This week is National School Choice Week. School choice stands apart from other education reforms, not only in its growing bipartisan support, but also in its ability to deliver results without increasing costs to taxpayers.
One school choice reform that is getting results is Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program for low-income kids. Florida’s program began in 2001 providing tax credits for scholarships to students from low-income families. In 2007-08 alone, the program supported about 23,000 students, about 95% of whom would not have been able to attend a private school otherwise. It has helped bring Florida from among the lower performing states in educational achievement to among the best. While Education Week now ranks Florida as 5th in the nation, Oregon (despite having a more privileged population and spending more per student) is ranked at 43rd.
A Modest Tax Credit Scholarship Program Would Produce a Fiscal Net Benefit to Oregon State School Funding
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program was established in 2001. It provides an income tax credit for corporations that contribute money to nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations (SFOs) that award scholarships to students from families with limited financial resources. The Florida legislature calculates that the program saved the state $36.2 million in fiscal year 2008-09.
If Oregon adopted a program similar to Florida’s, the benefits of reduced demands for education funding would exceed the costs of the tax credit, producing a net savings to the state of $7.7 million.
Local Districts Keep Thousands of Oregon Kids Waiting for a Choice
by Christina Martin
The last week in January is National School Choice Week. Organizations, celebrities and individuals from diverse political persuasions are standing together to demand that we give kids better educational opportunities. School choice stands apart from other reforms, not only in its growing bipartisan support, but also in its ability to deliver results without increasing costs to taxpayers.
Oregon’s charter school law, the state’s only significant school choice reform, has yet to reach its transformative potential because most districts still fail to embrace it. The law allowed the creation of charter schools—public schools operated by non-profit private organizations.
Lending Superman a Hand
By Darla Romfo
The award-winning documentary Waiting for “Superman” (2010 Sundance Film Festival) captures many of the deficiencies in our public education system with tear-jerking accuracy. It is a good movie, but it doesn’t go far enough in arguing for better educational choices for America’s children.
Director Davis Guggenheim and several of the experts he interviews argue that charter schools have finally figured out how to educate poor inner-city kids who have scored below their more affluent peers for years. But actually there were schools doing a great job long before charters came along. Some are low-cost parochial and faith-based schools, and others are just independent private schools operating in the inner city. They get very little attention, but they are doing a good job of educating some of our most at-risk kids.
Cascade’s School Choice beginnings
by Steve Buckstein
Why is school choice such an important part of Cascade Policy Institute’s agenda? Partially, it’s because it is the issue that got us started back in 1991.
In 1990 a small group including myself got together and placed a citizen initiative on Oregon’s ballot. Measure 11 would have provided refundable tax credits to every K-12 student in the state, which they could use to attend any public, private, religious or home school of their choice. No state had ever voted on such a sweeping reform before, and we felt it was time for Oregon to lead the way.
We gathered over 130,000 signatures to place our measure on the ballot; more than any other measure that year. We raised over $500,000 from Oregonians and donors around the country to get the school choice message out in our state.
But on election night that November, we came up short. We only earned about one-third of the vote for our school choice measure. That didn’t surprise us, because through polling we realized that school choice was a new concept to most people, and it was easy for our opponents to scare voters into saying No.
Before the votes had even been tallied, we began thinking about how we could move our school choice agenda forward in the future. We decided that Oregon needed a free-market think tank to advocate for school choice as well as other limited government ideas. That’s why, barely two months after Measure 11 lost at the polls, we incorporated Cascade Policy Institute in January 1991.
In the 20 years that have now passed, we have made some significant progress on the school choice front. We worked hard to introduce the charter school concept in the state in the mid-1990s. By 1999 the Oregon legislature passed, and Governor Kitzhaber signed, a charter school bill that now has resulted in more than 100 public charter schools operating in the state.
Also in 1999 we evolved from just talking about school choice to actually providing choice to hundreds of low-income kids in the Portland area through our Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program. We initially raised $1 million of private money that was matched by $1 million nationally to provide partial scholarships to over 500 kids for four years at the schools of their choice. The fact that over 6,600 kids applied for those 500 slots demonstrated that the demand for school choice is great in Oregon. We can’t help them all, so we continue to advocate for broader programs that will.
We bring national speakers to the state, talking about the benefits of school choice elsewhere. We work to help expand online learning opportunities in the face of entrenched special interest opposition. And we continue to bring realistic school choice funding proposals to the legislature in the hope that soon a majority of both houses will agree that we can’t wait any longer to provide real school choice for many more Oregon children.
