist their own entrenched bureaucrats (the ‘deep state’) who still control so much of our daily lives, and who are breaking the law daily to undermine the new administration.” Then she says, “In fact, the Left is resisting democracy and free elections.” (American Thinker, 5-24-17)
The lesson to be learned from the American Thinker article and the success a few citizens had in the quite liberal city of Atlanta is that peaceful, strong resistance is something in which conservative Republicans should not be too polite to participate. Much of what is happening in schools, at libraries, and in some churches should and must be called out as wrong for our children and the nation.
Homeschooling parents in Massachusetts were shocked when their homes were visited by Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigators who are tasked with following up cases of suspected abuse and neglect. The Worcester Public Schools superintendent failed to inform families when he changed policy for the 2017-18 school year, requiring more detailed information than before, which was an overreach and beyond what the law requires. Due to the superintendent’s lag in assessing submitted documents and the inefficiency of the district, more than one family was referred to DCF although they had filed progress re- ports as previously required. Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) lawyers helped sort out the situation. They say, “Families should not be referred to DCF for investigation relating to school absences when the school district is in the process of reviewing a homeschool notice.” HSLDA says, “There is a growing hostility toward homeschooling families throughout Massachusetts.” (HSLDA.org, 11-13-18)
When a philosophy professor at Ohio’s Shawnee State University called a male student who prefers to be considered female “sir,” school administrators accused him of creating a “hostile environment,” threatened “further corrective action,” and the department chairman “suggested that Christians be banned from teaching certain courses.” Professor Nicolas Meriwether’s Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys say that even after he filed a grievance with his union, the university “refused to consider any solutions that would respect the freedoms of everyone involved.” The university is forcing its “orthodoxy” on him and he may lose his job “if he doesn’t relinquish his rights protected by the First Amendment.” Many believe now that Democrats have the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives there will be “punishments for anyone who refuses to play along with this moral confusion.” The instrument of that force could be the Equality Act, which Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office has said will be a “top priority.” (LifeSiteNews, 11-7-18)
Book of the Month
Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction, Catherine Pearlman, TarcherPerigee Penguin, 2017, $16
What if better behavior by children could be achieved when bad behavior is ignored and dismissed rather than corrected? What if parents could achieve better outcomes by intervening less?
Many have observed that some modern parents try too hard to reason or bargain with children, or even bribe them to behave “better.” These strategies rarely work over time and often lead to even worse behavior.
Catherine Pearlman is a counselor with a Ph.D. and over 20 years’ experience helping parents. She has a practice and writes a column called “Dear Family Coach” that has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
In her book, Pearlman begins with the “basics of positive and negative reinforcement.” The introduction presents a child making a fuss, escalating her begging and whining to get chewing gum. The parent could give in and allow the child to have the gum. Another option is explaining to the child why she isn’t going to get the gum. Either way, the parent has lost ground.
The basic premise of the book is to teach parents how to “stop overdisciplining behaviors that they should ignore and underdisciplining behaviors that they should address.” She calls this “selective ignoring.”
Her strategy is based on the idea that for children, “the nature of their job is to explore, learn, and develop.” The parent’s role is to “teach, guide, love, and nurture.”
The author suggests keeping in mind that “children control precious little in their lives,” while “parents control everything.” Children “challenge parents just because they can.” She also explores the concept that for many children, “any attention is better than no attention.” Parents in this age of electronic distraction should keep this in mind.
The book’s appendix lists suggested “rewards” for good behavior for various age groups from preschoolers to high schoolers. It should be noted that parents must be careful to separate behavior and rewards, making certain that the reward doesn’t become the child’s goal. Otherwise a whole new set of problems will be created when children basically perform for prizes.
As with many other strategic changes attempted within families, there’s a learning curve and things might get worse before getting better. Rave reviews of Ignore It! suggest that the results are worth the effort.
