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New Orleans Tribune’s Withering Editorial Shines a Light on Failure of “Reform”

November 23, 2017 Leave a comment

In an editorial that excoriates the “reform” movement in their city, the New Orleans Tribune bluntly outlines the shenanigans that took place at all levels in order to reinforce their “success” narrative. Near the beginning of their extended editorial, the writers offer this grim description of how the takeover by privatizers affected parents:

Schools opening.

Schools closing.

Schools changing from one charter manager to another.

A tortuous admissions in which parents crossed their fingers and hoped—no prayed—that some computer algorithm’s random selection would work in their favor. It was also a process that some schools were allowed to exclude themselves from altogether.

This brings us to the bogus notion of school “choice” that reformers have held up as a blessing for parents and students, when, in fact, the only entities that exercise any real choice in admissions have been the charter schools—not parents, not students.

Unelected boards not bound to parents or taxpayers determining school policies and deciding how money is spent.

Many parents even uncertain as to who they could or should call if they had problems, questions or complaints—the OPSB member they elected or the board actually governing the school.

Kids waiting in the early dawn to catch a school bus from one part of the city to another and getting home at dusk because neighborhood schools have become non-existent. And even if there was one just a block away from home, the question became was it a quality school? And even if it was, could your child get a seat there?

In one section of their essay they describe how the state department manipulated test scores to help “prove” their reform efforts were succeeding, how they willfully hid problems they identified with some of the privatizers, and how difficult it was for parents to get the information they needed to make an informed choice about the schools:

The state education department, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana legislature have messed with the numbers since Katrina—lowering the minimum SPS to facilitate the takeover, raising it again to hide its failure. It is hard to tell up from down, especially with a LDE and other leaders that have done everything in their power to “muddy up the narrative” and “take some air out of the room” (LDE Superintendent John White’s words from 2012 taken from e-mails in which he was discussing damage control in response to revelations about sketchy private schools receiving state money through school vouchers). The LDE has even taken to withholding comprehensive data from those attempting independent analysis and research into the academic progress and education reform.

Under the state’s Freedom of Information law, citizens have requested data such as voucher programs’ exact enrollments and costs, and demographics of voucher students; test-score distributions and technical reports; details of School and District Performance Score calculations to verify accuracy and credibility; charter schools’ enrollments, charters and leases; and exact enrollment numbers. Those requests have been repeatedly thwarted by John White. So do we really know how these scores and letter grades are being determined? Do they line up with the same standards the state used to engineer the wholesale takeover of our schools? Or does the game remain rigged?

Meanwhile, a state audit released in early October 2017 panned how Louisiana’s education department monitors charter schools and urged the LDE to improve how it measures school performance of the charter schools attended by more than 53,000 public school students—most of them here in New Orleans, but also across the state.

As the editors note throughout their essay, none of these actions was a surprise to them, for they had attempted to alert the public to the failure of “reform” all along. Their conclusion, after their blistering assessment of “reform” is this:

There are those who suggest the local education battle is a lost cause and that the widespread operation of our schools by charter managers is here to stay. From time to time, we become a bit dismayed and almost accept that position ourselves. But we have fought too long for what is right, and we won’t stop demanding the complete and absolute return of local schools to real local control, even if we stand alone.

Our mantra of late—taken from the words of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, founder of the historic New Orleans Tribune—is that it is time for us to be leaders ourselves. It is way past time that those who portend themselves as leaders of our community take a stand on the issue of public education in New Orleans. Far too much time has already been wasted.

In New Orleans, the privatization of all public schools has not worked… and as noted in earlier blog posts the takeover by states has proven to be a failure in every state…. and 35 states have lawsuits pending on the issue of inequitable funding. Is possible that providing more funds for the schools serving children in poverty might be the best solution to this problem?

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School Choice Bill Advances in New Hampshire… Depressed District Budgets Sure to Follow

November 19, 2017 Leave a comment

I read with despair a brief report from AP describing the narrow passage of SB 193, erroneously referred to as “the school choice” bill. Here’s the description:

The House Education Committee last week narrowly approved an overhauled version of a Senate-passed bill that would allow parents to use public money to send children to private schools.

The bill would provide parents with the state’s basic per-pupil grant of roughly $3,000 to be used for private school tuition or home schooling.

