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David W. Kirkpatrick

    Wed, September 28, 2011

    School Choice History Part # 12

    Vermont's 1777 constitution is the oldest state constitution, ten years older than the 1787 constitution of the United States. It provides that "a competent number of schools ought to be ...

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    Wed, September 14, 2011

    School Choice History - Vermont

    Countering arguments that school choice is new, untried, tried but failed, or will not work in rural or low population areas is my home state of Vermont, where I graduated from high school long ...

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    Tue, July 05, 2011

    School Choice History: John Stuart Mill

    All attempts by the State to bias the conclusions of its citizens on disputed subjects, are evil; but it may very properly offer to ascertain and certify that a person possesses the knowledge, ...

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    Tue, June 28, 2011

    School Choice History Part # 8

    Consider, for example, the case of education. Is it not almost a self-evident axiom, that the State should require and compel the education, up to a certain standard, of every human being who is born ...

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    Thu, June 16, 2011

    School Choice History

    One does not ordinarily think of Tom Paine when considering education. Not only a revolutionary and radical, in Part 2, Chapter 5 of The Rights of Man, he places himself squarely in the company of ...

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    Mon, May 23, 2011

    Thomas Jefferson and School Choice

    This is the fifth essay reviewing original sources of today's educational
    debate over direct funding of students rather than of the institutions they
    attend. The first four all drew ...

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    Mon, May 16, 2011

    School Choice History Part # 4

    This is the fourth and final essay drawing upon pp 716-740, "Of the Expense of the Institutions for the Education of Youth, in Adam Smith's, The Wealth of Nations,," NY: ...

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    Tue, May 10, 2011

    School Choice History - Part III

    This is the third essay drawing upon pp 716-740, "Of the Expense of the
    Institutions for the Education of Youth, in Adam Smith's, The Wealth of
    Nations,," NY: The Modern ...

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    Thu, May 05, 2011

    History of School Choice

    Last week's essay was based on Book V, Chapter 2d, pp 716-740, "Of the Expense of the Institutions for the Education of Youth, in Adam Smith's, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The ...

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    Mon, September 27, 2010

    Higher Education: The Coming Collapse?

    The following is supplied by Michael Terry, a longtime acquaintance, in Grants Pass, Oregon. Originally the thought was to incorporate it into a mutual work but his thoughts were of sufficient value ...

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    Thu, September 02, 2010

    Teacher Rights and Their Unions

    One of the most notorious violations of teachers' rights, and an ongoing battle, derives from what dues, if any, nonmembers must pay the union.

    In its Beck decision in 1988, the U.S. ...

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    Thu, August 26, 2010

    Teachers and Their Unions

    This is another look raising legitimate questions as to how, or even if, teacher unions can reasonably be said to recommend their members which, of course, they maintain they do. These are not ...

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    Tue, August 17, 2010

    Teachers and Their Unions

    Teacher unions like to say they represent their members and look out
    for their best interests, including protecting their rights to speak out
    without reprisal. Teachers are by the ...

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    Thu, July 22, 2010

    The NEA and Vouchers

    The National Education Association first condemned vouchers at its 1970 convention in San Francisco. The organization's leadership was concerned about a study done for the Office of Economic ...

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    Wed, June 16, 2010

    School Choice Crosses Ideological Lines

    This issue is largely perceived as one Conservatives support and liberals oppose and, as many have observed, in politics perception is often reality. In this instance perception reverses reality. ...

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    Wed, June 09, 2010

    The Circle School

    In 1968 the Sudbury Valley School was established in Framingham, Massachusetts where it continues to this day. Unusual in its operation and literally unique when it opened, the school has served as ...

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    Wed, May 26, 2010

    Crazy Like a Fox

    Columnist George F. Will describes Dr. Ben Chavis as "the most politically incorrect person on the planet (and) not coincidentally, one of the people most correct about inner-city ...

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    Wed, May 19, 2010

    Justice Thomas: Constitution and School Choice

    The June 2002 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, upholding Ohio's school choice plan for Cleveland found all five in the majority concurred with the same opinion ...

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    Fri, May 07, 2010

    Education Freedom Day

    On June 1, 1925, 85 years ago, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court handed down this decision which clearly established the right of parents to determine how their children would be educated. The right ...

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    Thu, April 29, 2010

    Public Education: Good Days Always Just Ahead

    Perhaps no public institution is the subject of as many rosy predictions as public education. From the 1840s, when Horace Mann was assuring everyone that more public schools would mean fewer ...

