Proposed Tax Bill's Effects on Education

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2017

    Here's an issue that is of interest to all educators.

    The bill allows parents to shelter money from taxes and spend it religious or other private schools. This tax money could have helped support already underfunded public schools.

    The bill creators also attempted to completely eliminate the SALT (State and Local Tax) deductions, thereby making it much more expensive for states like California to fund their public schools. Fearing a revolt by states with high property taxes, the creators offered to soften this.

    Other effects of the bill on education can be read here.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Gosh. I kicked this statement around for a while and couldn't figure out how someone who had to pay the federal government more taxes would make it more expensive for states to fund their public schools. I still can't completely figure that out.

    What I did find was this explanation: "This subsidy encourages state and local governments to levy higher taxes (and, presumably, provide more services) than they otherwise would. It also encourages them to use deductible taxes in place of nondeductible taxes (such as selective sales taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline), fees, and other charges."
    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/repeal-state-and-local-tax-deduction/full

    The explanation is not quite the same. It means that states and localities might use other means to raise taxes on citizens but because the citizens are now paying more in taxes, they may not be able to push the citizens so hard because they are becoming over taxed.

    OP, I'd love your help .... why it will be more expensive for states to fund schools. I must be missing something.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 3, 2017

    I'm not sure if it's the same issue that OP is describing, but in my state we had a voucher program for a minute (there's since been a moratorium). State money that had originally been earmarked for public schools was being diverted to private schools and charters. It wasn't exactly that it was more expensive for the state to fund public schools. Rather, the local districts (counties) were in danger of being severely underfunded, leading them to request more state money to make up for the shortfalls.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I can see how parents having access to "tax-free" funds for private k-12 education could take money way from districts. I don't have issue with that statement at all. Districts receive funds based on enrollment which helps cover the cost of running schools as well as salaries and benefits. But my confusion is with the SALT taxes and the quoted portion of the OP's post, not with the tax free k-12 funds.
     
  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2017

    Hey! You exposed an error in my post. The proposed tax bill would not create a situation where schools would be more expensive for states, but it would definitely make it more expensive for residents of high tax states. Thanks for the question.

    This bill would also remove the tax credit for teachers. If it passes, we can stop saving receipts since there's no tax credit when we spend our own money to help our students.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I can see why you made your point based on how the article you linked tried to spin it. When you start reading other articles, such as the one I linked, you see that it isn't as simple as the US News reports.

    As for the deduction for expenses, that is a shame. It may be the necessary push to get teachers to stand up as a group and tell districts they must provide the basics. Also, it may make teachers get a bit wiser about what they spend their money on. That does not mean I'm claiming that everything they spend money on is excessive, but some of it is. Knowing that you will get $250 + if you itemize and have extra expenses, will change how people think about spending.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nov 3, 2017

    Maybe we teachers should stand up and tell our lawmakers that they don't need to make it cheaper for people like Betsy DeVos to send their kids to a religious school and make it more expensive for teachers to care for their students.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    You have every right to do so in this country. Have at it.

    Better to address that then try to address the real and on-going problem with why teachers are spending so much out of pocket. Do you really believe that with a huge infusion of cash to districts that teachers will magically be given huge budgets for supplies? I don't. I remember when districts were flush with cash and still complained they were broke.
     
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  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2017

    If this tax bill passes, it will create some problems. However, the last major tax overhaul took several years, so I don't plan on worrying about it until the final bill passes.
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think we'd all be better off focusing on making our public schools (I include charters in that) more appealing. Rich people, deeply religious people, or those with strong beliefs can do whatever they like... If they want to pay for private school, that's their business. But public schools should still be a viable option. If someone is only sending their child to a private school because they feel the public schools are no good, that indicates something is broken in our education system.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Nov 4, 2017

    One thing I do kind of get on the voucher debate is the question of why do only richer people get to send their kids to private schools. Some areas really do expect people to just accept the "good enough" public school, blaming the families for not being able to afford private school, without any effort to fix up the public school (now, I get that the simple label of private school does not guarantee the school is any good).

    Really, the solution should be less about bashing private schools and more about making public schools a truly desirable option.
     
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  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    I agree we all need to work towards making our schools the best they can be, but does that mean we don't become politically involved? Shouldn't we pressure our lawmakers to stop dishonoring educators and support real reforms like lower class size, enriched curriculums and well-trained staffs?

