Home School Choice Peter Flanigan: A genuine Friend of college Choice

Peter Flanigan: A genuine Friend of college Choice

School vouchers never had an even better friend than Peter Flanigan.? It had not been Peter’s direct philanthropic contributions. Although he gave generously on the wealth accumulated as an investment banker, others-such for the reason that late John Walton-drew upon larger marketing budgets to give more to your common cause. Nor was Peter a theoretician who could expound true for vouchers with Friedman-like brilliance.? What Peter brought to the table-early and late-was essential goodness, deep conviction, unwavering integrity softened by way of a gentle kindness like that though not always available on Wall Street, and, which includes, a troublesome mind sharpened by common-sense.

Peter Flanigan

In 1986, just before the earliest voucher program, Peter founded Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), a scholarship program for disadvantaged students vulnerable to dropping out of public school.? SSP don’t just enabled recipients to go to Catholic schools, but donors were likely to mentor their students and even contribute money.? SSP remained Peter’s central philanthropic focus to your end of his life, because it twinned a Catholic education with personal responsibility-on the part of both donor and recipient.? Although the program differed from vouchers in that students were selected and everything participating schools were Catholic, its essence-creating new opportunities for disadvantaged students through providing them entry to private schools-inspired the? voucher movement.

In 1996, a new philanthropic opportunity developed. The impetus was a party’s invitation from Cardinal John J. O’Connor, Archbishop of recent York, to Rudy Crew, Chancellor of the New York City public school system, to “send the city’s most troubled public school students to Catholic schools” and hubby would observe that we were holding given a degree.? When Manhattan Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attemptedto increase your funds that could allow Catholic schools to fulfill the offer manufactured by the Cardinal and enroll the “most troubled” students, his proposal encountered strong opposition from people who first viewed it as a violation within the First Amendment’s establishment clause.? As the controversy raged, Peter put together a gaggle of Wall Street philanthropists who established the teachers Choice Scholarships Foundation (SCSF).? In the fall of 1996, SCSF announced it might cover part of the costs on the private education of merely one,000 students who does preferably be attending public school.

Only Peter might well have married the different groups together who were required for this venture to achieve success.? Around Wall Street, Peter’s personal integrity and deal with community service were beyond question. Given his outstanding support to your highly successful SSP program, Peter’s standing with the Catholic archdiocese was, if anything, even higher. The only thing that remained was exercising the more knowledge about the SCSF program.

It is in this context which first met Peter Flanigan. In November 1996, Joseph Viteritti, now a professor at Hunter College, invited me to participate in a meeting of policy experts called to advise SCSF on program design. ??Joe thought I should have fun with the discussion because? Jay Greene (next the student of mine and from now on a professor with the University of Arkansas) i had found beneficial impacts of a small voucher program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Joe thought we may want to think about an evaluation within the SCSF program too.

Peter was the one philanthropist in the room, so his word was just about the final word. We soon decided on certain attributes of this method who were in becoming standard for the voucher movement more generally.? Eligible students must be limited by those from low-income families.? Only public school students could apply, except for those trying to find a first-grade spot.? Responding to concerns expressed with the archdiocese, this program was confined to students entering grades one through five. Students would have their choice of private school, religious or secular.? A serious marketing might be conducted to increase the sheer numbers of applicants in order to underline the interest on school vouchers within urban communities.? With the many applicants, 1,000 students is randomly selected to take delivery of the sale associated with a scholarship.? (Later, which had been changed to just one,000 families, lifting facts students substantially.)

At the meeting clearly there was one major controversy which placed me in direct conflict with Peter Flanigan.? Peter conceived on the program like a philanthropic opportunity-a opportunity to help additional teenagers gain access to Catholic along with private schools. I believed of it just as one probability to test, at last, the strength of school vouchers as a school reform policy.? Since a lottery was being conducted, it is actually possible to compare outcomes for a couple randomly selected kinds of students:? people who won the lottery and were offered a scholarship compared to those who went for a scholarship but would not win the lottery. If lottery winners learned more than losers, the strength of the voucher initiative would be clearly established as well as the voucher movement is able to use this info to convince skeptics.

Besides, the opportunity to perform a randomized field trial is usually a scholar’s dream ticket. Here was my chance.

Only Peter stood the way. Various thoughts undoubtedly crossed his mind.? This guy’s from Harvard-I’ve got word of that place. This guy’s not Catholic-what does he really think about Catholic schools?? This man talks a superb game, but can he actually be trusted?

We compromised, probably because Joe Viteritti, an individual Peter knew he could trust, lent his support into the idea. Peter accepted bring the thinking behind an opportunity evaluation into the scholarship board-as long mainly because it could not cost SCSF money.? Raising money for any evaluation was my responsibility, not his.? SCSF money was going just for scholarships for kids therefore they could easily get education.

Just how the evaluation got funded and implemented, quick grown timbers . many problems and pitfalls en route, can be a tale to generally be told on another occasion.? But Peter, once he gave his word, never wavered within the support through the entire crises that occurred downstream.

Our research would not show everything Peter had hoped it may well.? We found large advantages to quality score performance of African Americans but not for everyone business backgrounds. Our research-and our reputation–was bitterly attacked by voucher opponents.? It may well have been simple for Peter to acquire walked away-not from his dedication to Catholic education or to vouchers-but from academic squabbling that sometimes seemed to do more to get in the clear way of progress than to propel it forward.

I am grateful that Peter instead remained a loyal supporter of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) and of Education Next.? It was at his urging how the John M. Olin Foundation gave your program and also the journal? early support when both entities were getting their feet on the floor.? When Peter agreed to serve for the PEPG advisory committee, he took the task seriously, never unable to give vigorous advice and trenchant commentary.? Several years ago, with the last meeting Peter attended, he noticed an exhibition around the dire state of federalism in the states.? “O.K., Paul,” Walking out to him saying, “I suppose what a fine study, nonetheless thought our job ended up being fix schools.? How much does this project pertain to education.”? Gulping, I explained I’d forever been a federalism scholar and up to date bankruptcy crises had captured my attention. Considering his raised eyebrows, I dug deeper:? “Besides, 1 / 3rd of state and local expenditure is ideal for education, and all sorts of money entering into pensions and medical care for retired superintendents is originating at the expense of today’s students.”? Peter, a form man, relaxed, that’s doubtful altogether satisfied but no less than less alarmed.

It would have been a special privilege, just a few months later, which may share privately with Peter the soon-to-be-released results of our hottest study from the New york voucher program he has instigated.? As a consequence of his efforts, I’m in a position to let him know, the college-going rate of Black voucher recipients had increased by 24 percent. Peter was pleased but hardly shocked.

Thank you, Peter. We shall long remember your friendship.

-Paul E. Peterson