Cascade won’t stop advocating for school choice until every student in the state has the real choices they deserve. We appreciate the help of everyone who shares our vision of a freer, better education system in Oregon. It can’t come too soon.
Steve Buckstein was an organizer of Oregonians for School Choice, which placed a school choice measure on Oregon’s 1990 General Election ballot. He went on to help found Cascade Policy Institute in January 1991, serving as its first President. He is currently its Senior Policy Analyst.
On January 23-29, school choice supporters across the U.S. will shine a spotlight on effective educational options for kids. This is an opportunity on a state and national scale to raise awareness of the need to reform public education and to build support for School Choice. There are many ways to get involved and to show your support!
1) On January 25, attend Cascade Policy Institute’s Policy Picnic about school choice. Cascade’s School Choice Project Director will talk about school choice and the research in favor of expanding educational options. Space is limited! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to RSVP.
2) School boards play a pivotal role in expanding or restricting school choice in Oregon. On Saturday, January 29, attend the “You Can Be Superman” candidate call. Cascade’s Christina Martin will explain why school choice is important. Several speakers will address major school choice issues and talk about how to start and run a campaign for a school board position. ALL charter school supporters are welcome to attend this event regardless of party affiliation.
Full details and free registration are available at http://rescueoregon.com.
3) On Wednesday, January 26, join Americans for Prosperity for a viewing of The Cartel in Clackamas, Oregon. The Cartel is an award-winning documentary about corruption in public education and the promise of school choice. View the movie trailer. Find out more and RSVP by visiting http://schoolchoiceweek.com/Event/afp-oregon.
by Steve Buckstein
Oregonians voted down a new tax on tobacco in 2007, realizing that it would unfairly hurt the poor. So why would one state legislator now propose a tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks?
Representative Mitch Greenlick seems to think that making soft drinks more expensive will cut down on childhood obesity, even though some studies come to different conclusions. He knows that a number of other states tax the stuff, so why not get some revenue for the thirsty state coffers and help kids at the same time?
Children’s Scholarship Fund President Darla Romfo has been chosen as one of the Heroes of 2010 by Newsmax magazine! The heroes list includes former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
According to Newsmax, “the 2010 heroes roster represents the best examples of philanthropy, charity, military service, business excellence, public safety, government leadership, and community advocacy. These heroes truly show how individual leadership, conviction, and courage lead to great things. For all of us.”
Many commentators have expressed outrage at the possibility of a Costco being opened in the Rose Quarter. They point to the decades of public planning for that neighborhood and the multiple rail lines, and demand some form of transit-oriented development (TOD) as an alternative. (more…)
by Todd Wynn
Ban styrofoam, ban Bisphenol-A, ban plastic bags, ban phosphate dishwashing detergents, ban coal. What else can we ban? That represents the typical mantra for environmental groups and activists these days. Their only method of effecting change is to use government force to take choice from citizens. (more…)
Last summer, over 4,700 kids were on waiting lists hoping to attend an Oregon charter school, according to a report released today by Cascade Policy Institute. Charter schools are public schools run by private non-profit organizations.
Most of Oregon’s charter schools have waiting lists. Some blame charter schools, but it is politicians and bureaucrats who have kept kids waiting. (more…)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 5, 2011
Contact: Christina Martin
Cascade Policy Institute
3,600 Oregon students Hoping for charter school SLOTS
PORTLAND – A report released today by Cascade Policy Institute shows that over 3,600 kids are on waiting lists to attend one of Oregon’s charter schools and explains why lists are long.
The study, Waiting for Choice: Charter Schools, Waiting Lists and Obstacles to Expanding Educational Opportunities for Oregon’s Kids, investigated demand for charter school options in Oregon and obstacles to increasing enrollment capacity. (more…)
How to Avoid the Looming Traffic Congestion Crisis in Oregon
A Legislative Briefing
Featured speaker: John A. Charles, Jr.
President & CEO, Cascade Policy Institute
Thursday, April 19
Hearing Room 50
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Admission is free.
Complimentary box lunches will be provided to those who register by Tuesday, April 17.
RSVP to email@example.com or 503 242 0900.