To qualify, parents would have to have a household income less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty limit, live in an underperforming school district, have a child with an individual education plan or tried unsuccessfully to enroll a child in a charter school or get an education tax credit. Opponents argued the program would violate the state constitution, which says no person shall be compelled to pay to support a religious school.

The practical impact of this is that many middle class parents who currently pay for tuitions to private schools and most of the parents who home school children will access the $3,000 voucher depriving public schools of funds they currently use to educate the children who are already enrolled in their schools. The chart below depicts the federal poverty level for the current year:

Given that the median household income in New Hampshire is $70,303 any school-aged family with more that two children is likely to qualify regardless of the school’s performance level. Furthermore, given that the definition of an “underperforming school” is fluid from year-to-year. In 2012 the New Hampshire State Department of Education identified over 300 schools as being in “need of improvement”, and that number is based largely on test results whose cut scores can be manipulated. Finally, national statistics indicate that 14.6% of New Hampshire students have IEPs. The net effect of these factors makes it probable that at least 50% of the students currently enrolled in public schools might be eligible for the $3,000 vouchers that would be made available through SB 193.

But the potential loss of revenue due to the outmigration of current students is the least of the problems for public schools. Based on data from the A to Z Homeschooling site, there are roughly 6,000 homeschooled students in New Hampshire, a number that could be marginally higher given New Hampshire’s relatively lax enforcement of homeschooling. And the Private School Review web page reports that there are 319 private schools in New Hampshire, serving 29,983 students. Assuming that half of the homeschool students and half of the private school students are eligible for and access the $3,000 voucher offered by SB 193, public schools could lose $654,000 to educate students who were not enrolled in their schools based on a formula used by Reaching Higher NH.  Given that many of those private schools are located in communities that serve children raised in poverty, the loss of the revenues will be devastating. Moreover, the funds that would be diverted from these high poverty schools would be given to parents who are relatively affluent, some of whom would be earning more than the median income for the state.

This bill was passed by a 10-9 margin in the House Education Committee, with one Manchester Democrat voting to support the bill. That legislator is clearly in a bind since the city she represents has 30 private schools enrolling over 3,374 students. But if half of those children qualify for the voucher, Manchester could lose over $61,340 in revenue to educate children who are not enrolled in the schools today but might have been at one time in their schooling. That amount is roughly the cost of one FTE teacher.

I am in the process of confirming my analysis on this… but any way one looks at this bill it is wrongheaded and detrimental to public schools in New Hampshire. Alas, that is the direction our Governor, legislature, and Commissioner want the state to take.

Jeff Bryant’s Analysis of the GOP Tax Bill… as it is NOW

November 18, 2017 Leave a comment

While I try to avoid reading and blogging about bills that will not pass as they are currently written because I view it as “gossip”, I’m making an exception this morning because I believe the so-called “tax reform” legislation reveals the unvarnished priorities of the GOP. As anyone who follows politics at the national level realizes, the GOP is hell bent on passing major legislation that reflects their ideals and, to accomplish this, they have written and edited legislation behind closed doors with no input from the Democrats, no public hearings, and no analysis by independent boards. As a result, voters are getting a true picture of where the GOP wants to head, and, based on Jeff Bryant’s blog aptly titled blog post indicates, the GOP has declared a War on Learning. As Mr. Bryant writes:

What the Republicans propose in their tax plans is not just a raid on education-related budget items for the sake of fiscal efficiency; their plans are part of a strategic offensive against the very idea that all children and youth have a right to a free and high-quality education.

Mr. Bryant offers several points outside of education per se to support his metaphor that the GOP is declaring war on public schools. He notes that “…the plan in the House rolls back some “existing child care benefits in the tax code” and fails to expand a child care tax credit“, which will have the effect of increasing the tax burden on many middle class families. This, in turn will result in parents having less money “…to provide their children with academic and physical education opportunities outside school, including music lessons, sports, and summer camp.”

But the impact on families who rely on the government’s existing safety net are even worse!

As economists at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explain, these schemes are part of a “two-step fiscal agenda” to cut taxes for the rich to drive up the deficit and then justify deeper funding cuts to programs in the future.

