Logic of parental choice ensnares Spencer

By Kelley Harp harpkw@yahoo.com Can it be? Is Jim Spencer, our favorite ultra-liberal columnist for the Denver Post, a new advocate for school choice and school vouchers? In his Oct. 12 column, he notes that while poor kids still do worse on standardized tests than others, poor kids in poor schools do worse than poor kids in richer schools. "The numbers prove that poverty affects the academicperformance of Colorado's schoolchildren," writes Spencer. "The question is what -- if anything - the state can do about it.

"This seems like a battle cry. But statewide, economic integration of public schools is 'pie in the sky,' said Alan Gottlieb, who studied economic segregation in Denver Public Schools in 2001.

"Gottlieb, who works for the Piton Foundation, said Colorado's best chance for economic integration wouldcome by keeping all schools less than half poor.

"The analysis shows that poor kids score roughly 8 percentage points better on CSAP tests when they attend schools less than half poor."

It seems Spencer, wittingly or not, is becoming an advocate of giving poor kids and parents the necessary means to achieve academic success through school choice. While keeping all Denver public school less than half poor might not be feasible in the short-term, moving some kids to better schools is possible now with vouchers. Jump aboard, Jim Spencer. There is plenty of room for you on thisbus.