VALLEY PACHYDERM CLUB
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 12 NOON
LUNCH at SALEM SCOTTISH RITE CENTER
4090 Commercial SE (South of Browning near Car’l B Klean)
Our guest will be Steve Buckstein of Cascade Policy Institute in Portland. He will tell us how the major health care reform plans before the Oregon Legislature would move us in the wrong direction, and what a better direction would be.
Pachyderm meetings are open to all who want to learn more about issues, politics, and how to make a difference.
RSVP by Wednesday, Mar. 14
Call Wayne at 503-585-6116 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Thursday, November 18th, 7-9 PM
Who: Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Author – “Capitalism Unbound”
What: Lecture and Book Signing moderated by Todd Wynn
Location: MAC Club
Details: $15.00 pp // Dessert buffet and coffee/tea will be served.
RSVP to email@example.com or call 503-242-0900.Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the City University of New York. He is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire, as well as of Capitalism Unbound. He speaks regularly on the greatness of capitalism to college audiences, to high school students, to Tea Party groups, and to other private organizations. He is a regular guest on radio talk shows, including a recent appearance on the Jason Lewis show. His op-ed essays have appeared in numerous newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Houston Chronicle, and others. He is widely regarded as a rousing and inspiring speaker in support of individual rights and freedom. His website is:
The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served.
Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon Street
Sponsored by The Cato Institute, Cascade Policy Institute, and Oregonians in Action
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
With comments by
President, Cato Institute
President, Cascade Policy Institute
President, Oregonians in Action
Thirty-six years ago, Oregon began an unprecedented land-use planning program that attempts to control how all property owners use their land. Today, the results are in: the program has imposed huge costs on rural landowners, urban homebuyers, commuters, and businesses while producing minimal environmental gains compared with states that do not have such planning. Yet too few people have learned this lesson. Federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. employ more than 20,000 planners who attempt to write comprehensive, long-range plans that attempt to control other people’s land, money, and resources. These plans almost always end in disaster.
In his new book, The Best-Laid Plans, Randal O’Toole demonstrates that comprehensive, long-range planning of other people’s resources is always doomed to fail, and that Congress and state and local governments should repeal existing planning laws and shut down planning departments. O’Toole shows that the problems that planning claims to address can be better dealt with through user fees, markets, and other incentives rather than through regulatory planning.
Cost to attend is $20.
To register, please contact Nancy Wheaton at Cascade Policy Institute by calling 503-242-0900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE ECONOMIC ROUNDTABLE
|TOPIC:||Globalization…The Critics Prove Wrong|
|SPEAKER:||Ralph Shaw, Shaw Management Company|
|DATE:||May 16, 2007 (Wednesday)|
|TIME:||Noon to 1:30 PM (Luncheon)|
|LOCATION:||University Club (at SW Sixth Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Portland)|
|COST:||$17.00 per person|
|RSVP:||Please call Bob Plame at 503-968-6745, or send him an E-mail (email@example.com), no later than noon on May 11, 2007 (Wednesday). Roundtable members are encouraged to make reservations for guests.
Please note that we are asking that you make reservations by the Wednesday before the meeting, in order to be sure that we can select the right sized room; we appreciate your cooperation in making timely reservations.
Cancellation policy: Since we must pay for meals for those who make reservations but then do not attend, or who cancel at the last minute, please cancel by NOON on the day before the meeting; otherwise, we will bill you $17.00 for the meal. Thanks for your understanding on this matter.
BACKGROUND ON TOPIC:
Globalization has stirred strong emotions, as evidence by the rioting in Seattle and several commentators’ challenges to those who believe globalization will benefit the world’s less-developed nations as well as the developed world. A look at the trends strongly supports the value of globalization in most nations.
BACKGROUND ON SPEAKER:
Ralph R. Shaw has over forty-five years of experience in the securities business, encompassing securities analysis, institutional securities marketing, mutual fund portfolio management, and the management of investment portfolios for tax-exempt clients, including pension and profit sharing plans, as well as charities and endowments. In 1980, Ralph Shaw formed Shaw Management Company, an investment counseling firm. In January 1983, Ralph Shaw and US Bancorp with Shaw acting as General Partner formed Shaw Venture Partners with $80 million of venture capital assets available for investment. Ralph Shaw has been a leading venture capitalist in the Western United States emphasizing the Pacific Northwest. Companies that were started through investments by Shaw Venture Partners (and others) include Costco, Integra Telecom, Actel Corp., Telestream, Dendreon, Sequent Computer Systems, Protocol Systems, Integrated Measurement Systems, BMG Corporation and Sports Incorporated.