Among the “eventual victims” CBPP predicts are programs for health, tuition, and education, particularly the Head Start program providing learning opportunities for low-income four- and five-year olds. Funding already passed by Republicans provides “little or no increase” for Head Start, so as expenses increase, the lack of new tax revenues available to Head Start will necessitate further cuts and fewer children served.

Mr. Bryant’s analysis of the impact of cuts on K-12 education is even more chilling. First and foremost, both  the House and Senate bills repeal the so-called state and local tax (SALT) deductions:

Ending the SALT deduction would immediately close a spigot of federal dollars to local coffers that pay for schools, I report. But an even worse, repealing the deduction will eventually increase voter pushback against any new local tax increases for schools and put pressure on local governments to cut taxes that are vital to children’s education.

Analysts at the National Education Association calculate that repealing the SALT deduction may “put nearly 250,000 education jobs at risk.” Job cuts of this magnitude will result in fewer services for special needs kids and those who don’t speak English well, larger class sizes with less individual attention to students, and shuttered libraries, athletic programs, and courses in arts and world languages.

Mr. Bryant notes the the bills also indicate a likelihood that the bills will eliminate the $250 deduction teachers can take for buying classroom supplies. He also flags elements of the bill that offer “…new initiatives to redirect public tax dollars to privately operated education providers.” Those initiatives include allowing parents to extend the tax advantages they get from 529 college-savings plans to use up to $10,000 annually for tuition in private K-12 schools, and two proposals that would allow for deductions made to education savings accounts that provide “scholarships” to students who are educated in religiously affiliated schools and other non-public charters. Unsurprisingly, this development pleases voucher fans like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

The tax hit on those enrolled in higher education is more direct and worse. Here is Mr. Bryant’s synopsis:

As Krugman explains in his Times op-ed, if the Republicans have their way, students taking out loans to help pay college tuition would no longer be able to deduct the interest payments on those loans. Student who get help from an employer to pay for tuition or other expenses, would have the contribution considered taxable income in the House bill. Students who get free or reduced tuition because their parents are university employees will also have to report that break as taxable income. And graduate students who have tuition waived as part of their degree programs would have to report that as taxable income.

The tax increase for graduate students is a full body blow to those who we are expecting to be the nation’s future leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, and artists. If this measure passes,according to a report from NPR, the 145,000 grad students who received a tuition reduction in the most recent year available are looking at tax increases of as much as 300 to 400 percent.

The House tax plan will make these students’ education unaffordable.

It does not require much cynicism to see that this anti-intellectual tilt to the tax code is a way for the GOP to show the Trump supporters that they are listening to them. Mr. Bryant concludes his post with this:

Opposing the specific measures in these tax plans is important, but it’s essential to call out the intentions behind them…

Based on how the Republicans treat education in their tax plans, the transformation they want would make the nation collectively dumber and much more dependent on profit-making businesses for scarcer services with far fewer opportunities for citizens to better themselves through education.

We must reject that future.

Based on recent reports in conservative media like the Wall Street Journal, the business community the GOP is presumably representing is not pleased with this bill… and neither are conservative commentators like George Will who sees the “reforms” as making the tax code even more opaque. MAYBE this won’t pass as written and MAYBE it won’t pass at all. But one thing IS clear: these bills show the true spending priorities of the GOP, and they do not include support for children, assistance for parents, public education, or higher education.

 

 

 

Don’t Like the Term “Voucher”? How About if It’s Called “Student Centered Funding”? Would THAT Change Your Mind?

November 17, 2017 Leave a comment

In a world where “branding” is crucial, if your organization’s name is tainted because it is associated with a failed Presidential candidate you can change it and no one will notice and, more importantly, you can change the name of the product it is selling to make it more acceptable. A link in yesterday’s Politico offers an illustration where both of these things happened. The link leads to ExcelinEd’s recently released report on something called “student-centered state funding“. The new name of the organization and the newly coined term “student-centered” idea didn’t fool this blogger. And I doubt that it will fool many progressive educators, but it might fool some legislators or give them some cover when they try to use Jeb Bush’s ideas from Florida to introduce vouchers into their state.

