Education reform pioneers’ story

Education Reform: Before It Was Cool looks at the pioneers of the modern reform movement. The anthology was edited by Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform.

Ty’Sheoma needs choices

Without school choice, Ty’Sheoma Bethea will stay in her second-rate school, writes Jeanne Allen, who runs the Center for Education Reform, in the Washington Post.

Ty’Sheoma is the young lady who sat with first lady Michelle Obama when President Obama spoke to Congress Tuesday night. She had reached the president through a letter about her school, the ceiling that leaks, the walls that shake when trains go by, the poor education it provides.

Ty’Sheoma lives in Dillon, South Carolina, which spends $8,700 — more than the national average — to keep her in that crumbling school. Her junior high has a student-to-staff ratio of 9 to 1, notes Allen.  But it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
Ty’Sheoma’s parents have no choice: There are no charter alternatives in Dillon; there are no vouchers or “opportunity scholarships” that would let them consider a private school.  There’s no pressure on the district-run public schools to improve. “If Ty’Sheoma had a choice, maybe we wouldn’t know her at all,” writes Allen.

Change: Here’s how

Center for Education Reform’s Mandate for Change prescribes a five-part cure for our education woes. Juan Williams writes on federal accountability, John Engler on transparency, Kevin Chavous on charter schools, Jeanne Allen on school choice and Richard Whitmire on teacher quality.