Mr. Shaw presently serves on the boards of directors of Schnitzer Steel, Inc., Telestream, Inc., BMG Seltec, Rentrak Corporation, United Fund Advisors, and One to One Interactive. He serves as chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors for the State of Oregon, is a member of St. Vincent’s Medical Foundation Council of Trustees, and serves as a trustee for the Tax-Free Trust of Oregon. Ralph Shaw is a graduate of Hofstra University, earning a degree in Public Accounting, and of New York University’s School of Law where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
Be sure to mark the following date on your calendar:
- June 20, 2007 (Wednesday) — “Commercial Real Estate,” Rance Gregory – Norris Beggs & Simpson
- July 18, 2007 (Wednesday) — Program to be announced
For any address list changes or questions, please contact Dick Hanson at 971-327-2710, or by E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meeting notices are now sent primarily by E-mail (approx. 84 of the 86 people on our mailing list). Those who do not have access to the Internet (2) will continue to receive meeting notices by mail.
Cascade Policy Institute is joining other local groups encouraging our supporters to attend a National Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 26th in Portland. There is no cost, and your voice is needed.
AmericaSpeaks is convening this largest ever national discussion on the country’s fiscal future. In 20 cities across the country thousands of citizens will participate in an AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting®. Participants will be connected live via satellite video, webcast and interactive technologies. You will be able to discuss your concerns and register your choices about how we should deal with our country’s out-of-control spending and the federal debt.
To register for the Portland event click here:
Portland Saturday June 26th Town Meeting: Our Budget, Our Economy
8:30am to 3pm at the Oregon Convention Center
If you do register to attend the event, please email Steve Buckstein and let him know so he can look for you there.
|A Celebration of the Life of Milton Friedman
July 31, 2010 would have been Milton Friedman’s 98th birthday. Now, more than ever, we need his vision. To honor the impact he has had on our society, and to help clarify his moral framework for freedom and free enterprise, we will celebrate the Friedman Legacy for Freedom in partnership with The Foundation for Educational Choice.
Keynote Speaker – John Fund (Wall Street Journal Columnist)
Friday, July 30, 2010
Multnomah Athletic Club
RSVP by July 24 to Deanne Kastine
Cascade Policy Institute
Milton Friedman’s Legacy of Freedom
July 31, 2007 would have been Milton Friedman’s 95th birthday. To honor his vision and the impact he has had on our society, Cascade Policy Institute offers these links to his life and work:
- Milton Friedman, RIPBy Steve Buckstein
- Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation“Promoting school choice to improve, through competition, the quality of K-12 education for all.”
- Watch the Friedmans’ classic OPB “Free to Choose” television series
- Purchase Friedman videos“The Power of Choice,” “Free to Choose” and others
- Milton and Rose Friedman togetherAn interview in Stanford Magazine
- ”Capitalism and Freedom”Friedman’s 1962 classic book
- Books and other media by and about Milton Friedman
- Milton Friedman’s CaseBy Arnold Kling
JANUARY 29, 2007, DECLARED MILTON FRIEDMAN DAY
90-minute PBS Television Documentary
THE POWER OF CHOICE: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman
Nobel prize-winner Dr. Milton Friedman, who passed away November 16, 2006, at the age of 94, was perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and the impact of his ideas will extend far into the future. To honor the man, and to recognize his influence and examine its full import, January 29, 2007 is being declared Milton Friedman Day — a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe.
On Monday, January 29, at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings), PBS will premiere The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, an exclusive documentary on the remarkable life and visionary ideas of Milton Friedman. Produced for PBS by Free to Choose Media, it will give viewers a new understanding of the magnitude of this legendary economist’s influence on our modern world.