ExcelinEd is the new brand for the “…education reform group Foundation for Excellence in Education“, which was founded by former Florida Governor and failed Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who ruined Florida’s once decent school systems by introducing deregulated for profit charter schools that he and the GOP in that state claimed would dramatically improve schools. Unsurprisingly, deregulated for profit charter schools did not boost test scores… but they DID introduce lots of profiteering and corporate corruption.

The mechanism for deregulated for profit charter schools in Florida also paved the way for vouchers… but since the term “vouchers” seems to have some baggage, ExcelinEd has come up with a new phrase to promote vouchers: “student centered state funding”.

There are two big ideas behind “student centered state funding”. The first is to abandon the antiquated and cumbersome term “adequacy” and replace it with “efficacy”. As the ExcelinEd report indicates:

Too often, debates about state education funding focus solely on how much money should be provided to school districts—or what is termed adequate funding. Far too little attention is paid to an equally or more important question: How can states maximize the impact of existing funding? While state policymakers often know how much in total is spent on education, they rarely know how much of the intended funding is actually being spent on individual students, many of whom have specific needs and challenges…

Addressing this issue means reframing the debate about state education funding, moving from questions about adequacy to addressing the efficacy of state funding models. A powerful means for ensuring the efficacy of state education dollars is student-centered funding.

A close reading of the rationale for this shift is that by changing the debate from the amount of money available to schools to “spend on individual students” they can presumably sidestep pesky provisions in their state constitutions that require an adequate level of funding without precisely defining what that term means. And that phrase about “money being spent on individual students” is not accidental. According to some tight-fisted ideologues, money spent to improve teachers wages and working conditions is NOT “money being spent on individual students”…it is money going to the adults in the school whose task is to teach students.

The second big idea behind “student centered state funding” is that parents can use the funds earmarked for their child to enroll them in whatever school they choose. Here are the “key advantages” of student centered funding as described in the ExcelinEd report:

There are several key advantages to student-centered funding. ➜ First, it is more transparent. It is clear and easy to understand how much funding each district gets and why. ➜ Second, it empowers districts. District leaders have flexibility to use funds to meet the unique needs of their students. ➜ Third, it empowers parents. Parents can choose the district that is best for their children, with the money fully following their students.➜ Finally, it is fairer. All students in your state get the same base resources, with additional funding for students with special needs or disadvantages.

Calling this de facto voucher system “student centered state funding” is disingenuous at best. And the five step process for introducing this system makes no mention of how to handle cases where parents might chose a religiously affiliated schools, how this would work in New England States where towns are separated by geographical features that preclude “choice” and towns— not states— are the primary source of funding and towns want to maintain a public school in their communities even if it requires them to pay a premium per pupil rate.

“Student centered state funding” works on a spread sheet in a state like Florida… but in virtually every other state it would be impossible for parents to exercise “choice” unless they enrolled in religiously affiliated schools, virtual academies (assuming broadband was available), or charter chain schools. But those caveats may be a feature…

 

My Open Letter to NH Education Committee Members and My Local NH Legislators:

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Our State legislators seem intent on passing a bill that would create a scholarship fund for students, a de facto voucher plan. This is the letter i will be sending to the chair of the education committee:

I am writing to urge you to vote against the passage of SB 193 because it is based on deeply flawed principles. SB 193 assumes that

  • Public education should function in an unregulated marketplace.
  • Parents should have the complete control over the money raised by taxpayers for public schools and be allowed to use those funds to enroll their children in any school or in no school at all
  • A child can receive an adequate public education with a voucher worth “… 90 percent of the per pupil adequate education grant amount pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, plus any differentiated aid”.

Public education is not a commodity that will benefit from operating in a “free market”. Free markets cannot provide universal services in a fair and equitable fashion. The free market, for example, has not provided access to high speed internet in my relatively isolated part of Hanover, New Hampshire. The free market would not maintain the paved road I live on or the electric service I receive at an affordable rate. And the “free market” will not offer children in New Hampshire an adequate education, especially if the voucher given to parents is worth ”… 90 percent of the per pupil adequate education grant amount pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, plus any differentiated aid”. In a state that is being sued for failing to provide adequate funding for all children, it is inconceivable that 90% of the current funding level will be an adequate amount for any program.