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    Tue, April 13, 2010

    Choice News

    The idea of funding students to pay for their education rather than schools/institutions which thus become relatively immune to the need to be responsive to any one or group or to be held accountable ...

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    Wed, March 31, 2010

    School Choice in the Netherlands

    Surprisingly little has been written on school choice in the Netherlands, despite its long history - 100 years - of equal funding to public and private schools. A recent World Bank study helps to ...

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    Wed, March 24, 2010

    Conservatives, Liberals ~School Choice

    School choice is largely perceived as one conservatives support and liberals oppose. Ion reality, school choice emerged as a liberal idea from the pen of Adam Smith and remained largely so until ...

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    Thu, February 25, 2010

    John Stuart Mill on Education

    Consider, for example, the case of education. Is it not almost a self-evident axiom, that the State should require and compel the education, up to a certain standard, of every human being who is born ...

    [View Full Article]

    Wed, February 17, 2010

    Tom Paine on Education

    One does not ordinarily think of Tom Paine when considering education
    or schools. As the author of Common Sense and the American Crisis
    papers, he was a revolutionary, not only a ...

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    Thu, February 11, 2010

    Thomas Jefferson on Education

    One advantage of interpreting those no longer with us is that it is frequently possible to imply that they said what we would like them to say rather than what they did say. In this regard, no ...

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    Tue, February 02, 2010

    Adam Smith on Education - Part III

    This commentary concludes a summary of the education ideas of Adam Smith in Book V, Chapter I, Article 2d, Of the Expence (sic) of the Institutions for the Education of Youth, Adam Smith, The Wealth ...

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    Thu, January 28, 2010

    Adam Smith on Education

    This commentary continues to look at the education ideas of Adam Smith as found in Book V, Chapter I, Article 2d, Of the Expence (sic) of the Institutions for the Education of Youth, pp 716-740, ...

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    Fri, January 22, 2010

    Adam Smith on Education

    In 1776 The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith was published. Termed
    "The first truly scientific argument for the principles of political
    economy," Smith's work also contains ...

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    Mon, January 18, 2010

    Cyber Charter Schools

    Until about 20 years ago there were no charter schools in the United States. Today there are more than 4,500 with total enrollments approaching perhaps 2,000,000. Such growth is significant by ...

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    Tue, December 22, 2009

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    The following excerpts are from the above-named document which may be found online at the United Nations website, Alternatively, a Google search for the document ...

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    Mon, December 14, 2009

    International Association for Learning Alternatives

    I want to call your attention to the International Association for Learning Alternatives (IALA), a 38-year-old organization that, in recognition of the obvious fact that not all students learn alike, ...

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    Fri, November 20, 2009

    School Choice in India, Finland and Sweden

    For some years I have corresponded with Larry Willmore, formerly
    with the United Nations in New York, currently with the International
    Institute for Applied Systems in Austria. In ...

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    Wed, November 04, 2009

    How Professors Think

    How Professors Think by Harvard University Michelle Lamont is a recently published book from the Harvard University Press.
    Obviously not a report on how all professors think, its basis is better ...

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    Thu, October 22, 2009

    Wasted Votes

    It's that time of year when Americans can exercise their constitutional right to abstain from voting. Which they do. Even in the presidential election of 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson ...

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    Fri, September 11, 2009

    A Class-ic Mistake

    Periodically, public education is seized by a fad whether or not it has any real effect. One such is the rush toward reducing class size to some arbitrary number.

    Let it first be ...

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    Tue, August 04, 2009

    Maintaining the Status Quo in Education

    Potential sources of reforming public education are the institutions of higher education. After all, virtually all of the professionals in the K-12 system are products of higher education, from at ...

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    Mon, June 29, 2009


    Despite the lack of evidence that requiring public school educators to be certified results in qualified staff, the idea of decertifying them has not won the approval of the establishment, including ...

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    Tue, June 16, 2009

    The Education 'Profession'

    Public school educators like to consider themselves to be professionals, rather than the publicly employed hired hands that they actually are. Compare them with some of the generally recognized ...

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    Tue, June 02, 2009

    Pierce vs Society of Sisters

    On June 1, 1925, 84 years ago today, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court handed down this decision which clearly established the right of parents to determine how their children would be educated. The ...

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    Thu, May 14, 2009

    Problem Solving 101: A Review

    This slim book by Ken Watanabe, (111 pages, made even slimmer for reading by the use of numerous "useful diagrams and quirky drawings"), is subtitled A Simple Book for Smart People, all of ...