This 90-minute documentary examines the life of this brilliantly intelligent man who dared to push forward his theories against almost universal opposition, and whose courage and determination changed the world in countless ways. Through interviews with leading economists and policy makers including Alan Greenspan, Nobel Laureates Paul Samuelson and Gary Becker, and the first freely elected Prime Minister of Estonia, Mart Laar, “The Power of Choice” shows how Friedman’s championing of choice in business and economic practices has led to societies with both greater liberty and economic development for the vast majority of citizens. As Friedman said, “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”
This unique documentary illustrates how the ideas of this once outrageous, yet innovative thinker are now part of the fabric of everyday life. While his ideas are taken for granted today, Friedman introduced them to an outcry within the field of economics and in the world of public policy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once said of Dr. Friedman, “There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”
“The story of Milton Friedman’s life and influence can only be accurately told by exploring his science and showing the impact his ideas have had on the world stage,” said Executive Producer Robert Chitester. “To bring life to Dr. Friedman’s ideas, we have taken our cameras to Estonia, Chile, England, and throughout the United States. We have interviewed people whose lives and destinies have been changed — for the better — through the implementation of one man’s ideas.”
“The Power of Choice” begins with an introduction of Milton Friedman and his wife and fellow economist, Rose (who grew up in Portland). As this section of the documentary recounts, their relationship influenced the development of ideas that changed the U.S. and world economies.
In addition to airing the documentary, Milton Friedman Day will include debates at universities and institutions across the country to explore the role of free markets in the economic growth that has improved people’s lives and expanded business opportunities worldwide. Students will also debate the relationship of the economic freedom Friedman espoused to the flourishing of personal and political freedom.
Milton Friedman Day will also be observed through blogs and an online discussion, hosted by The Economist, which will include leading economists and public officials.
“The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman” was produced by Free to Choose Media, a non-profit 501(c)(3) public foundation whose mission is to use easily understood and entertaining popular media to reach inquisitive minds regarding the value and interrelationship of personal, economic and political freedom sustained by the rule of law.
By Gordon J. Fulks, Ph.D.
From near record-high to near record-low temperatures last November in the Pacific Northwest, from relatively warm ocean conditions and “dead zones” to relatively cold ocean conditions and fabulous salmon runs off our Pacific Coast, from an unusually cold winter to an unusually hot summer in Russia, from near record-low Arctic sea ice to near record-high Antarctic sea ice, our climate displays wide variability. But an army of psychologists, journalists and even scientists make sure that the warm swings they deem alarming get the greatest attention. These propagandists know that the selling of Global Warming is all about perception, not reality. (more…)
Waiting for Choice: Charter Schools, Waiting Lists and Obstacles to Expanding Educational Opportunities for Oregon’s Kids
By Christina Martin and Rebecca Steele
Oregon’s charter schools, which are public schools run by private non-profit organizations, are popular with parents. Over 4,700 children were on waiting lists this summer to attend one of Oregon’s charter schools during the 2010-11 school year. Once school starts in the fall, waiting lists usually shrink since many parents do not want to disrupt their children’s school year with a transfer. Still, in late October, more than 3,600 kids were on waiting lists.
Living with Wolves and No Right of Protection
by Karla Kay Edwards
Imagine one day you were told that by law you no longer can lock your home. As you leave your house, two suspicious people are sitting on your front porch. So you get your kitchen broom and shoo them away. But they are still in front of your house on the sidewalk (legally not on your property). You call the police. They file a report and promise to monitor the situation. You eventually have to leave your home to run errands. When you come back, your computer that you use to run your business is gone. While you are confident that the folks you ran off your porch and who witnessed you leaving are the culprits, the police inform you that they found no fingerprints. Therefore, they aren’t sure if you simply misplaced your own computer. (more…)
In January, the 112th Congress has the opportunity to make a difference for rural counties suffering from lost timber revenues on federal lands. To do so will take both courage and willingness to look at old problems in new or modified ways. One of the many immediate issues to be addressed is the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS).
In 2008 $477 million was dispersed to pay for schools, roads and other essential services for local communities. This would back-fill lost revenue for counties from declining timber harvests on federal lands. Oregon alone received nearly $134 million that year.
Many people have no idea what online learning looks like for a K-12 student. This video gives a peak at how one normal family uses online school to give their son a tailor-made education.
(Video by Cascade Research Associates, Olivia Wolcott and Rebecca Steele.)
In 2010, Cascade interns interviewed the Isaacs family of Portland about their experience with virtual charter schooling in Oregon through the Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA). Steven Isaac said that the virtual schooling option has been a great fit for his son Skylar. He commented that the flexibility and ability to spend additional time investigating subjects of interest has helped to foster his son’s love for learning and emphasized, “we are just a normal family doing their best when it comes to the education of our child.” He continued, “We believe, based on the evidence that we have observed, that we can teach our child in a more efficient manner then a teacher with 30+ kids all needing individual attention.”