SB 193 as written gives parents the ability to use taxpayers funds to enroll a child in a religious school, to enroll a child in a school that fails to meet the minimum standards set forth by the state, or to complete a program they develop. There is no assurance that any of these unregulated programs will provide their children with the basic skills as measured by the State’s assessment program. In a State that values the US Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and accountability it is hypocritical to pass a law that allows parents to use public funds for religious education or allows them to use funds to enroll in unregulated schools that do not have to meet state standards.

SB 193 does provide cover for legislators who do not want to address the persistent issue of inadequate and inequitable funding for public schools. If a full-blown parent choice program emerges from the passage of this and subsequent laws, the legislature could make an argument that no child is being denied an equitable educational opportunity because all parents have a “choice” as to how they use their voucher. “Choice” shifts the burden of providing an adequate education away from the legislature and onto the parents. In doing so, “choice will ultimately exacerbate the economic divide in the state, especially if the voucher a parent receives for each child is valued at ”… 90 percent of the per pupil adequate education grant amount pursuant to RSA 198:40-a, plus any differentiated aid”. Those parents who can afford to supplement the voucher and those parents who can afford homes in communities with well-funded schools will benefit from “choice”. Other parents will have their choices limited to attending their underfunded local schools or enrolling in non-public schools with the lowest tuition rates.

SB 193 provides one clear benefit: Governor Sununu’s provisos notwithstanding, it will help parents whose children currently attend non-public schools to cover the costs of tuition. This will be accomplished by siphoning funds currently earmarked for public schools, making it even more challenging for public schools to meet the needs of their students and thereby making it more attractive for parents to seek vouchers.

In conclusion, a vote in support of SB 193 is a vote to diminish the opportunity for ALL children to receive an adequate education, particularly the children in families who cannot augment the vouchers the state would offer and the children in families who reside in districts where state funds would be redirected to underwrite the vouchers provided to students who are already enrolled in private schools. A vote in support of SB 193 is a vote against the “government schools” overseen and regulated by locally elected boards and funded by voters who want to provide an equitable opportunity for all children in their community and in the state. I urge you to vote against this ill-conceived legislation.

 

 

 

 

International Independent Studies Conclude that Choice Exacerbates the Economic Divide

November 12, 2017 Leave a comment

One of Diane Ravitch’s posts yesterday provided a link to a Global Education Monitoring blog post reporting on a recent study they conducted that concluded that “…school choice often doesn’t work as it’s meant to, and can in fact increase inequalities and undermine quality education.”  The study concluded that this is the case for the following reasons:

  • Studies have repeatedly shown that school choice benefits wealthier families, while further marginalizing disadvantaged parents and schools… In the United States, while all parents used networks extensively, parents with more privileged networks used fewer information sources, relied more on educated peers and had access to more accurate information…
  • An underlying reason why school choice is flawed concerns information. The idea of school choice is based on the assumption that parents have access to and can use information to compare their child’s school to other schools to see if there’s a better option for their child. However, this information, even if accessible, may not be usable…
  • School choice is meant to strengthen accountability but often concentrates disadvantaged students in disadvantaged schools… In the United States, the most disadvantaged families have a limited choice over charter schools, which are public, independent schools that families can choose. This has led to increased segregation. What’s more, a long-term study of charter schools in Michigan showed a negative impact on student achievement and efficiency in public schools.

So wealthy families have better networks which provide them with better information than their less affluent peers which enables them to cluster in “high performing” schools while information starved parents languish in “public” schools. To readers of this blog and other progressive publications this isn’t news… and to some parents who are choice advocates this is not a bug but a feature.

The Global Education Monitoring blog also examined vouchers and found them wanting except in some limited cases where they help students attend college. For K-12 schooling, though, vouchers fall short of the mark:

…making vouchers available may lead to greater inequality in access without necessarily improving student performance, especially if schools are allowed to charge more. Most reviews on voucher programmes in the United States indicated that vouchers did not significantly improve student achievement, and recent studies from Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio showed negative effects

At the end of their study, the Global Education Monitoring blog concluded vouchers are not beneficial:

All these concerns indicate that governments should be extremely cautious in pushing forward reforms that promote an education ‘market’, as school choice may actually have negative effects on the quality and equity of education.

The bottom line: if the US hopes to address the increasing disparity in educational opportunity and results vouchers are NOT the solution!

