NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FREE THE CHILDREN

August 9, 2005

Schools in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex should be allowed to compete for students from the recently shut down Wilmer-Hutchins (WH) school system, says John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

After years of neglect, the WH school district was dissolved and the students, who are virtually all minority and mostly black, have been moved into the Dallas school district. In return for taking all the WH students, Dallas gets only a third of the money that WH has been spending.

Goodman has a better plan:

  • For each WH student who enrolls, the campus gets what WH spends - close to $10,000 - and the money would go to the campus, not to the school board.
  • In comparison, Texas school districts last year had access to an average of $6,513 per student to operate their schools, according to Texas A&M researchers.
  • Thus, by attracting even one WH student, a school could give bonuses to all teachers, but if it attracted 100 WH students, the school would reap a cool $1 million.

But even if all the money followed the kids, why is moving to the Dallas district a good thing? At most south Dallas campuses, test scores are not much better than they are at Wilmer Hutchins. Goodman says what these kids need is a school that is really good at teaching disadvantaged, minority children who are underperforming and boosts their achievement.

Two years ago, the NCPA developed a value-added report card for Texas schools, where schools were judged based on what they do, not on the abilities of the students who happen to be in the classrooms.

Using such a value-added report card, WH parents could match their children's needs with the school that can best meet those needs. Moreover, says Goodman, schools could enhance their income by advertising what they do best.

Source: John C. Goodman, "Question: Wilmer-Hutchins? Answer: Free the Children," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 8, 2005.

For NCPA value-added report card:

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba446/

 

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