Discovery Institute, Seattle’s conservative think tank started by Bruce Chapman, has a program looking at education reform. Don Nielsen, formerly on the Seattle School Board, is program chair of the effort, the American Center for Transforming Education.
ACTE just highlighted a new study showing that achievement gaps between minority and majority students are considerably higher in progressive cities, including Seattle. It duly notes that this does not prove causation; nor is it a result of income disparities. The study also finds that conservative cities have significantly lower achievement gaps in schools.
Nielsen observes, “The problem is the system…All kids can learn. However, some are far better prepared than others and they get support along the K-12 continuum. Treating them all the same does not take that into account and, therefore, the system fails the ill-prepared.” It’s an interesting insight into the new directions for education reform, coming from the right. One wonders about the costs of such a tailored program, and if conservatives would be up for such a bill.