FOCUS: Colleges: A Force for Evil
by Walter E. Williams
Originally published by Creators.com on August 8, 2018. Reprinted with permission.
Many of the nation’s colleges have become a force for evil and a focal point for the destruction of traditional American values. The threat to our future lies in the fact that today’s college students are tomorrow’s teachers, professors, judges, attorneys, legislators, and policymakers.
A recent Brookings Institution poll suggests that nearly half of college students believe that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Of course, it is.
Fifty-one percent of students think it’s acceptable to shout down a speaker with whom they disagree. About 20% of students hold that it’s acceptable to use violence to prevent a speaker from speaking. Over 50% say colleges should prohibit speech and viewpoints that might offend certain people. (Brookings.edu, 9-18-17)
Contempt for the First Amendment and other constitutional guarantees is probably shared by the students’ high school teachers, as well as many college professors.
Brainwashing and indoctrination of young people has produced some predictable results, as shown by a recent Gallup Poll. For the past 18 years, Gallup has asked adults how proud they are to be Americans. This year, only 47% say they are “extremely proud,” well below the peak of 70% in 2003. The least proud to be Americans are nonwhites, young adults, and college graduates. The proudest Americans are those older than 50 and those who did not graduate from college. The latter might be explained by their limited exposure to America’s academic elite. (News.Gallup.com, 7-2-18)
Johnetta Benton, a teacher at Hampton Middle School near Atlanta, was recorded telling her sixth-grade students, “America has never been great for minorities.” In a tirade, she told her class:
“Because Europeans came from Europe … you are an immigrant. You are an illegal immigrant because you came and just took it. … You are an immigrant. This is not your country.”
To exploit immature young people this way represents an act of supreme cowardice. The teacher should be fired, but I’m guessing that her colleagues share her sympathies. At the same school, students were given a homework assignment that required them to write a letter asking lawmakers for stricter gun control laws.
One might be tempted to argue that the growing contempt for liberty and the lack of civility stem from the election of Donald Trump. That’s entirely wrong. The lack of civility and indoctrination of our young people have been going on for decades.
University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) history professor Mary Corey told her class: “Capitalism isn’t a lie on purpose. It’s just a lie.” She added that capitalists “are swine. … They’re bastard people.”
An English professor at Montclair State University, in New Jersey, told his students, “Conservatism champions racism, exploitation, and imperialist war.” An ethnic studies professor at California State University, Northridge and Pasadena City College teaches that “the role of students and teachers in ethnic studies is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
The University of California at Santa Barbara’s school of education emailed its faculty members to ask them to consider classroom options concerning the Iraq War, suggesting they excuse students from class to attend anti-war events and give them extra credit for writing about it.
Rodney Swanson, a U.C.L.A. economics professor, told his class, “The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world.”
There is little question that colleges stand at the forefront of an attack on American and Western values.
Leftists often say that the U.S. is the world’s worst country. But here are some empirical facts they might explain. According to a recent Gallup Poll, about 13% of the world’s adults — 630 million people — would like to move to another country. Roughly 138 million would like to live in the U.S. — making us the Number One destination, followed by the U.K., Canada, and France. (News.Gallup.com, 3-21-13)
There’s something exceptionally appealing about America and the Western world that leftists choose to ignore or lie about.
Dr. Walter E. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics since 1980. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Williams holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from U.C.L.A. He has also served on the faculties of Los Angeles City College, California State University Los Angeles, Temple University in Philadelphia, and Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Dr. Williams is the author of over 150 publications and has made scores of radio and television appearances. He is on numerous advisory boards including Cato Institute, Landmark Legal Foundation, Institute of Economic Affairs, and Heritage Foundation. He has frequently given expert testimony before Congressional committees on public policy issues.
A Police Officer, a Library, and Grace
by Tim (TC) Cotton
This article first appeared on the Bangor, Maine Facebook page in January 2017. Reprinted with permission.
