Bush Plan 'a Good Start,' But Not Enough, Says Nobel
Nobel Learning Communities, Inc., the nation's largest operator of private schools, welcomed President George W. Bush's education reform package as a strong beginning to a reform of the U.S. public school system . . . but called for a more aggressive and better-financed voucher component to further enhance parental choice in education.
The students at Nobel schools average between one-and-a-half and two grade levels above the national average, according to results from Stanford-9 achievement tests.
"President Bush has put forward an ambitious national education agenda that includes national testing and a program for tuition vouchers. This is a good start and a step in the right direction," said Nobel CEO and Chairman A. Jack Clegg. "Our biggest concern and strongest recommendation is that the government continue to look at ways to provide even more choice for parents and students by implementing a more aggressive and better-financed voucher system."
While calling the plan's $1,500 student voucher "modest," Clegg said it still would help considerably in giving parents more choice over their child's education, particularly in schools like Nobel's, where $1,500 would cover a quarter of the average $6,000 per year tuition cost. However, the Bush voucher would be only a small help for students who wanted to attend other private schools, where annual tuition costs average nearly $12,000.
Clegg also welcomed Bush's proposal for rigorous state-specific national tests as the starting point for a national debate on educational policy issues, noting testing is an important part of the educational process.
"Tests provide a system of accountability for parents to know how well a school is educating their children," he said.
Based in Media, Pennsylvania, Nobel operates 159 private schools, including special education and specialty schools. The company also owns or operates 69 charter schools nationwide, providing educational services to more than 25,000 students in 15 states.