    And it's not a public school unless it's accountable to the public. Voters have little or no influence over policy at a charter school. Just because it takes money from the public schools does not make it public.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    The problem you face with charters is that there are charters with enriched curriculums, small class sizes, and well-trained staff. When you get political and say you don't like charters doing it but you want publics schools to do so, well, it sends a mixed message.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2017

    As I mentioned earlier, my state recently tried to do a voucher program. The argument in favor of the program is similar to yours, that poor people deserve the opportunity to attend private schools instead of their horrible local public schools. The voucher option was presented as a way for poor families to take advantage of what private schools have to offer. What actually happened here is that some outrageous percentage of voucher applications, I mean like 90% or something, came from the six wealthiest zip codes in the county, where the public schools are very good and have high scores. The overwhelming majority of applicants were already fairly well-off people who understood how to make the system work for them. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was not the proposed reason for the voucher program. When it became apparent that this is what was happening, the state issued a moratorium on the vouchers until the issue could be more thoroughly researched and investigated.

    For whatever reason, vouchers (at least in my state) do nothing to solve the problem of disparity of resources. There is a deeper issue at play, likely something systemic and rooted in the culture of poverty. This issue and many like it are very complex and usually can't be solved by a single fix, even if that fix seems good on paper.
     
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  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Nov 4, 2017

    This reminds me of the special program that our school added this year -- a sort of school-within-a-school (made up of 3 classes that span the 1-5 grades). It was touted as completely open to all, and it's a random selection, but you can tell that there's a clear difference in class make-up in the separate "school" and the rest of the classes. My strong guess is that that came not from any choosing mechanism (since it was completely random and open), but determined more by the make-up of those families of students that applied.
     
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  17. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Nov 4, 2017

    I don't have any problem with private schools. In fact, my argument was pretty much the opposite.

    To provide an analogy...

    Someone who has the money to buy a luxury sedan or sports car has every right to do it. Let them enjoy their fancy leather, shiny paint, seat warmers, etc. However, someone buying a more affordable car still deserves a safe and operational option. Let's say there were companies selling poor quality, dangerous cars at a cheap price. I don't necessarily think the government should provide vouchers for the public to buy luxury cars because they're safer. If that were necessary, a better route would be addressing the fact that there were unsafe cheap cars on the road. No one should need to buy the fancy car - it should be an option one can consider if they have the means.

    I look at private schools the same way. Public schools should be adequate. I'm okay with people paying more for luxury, but it should be a choice, not a necessity.
     
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  18. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Nov 4, 2017

    I agree.

    My problem is that private schools should be out of the equation. Stop worrying about what they're doing.

    Just focus on the public schools.

    With the car analogy, make sure the budget-friendly cars are really good.
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2017

    What you said has some merits, and this is coming from a teacher who works at a private school. However, where I draw the line is when public school teachers wrongly think and assert that they are better than private school teachers or that only wealthy kids attend private schools — I’m not saying you said this because you didn’t, but it is inferred. The private school where I work is ranked well within the top 100 schools in all of California, which has 1,100+ schools. My fellow colleagues and I take our jobs very seriously and we have great track records to show for it. And before you say anything, 40% of the student body is on financial assistance and most parents picked up a second job or have both spouses working so they can have their child/children attend my school.

    But do you know what parents tell me weekly, sometimes daily? They tell me that they are glad they make the financial sacrifice to come to my school because I teach mathematics so well and that their needs are being met, which public schools could not or are not meeting. They are blown away by the fact their student(s) go from C’s, D’s, and F’s to A’s and B’s, AND meet state benchmarks on all standardized tests, AND score in the upper percentiles on SAT/ACT tests, AND easily score 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s on AP tests. (My AP pass rate is 98% and my average is a 4 and I’ve only been teaching for 4 years — I’m 25.) Beat them apples.

    The reason parents are looking for alternatives is because their students are, by and large, underperforming at most public schools. Period. That’s it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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  20. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Voucher schools have not shown to be effective in providing strong options for poor kids. Milwaukee has had them for over 20 years and they're amongst the lowest performing schools in the state. Even though they take millions from the public schools, they are outperformed by the decimated public schools.

    If a local charter school had the wherewithal to provide small class size, enriched curriculum and top notch staff development (my dream), then a severely disabled student enrolled — costing the school an extra $100,000 each year; all that good stuff would go away, or the student would be rejected and sent to a public school. We need strong public schools. The charters need strong public schools.

    The point of this thread is that the proposed tax bill hurts teachers and public education. We should all avoid just being bystanders and get politically involved, if only just to call our federal lawmakers.
     
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  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    California pays one of the highest amounts per pupil than other states ($8,000 a student) and in the town where I grew up they pay $11,000, yet a number of its public schools are deplorable. If more money is the answer, then shouldn’t those schools be among the top performers? Odd, isn’t it?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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