I never knew her name, but she treated me kindly. That’s what I remember most about her.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when new sneakers came once a year, information
was gleaned through the use of someone else’s encyclopedias, and television was something you
did for a half an hour or so after supper — possibly an hour if we kept the volume down so mom would forget we were in the living room.
Baths were on Saturday night. My mom would throw a drop of Clorox in the tub. I was always darn clean and fresh smelling for Sunday School, I can tell you that.
What in the world did we do to make the days pass? We walked to school, made forts, got in fist fights with our best friends, and no one called the cops. No one even had a phone to call the cops and we sure were not going to tell our parents that we got in a fight. That was kept a secret because we knew we would work it out within a day or so.
I also went to the library. Between third and sixth grades I was in the tiny local library at least twice a week. It was about a block from my house and if I cut through the backyard and around the broken fence, I could be there in less than five minutes. I cut through many backyards; no one even cared. I was cautious to stay on the worn footpaths.
Even trespassing was a polite endeavor.
The granite library had huge multi-paned windows that allowed you to see stacks and stacks of faded yellow National Geographic magazines as you walked up the steps. The dark wooden door opened unusually easy for me. The craftsman that hung that door probably knew it was important for that door to swing easily. It needed to be used. I think he thought of that when he checked it one last time. Perfect.
The librarian said very little but she always smiled. I remember learning the Dewey decimal system from my third grade teacher, Mrs. Guptill. I was so excited to be able to peruse the card catalog with confidence when I felt I was being watched by the librarian.
She was always helpful if a book was not where I believed it should be, was willing check the return box if there were books that might be missing from the shelves, and she never seemed too busy to help.
I checked out the maximum number of books and tore through them like they were going to be missing when I woke up the next morning. I always finished them within a week or so and I was never late with any books — except the one about the Coast Guard. I misplaced it. I panicked. Would she let me back in? Would she make me pay a fine? I had no money, especially for fines. Would there be jail time? Worst of all, I did not want to disappoint her. That’s the truth.
I found the book. I don’t recall now where I found it, but I did. It was about a week late.
I had stayed clear of the library during the week of the missing book. I could not face her. I had placed the other books in the return box on a day that she was busy with someone else.
I moved quickly. I was always quiet so there was no need to change my modus operandi. Smooth, very smooth. When the books hit the bottom of that wooden box I thought for sure she would be able to tell that there were only three. In my mind I felt that she would even know which book was missing by the lack of resonance in the drop. But she never even looked up.
When I went back with the book about the United States Coast Guard, I had to face her. I knew that I could not get away with just dropping it in the box. It was time. Time to look her in the eye. I needed to pay the fine. Meet my maker.
I told her that it was late about the same time that she opened the book to check red rubber-stamped date. I think my voice shook. She just smiled and told me that she was glad to have the book back and asked me what I was going to read next.
I was a free man. Free to roam among the stacks and borrow any book that I wanted. Free to pull out the long drawers of yellowing cards. Free to sit at the huge slab-like tables and thumb through National Geographic magazines. What a great feeling it was.
Oddly, this brings me to a point. Over the 30 years of being a police officer I often think of the grace that librarian offered me. In situations where we are able to use discretion in dealing with a problem, these tiny life lessons mold us.
If I could offer a break, I always have. I always will. When it is not possible, I sometimes feel bad. Yes, cops feel bad.
I never knew her name, but she treated me kindly. That’s what I remember most about her.
Take your children to a library. Let them look through the books, select one, make them return it on time. Little lessons. They mold you.
Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another. We will be here.
Lieutenant Tim Cotton writes the Bangor, Maine Police Department’s Facebook commentary, enlightening the page’s almost 300,000 followers with his wit, humor, and wisdom. (The population of the entire Bangor metropolitan area is less than 154,000; many readers are from away*.) Besides being entertained, readers sometimes help law enforcement solve local crimes. Lieutenant Cotton has been a police officer for 30 years. * “From away” is a vernacular term
native Maine citizens use to describe anyone not born there, including those who have ONLY lived there for many years.