US News and World Report’s Argument that Choice Leads to Racial and Economic Integration is Full of Holes

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

The title of a November 9, 2017 US News and World Report article by David Osborne and Emily Langhorne, “Charter Schools and School Choice Can Promote Integration in Public Schools“, is technically accurate but actually wrong…. and Mr. Osborne and Ms. Langhorne’s arguments supporting the title are full of holes.

The article begins with this overview:

Charter schools are public schools operated by independent organizations, usually nonprofits. They are freed from many of the rules that constrain district-operated schools. In exchange for increased autonomy, they are normally held accountable for their performance by their authorizers, who close or replace them if they fail to educate children. Most are schools of choice, and unlike magnet schools in traditional districts, they are not allowed to select their students. If too many students apply, they hold lotteries to see who gets in.

Mr. Osborne and Ms. Langhorne then turn to their sights to the one group who opposes these presumably wonderful opportunities for students: the teachers unions!

Not everyone acknowledges the potential of public charters and school choice to spur integration in America’s schools. Last summer, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten went so far as to label the school choice movement “the only slightly more polite cousin of segregation.”

In most charter schools, teachers choose not to unionize. Union memberships have shrunk as charter sectors have grown, so it’s no surprise that teachers unions hate charter schools and, by extension, school choice.

Anyone who’s read this blog or any other blog that supports public schools governed by elected boards serving all children in their community knows that choice advocates like to play on the resentment voters feel toward public unions in an effort to divert attention from their true agenda, which is to privatize a public service that has the potential to earn billions of dollars for a small group of elite investors. And anyone who took and passed Economics 101 realizes that paying the lowest wages possible will maximize profits, making unionization an anathema. And anyone who has tracked the record of privatizers knows that teachers in those schools are seldom given the opportunity to make the choice to join a union.

But Mr. Osborne and Ms. Langhorne aren’t done making flawed assertions. They accurately contend that any “…conversation about integration quickly runs into this brick wall of residential segregation. Most of the previous methods for integration implemented by our traditional public school systems have failed. For instance, boundary shifts have spurred animosity between neighborhoods, and busing accelerated “white flight” rather than promote inclusion and increase integration.

Based on my experience and observations, the animosity seldom exists between neighborhoods: it exists in white and/or affluent neighborhoods who are afraid of having their children being required to attend schools with “those” children, where “those” children are of a different race or economic standing. I can’t think of any instance where parents of children born in poverty asked to remain in underfunded schools or where parents of black and brown students asked to remain in schools that served only children of color. Housing values, redistribution of taxes, and racism are the root of “animosity” when redistricting is proposed or boundaries are changed between districts.

Mr. Osborne and Ms. Langhorne then offer illustrations of cases where large districts have created intra-district choice to good effect. These case studies prove that their title is accurate: Charter Schools and School Choice CAN Promote Integration in Public Schools. And the choice programs of the districts in question— with the exception of New Orleans— are the result of decisions made by school boards who were elected by the public and their schools are all governed by policies written and enacted by those elected boards.

But the collateral damage caused by the creation of charter schools is grossly understated. The change away from the traditional governance model of public schools results in a lack of accountability. When locally elected boards held to open meetings laws are replaced with privately owned and operated schools transparency disappears. When regulations are loosened in the name of “limiting restrictions” the working conditions for students and employees is weakened and students find themselves attending schools in converted storefronts in strip malls or, even worse, sitting in front of computers in their bedrooms. And when a poor performing charter school is closed or replaced the students lured to that school are left in the lurch.

Segregation by race and economics are seemingly intractable… but one action by a democratically elected legislature could remedy both problems. What if a State legislature raised sufficient funds to provide the same level of resources to schools serving children in poverty as are available to schools serving children in affluent neighborhoods. That would be a giant step toward creating funding equity. And what if a State legislature required that children in overcrowded and under resources schools be assigned to neighboring districts where class sizes are smaller? It strike me that such an action would cut through the residential segregation that is currently blocking the integration in public schools.

But instead of upsetting the choices the affluent voters are making relative to their residence or requiring those same affluent voters to pay more taxes, the school choice advocates seem inclined to take a course that not only retains residential choice, but offers a “free market” opportunity to “solve” these intractable problems. The result, unfortunately, is not a reinvention of American schools: it is a reinforcement of racial and economic segregation.