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    Wed, May 06, 2009

    School Choice Surveys

    Four years ago, in January 2005, the Friedman Foundation published a report of a poll in Arizona. This was followed by one for Florida, in January 2006 and one for Georgia in April of 2007. Then, ...

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    Thu, April 30, 2009

    Teacher Unions - Rhetoric vs Reality

    Teacher unions often d o not stand alone in their opposition to reform - or to deregulation. Unions generally oppose reforms and deregulation outright, while school board associations may say they ...

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    Wed, April 15, 2009

    Grading Education

    A review of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right by Richard Rothstein, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Tamara Wilder. Published by the Economic Policy Institute (Washington, DC.) Teachers College ...

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    Wed, March 18, 2009

    The Public School Myth

    It has been said that if something is said loud enough, long enough and consistently enough it will likely be widely believed. Especially if contrary views are not forthcoming.

    Such is ...

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    Wed, March 11, 2009

    Teacher Unions: An Observation or Two

    In their collective roles as represented by their unions, the last thing teachers are about to do is take on the status quo. When the unions talk about reforms they favor they invariably include ...

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    Thu, February 26, 2009

    Academic Achievement: No Excuses Please

    It is no secret that the public school system fails millions of
    students. Reasons given for this almost invariably concern the students, their families, their communities, their lack of ...

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    Sat, December 27, 2008

    St. Johnsbury Academy

    Two recent commentaries presented overviews of longstanding successful school voucher programs in Maine and Vermont. This issue takes another look at probably the most outstanding individual ...

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    Thu, December 18, 2008

    Vermont's Tuitioning Program

    Two weeks ago this space summarized a Maine program permitting many publicly funded students to attend a school of their choice from a variety of sources, both public and private. A similar ...

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    Fri, December 12, 2008

    Teacher Unions Block Reforms

    The National Education Association (NEA) was established in 1857, and the American Federation of Teachers in the be ginning of the 20rh century
    but neither evolved as a significant ...

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    Fri, December 05, 2008

    Maine's 'Town Tuitioning' Program

    Perhaps no institution shows less curiosity about its own field than the public schools. For example, defenders of the public system consistently oppose school choice but rarely show any knowledge ...

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    Fri, November 28, 2008

    School Choice: The Good News

    It might be said that trying to reform the public schools is more
    difficult than trying to move a cemetery. In other words, almost impossible.

    Exhibit A is school vouchers, to ...

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    Thu, November 20, 2008

    Student Truants, Dropouts, and Alienation

    Presently there's a flurry of periodic attention to high rates of student truancy, dropout, and alienation. Daily truancy rates of 30% or more and dropout rates exceeding 50% for entire school ...

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    Thu, November 13, 2008

    Alternative Schooling Emerges

    Major institutions, such as the public schools, do not change without external ideas and pressure, and anyone who tries to implement substantive change can expect to be attacked.

    Jackie ...

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    Fri, November 07, 2008

    Education Notes: Variations on a Theme

    A favorite columnist, the late Sydney Harris, occasionally used a collection of items he referred to as things learned while looking up something else. Here are some similarly acquired, all ...

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    Fri, October 24, 2008

    Teacher Unions and School Reform

    When it comes to reforming the schools, the major obstacle for decades has been, and will continue to be, the opposition of the two major teacher unions - the National Education Association (NEA) and ...

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    Thu, October 16, 2008

    School Budgets ~Staffing

    Last week's commentary noted that per-pupil expenditures for the United States' 14,000+ school districts range from $6-7,000 to more than $70,000 - a difference of roughly ten to one. It is doubtful ...

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    Thu, October 09, 2008

    School Finance

    There is a tendency to view what is as what was, what will be, or what must be. The public school system is a beneficiary of this tendency. To some degree this is desirable. If everything was ...

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    Thu, October 02, 2008

    Charter School Highlights

    The following is adapted from a recent weekly charter schools compilation in the Charter Schools News Connection, sponsored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

    Enrollment ...

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    Fri, September 26, 2008

    Reviewing 'Measuring Up'

    (Daniel Koretz, Measuring Up, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008)

    This new book by Koretz, a professor of education at Harvard University is an invaluable guide to the subject ...

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    Thu, September 18, 2008

    The Charter School Surge

    Schools in one form or another have a long history but the beginnings of the public school system in the United States are often traced to the
    Common Schools Act in 1834 in Pennsylvania. ...

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    Thu, September 11, 2008

    Universal Tuition Vouchers

    For nearly 20 years there has been a voucher program in Milwaukee public schools plus, more recently, charter schools in the district. The program's success is indicated by its longevity and steady ...

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