How School Choice Increased a Blind Football Player’s Opportunities
by Lindsey Burke
First appeared at DailySignal.com on August 16, 2018. Daily Signal is a multimedia news platform presented by The Heritage Foundation to provide news about current important policy debates.
Meet Adonis Watt, the high school freshman running back from Arizona who happens to be blind. That’s right; Adonis, who plays football fearlessly for Brophy College Preparatory School is, to quote his mother, “101 percent” blind.
When they realize you’re blind, says Adonis, “they try to go easy on you, but then they end up on the floor.” Adonis clearly doesn’t allow any limitations associated with his visual impairment to stop him.
Nor do his parents.
“We’re like every other parent. We want to see him off that bench, and we want him in there, and he expects to start,” says his mother.
Adonis’ story is interesting not only because of his commitment to a sport that is nerve-wracking even for athletes who aren’t blind, but also because he is benefitting from the newest form of school choice: education savings accounts.
Arizona became the first state to establish innovative education savings accounts in 2011. With an education savings account, students can receive 90% of the state per-pupil dollars that were being spent on them in their district public school to pay for a host of education-related services, products, and providers.
Families can use their education savings accounts to pay for private school tuition at schools like Brophy College Prep. They can also use their accounts to pay for private tutors, online learning, special education services, therapies if needed, textbooks, and individual courses. They can even roll over unused funds from year-to-year. Families can also save unused funds for college expenses they anticipate down the road.
Brophy College Prep may be a familiar name to Daily Signal readers. The Jesuit high school in Phoenix was founded in 1928 and has an enrollment of approximately 1,200 male students.
Daily Signal has covered the story of Max Ashton, who is also blind, and who was able to attend Brophy thanks to access to an education savings account. As we’ve written, Max, who previously attended a public school in Arizona, was able to access 90% of what the state of Arizona spent on him in his district school; he received those funds in an education savings account.
With his education savings account, Max was able to pay private school tuition, purchase all of his braille text-books, and buy assistive technology such as a talking computer and other materials that he needed to succeed as a student who is blind.
The Ashtons still had unspent dollars every year and were able to save those unused funds for college. Max was able to attend Loyola Marymount University in California and pay his college tuition using his leftover Arizona K-12 education savings account funds.
It’s an incredible story and a testament to the innovative and smart ways parents shepherd education funds when given the chance.
“[Education savings accounts] gave us that ability to provide for him; for us as parents to provide for him,” says Marc Ashton, Max’s father. Ashton explains what his family was able to do with 90% of the existing dollars already being spent on his son in the public system:
A blind student in Arizona gets about $21,000 a year to educate that student. We took our 90% of that [and] paid for Max to get the best education in Arizona … plus all of his braille, all of his technology, and then there was still money left over… to put toward his college. … We were able to save money, even sending him to the best school in Arizona.
Like Adonis, Max has also had his own athletic moment in the spotlight. He nailed throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a playoff game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Football has been my passion since before I went blind,” says Adonis, who lost his vision at the age of six due to a rare congenital glaucoma condition. “Being blind is not my personality. You should still be able to do whatever you want,” he says.
Attending a school like Brophy, where his coaches foster his love of football and do “everything they can as coaches to support him” as a running back, made that possible.
And access to an education savings account has made it possible for Adonis to live out his dream of playing football by attending a school that is a perfect fit for him.
Max’s father reports that Max, who has just graduated from college, will return to his former high school to teach Advanced Placement history this fall, serving as a braille resource teacher for Adonis and another student who is blind.
If all that weren’t enough, Adonis and 11 other blind students will be crewing three sailboats around the Spanish Virgin Islands in November.
Oh, the places education choice will take students.
Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy and is the Director of the Center for Education Policy
Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.