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Coffee Contacts at X-Press Shredding; Who Uses the EdChoice Scholarship and Who Benefits?

On Thursday, July 7th, we started our day by driving to Mentor for an Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce "Coffee Contacts" that was held at "X-Press Shredding" which is a division of "Moving Solutions" which also does document management, freight hauling and moving.

IMG_2753"Moving Solutions" was founded in 1976 and is a prominent Lake County Business. It has been owned since 1990 by Mr. Bill and Ms. Michele Tyers who have been married for 41 years and make a good team because, as Ms. Tyers told us, "Bill drives the train and I pay the bills."

This event was attended by 47 people and we got to network with a young art director who has artist friends here temporarily from other countries but may wish to stay longer. We also met a person who has a family member who immigrated here from another country but still has relatives in his/her native land who may want to immigrate to the United States also so, most assuredly, Margaret W. Wong and Associates will be kept in mind.

Thursday afternoon we went to the City Club of Cleveland for a program titled "Who Uses the EdChoice Scholarship and Who Benefits?" in which the speaker was Professor David N. Figlio, Ph.D. who is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and Director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

We wanted to do some background research prior to attending so we looked up EdChoice Scholarships on the Ohio Department of Education website and read that "The Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice)Program provides students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program also provides low-income students who are entering kindergarten through third grade the same opportunity. The program provides up to 60,000 EdChoice scholarships to eligible students."

Professor Figlio began his talk by saying that both those who feel strongly that vouchers are the solve everythingIMG_2758 answer to our troubled educational system and those who feel that vouchers just take from the public schools and thus adamantly oppose them will be unsatisfied by the results of his research because his findings are somewhat of a mixed bag.

He then reviewed his data and his conclusions very much like a brilliant medical researcher discussing the effects of a new drug in a very precise detailed way. Unfortunately science has never been one of our strongest subjects so we found ourselves a bit confused at times but, fortunately, there were copies available to us of the 52 page report, "Evaluation of Ohio's EdChoice Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects" that Professor Figlio authored along with Dr. Krzysztof Karbownik that was published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

At the end of Professor Figlio's presentation, he showed us a slide containing his "Conclusions" which were:

***Almost all eligible students are economically disadvantaged but EdChoice participants are comparatively advantaged and comparatively better-performing prior to participating.

***While not definitive, the weight of evidence indicates that students becoming eligible for EdChoice scholarships improved the public schools they were attending.

***For the set of schools we can study (the best-rated of the EdChoice-eligible public schools) it appears that eligible students using the program did worse in private school.

We shared a table with our friend, Ms. Meryl Johnson, candidate for State Board of Education, who asked a very pertinent question regarding the role that religion plays when parents select a school for their child. Also at our table were Mr. Chad L. Aldis, Vice President of Ohio Policy and Advocacy who contributed to the Foreword of Professor Figlio's report; Dr. Marietta Morrissey, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Sociology/Anthropology at the University of Toledo; and Ms. Kathleen Sauline, Assistant Prinicipal at Shaker Heights High School who told us that she really loves working with the students and the teachers there.

Before the program started, we visited with Ms. Krista Hawthorne who has done a lot of work with "AFS Intercultural Programs" which is an international youth exchange organization. Naturally Ms. Hawthorne was very familiar with the work of Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

Before we left, we got to talk to Professor Figlio and asked him if any research has been done about how our educational system serves students who have immigrated to the United States from other countries. Professor Figlio told us that there are no findings at this time but research is now being done regarding the educational experiences of students settled in Florida and we should expect maybe three papers to be published in the next few months.

By:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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