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Can School Choice Save Schools?

Here are some previous Think Tank programs that may be of interest.

Social Policy with Karl Zinsmeister  (aired 6/15/2006)
Karl Zinsmeister, newly appointed domestic policy advisor to President George W. Bush, sat down with host Ben Wattenberg in April for a candid and exclusive interview about issues affecting Americans every day -- sexual morals, abortion, the future of Social Security, welfare reform, education, and more. As editor of the American Enterprise Magazine, Zinsmeister has had a visible role as a social critic and conservative thinker. At the heart of this interview is the question of what government’s responsibility should be in shaping the choices individuals make in American society.

Is There a Worm in the Apple?  (aired 10/7/2004)
The landmark federal education law known as the No Child Left Behind Act is now two years old. Supporters of the law hailed it as a much-needed injection of accountability into failing schools. But some school administrators resent the emphasis on national standards testing and the threatened loss of funds if standards are unmet. Other critics complain that Congress has yet to fully fund the programs. Is No Child Left Behind making kids smarter? Or is a one-size-fits-all approach asking too much of America’s schools?

The Language Police/Textbook PC  (aired 12/4/2003)
Are textbooks publishers dumbing down what children learn in school? Some critics say that what began in the 1970’s as a well-meaning attempt to eliminate words and images that were demeaning to women and minority groups has resulted in censorship. Do bias and sensitivity guidelines now rob textbooks of the richness of human experience? How widespread is this practice? What is it doing to youngsters?

Changing Our Schools  (aired 9/5/2002)
Demands for education reform are nothing new in America, but two recent developments may lead to more than just debate. In January 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, requiring so-called "high stakes" standardized testing in reading and math for grades 3-8. Five months later, the Supreme Court upheld the use of vouchers to help pay tuition at private schools, secular and religious, in Cleveland, opening the door for more voucher programs nationwide. Critics question whether either vouchers or standardized testing can solve the deeply ingrained problems of America’s most troubled schools. Among other options: charter schools, smaller classes, better paid teachers, home schooling. What reforms will give students and parents the biggest bang for their buck?

Do the liberal arts need saving?  (aired 4/5/2001)
This week, Think Tank looks at the current controversy over higher education. At the beginning of the 20th century only a small minority of young people continued their education past high school. For most of those, a liberal arts education steeped in classical literature, foreign languages, and mathematics was seen as a rite of passage. Today, despite a greatly expanded student population, the numbers of students choosing an old-fashioned liberal arts education have declined. Instead, with college costs going up sharply, most are pursuing an education that will put them directly into a job. Is this as it should be? Or are we dumbing down America?


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