Data from a study conducted under the aegis of the Reason Foundation identify four practices that appear to enhance student achievement.
For the study, researchers formulated a "Weighted Student Formula Yearbook" (WSFY) which grades public school districts in 10 categories, including student test scores, achievement gaps, and graduation rates. WSFY was then used to examine 14 public school districts that use "portable student funding" (education dollars follow students to different schools) to rank the districts.
- The Houston Independent School District earned an A+, largely due to having closed achievement gaps.
- Baltimore received an F (the only one), based on large achievement gaps and poor proficiency rates in math, reading, and science.
Examining the practices of the successful and unsuccessful public school districts, the four practices that appear to enhance student achievement include:
- publishing school report cards for parents;
- using performance-based pay for teachers and principals;
- allowing students to enroll at any school within the district; and,
- giving principals control over hiring and budgets.
Most importantly, allocating budgets based on a per-student basis appears to the the most significant factor contributing to enhanced achievement across a school district. That is, when the dollars follow the students and students are able to enroll in any school in the district, student achievement increases.
These data add to the collection of data indicating that "vouchers," "education savings accounts," and "school choice" correlate with increased student achievement.
When--if ever--will the public education establishment and the public school teachers unions "get it"?
Let the discussion begin...
To read about the WSFY study, click on the following link:
"Weighted Student Formula Yearbook 2013."