Why Nebraska Doesn't Need School Choice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Nebraska is one of few states that have no charter or voucher schools. The state puts all their tax money into building strong neighborhood schools. Recently the The Nebraska State Education Association sat down with the state's major newspaper and explained why this is so:

    1. Nebraska cannot afford to finance private education as well as public education. There would be only two ways to pay for vouchers—take money from already underfunded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable.

    2. Tax dollars for private education won’t fix student achievement challenges at public schools. The best way to assist all low-performing students is by strengthening public schools and addressing individual learning problems directly. Vouchers will siphon tax dollars away from our public schools where children have the greatest needs.

    3. A voucher would be a ticket to nowhere for most children. Private schools can choose to accept or reject any student, and many have long waiting lists and only admit top students. On average, parochial schools reject 67 percent of all applicants. Other private schools reject nearly 90 percent of applicants. “Choice” does not reside with parents but with private school admissions committees.

    4. Parents have an expanding array of choices for the public school their child attends. Among the many public school options available in Nebraska, parents may choose to send their child to another public school in the same or different school district, or enroll their child in various public academy schools, focus or magnet schools, career academies, or other public alternative schools.

    5. Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.” Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools accept all applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide. They are also not required to meet even basic state certification or accreditation requirements.

    6. The State of Nebraska should not spend tax dollars to pilot test a bad idea. Tax-funded pilot projects should only be conducted to test good ideas. Vouchers are a bad idea! A pilot voucher program would not be a “lifeboat” for some students, as claimed. A voucher system would be the Titanic, draining needed funds from public schools where most students would remain.

    7. Vouchers would destroy the “private” in private schools. Parents of children in private schools don’t want the status quo disturbed for their children—they want their schools to be truly private. Private schools accepting tax-funded vouchers or private school tax credit schemes would become subject to government regulation. Allowing public tax dollars to be spent on private schools would be mean private schools would have to change admission requirements, implement state-required testing, certification and accreditation, comply with discipline and expulsion laws, and allow voucher students to be exempted from religious activities.

    8. Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good. There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’ academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the Milwaukee, Cleveland and other private school voucher programs did not outperform their public school peers.

    9. Vouchers would promote further religious and economic stratification in our society. Private elementary and secondary schools have been founded primarily by two types of entities: (1) religious denominations seeking to teach academics interwoven with their religious doctrine; and (2) wealthier parents seeking to give their children an advantage over other children. Tax-funded vouchers for private schools would increase divisions between rich and poor and among different religions, threatening the future of our American democracy.

    10. Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all students. The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within the public schools, which serve more than 90 percent of the children in Nebraska. Nebraska legislators should concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public schools—not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their children in private schools.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately, many public school programs refuse to create these alternatives and variations in their public schools, being they are "testing possibly bad ideas".

    When public schools stick to the status quo, of course parents seek out charters and private schools to meet their diverse needs.
     
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  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    The way charters come into most states is a result of big money lobbying the legislature, not through citizen requests. In my state, lawmakers where flooded with campaign contributions and given prewritten laws that they could just introduce. It worked. We now have charters.

    None of this was a result of public schools clinging to the status quo.

    I support research-driven innovation in education. The fourth grade class I started teaching 30 years ago little resembles what I'm doing now.
     
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  5. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    And many parents continue to love charters because they offer diverse programs.

    It's great that Nebraska tries to add choices and options to the public school system. I'm just saying not every state has a public school system that works that way.
     
  6. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Once the state allows profit to factor into a public service such as education, the objective devolves from providing the best service to obtaining the greatest profit.
     
  7. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    If the public schools were so strong, there wouldn't be a push by the residents for alternatives, so the very fact that this has been such a charged issue in Nebraska means that it is simply not true. The parents don't believe that the schools are all that good. At the end of the day, parents make those decisions, rather than an inherently biased teachers union shill.

    Saying "unacceptable" isn't an argument. That could, and probably does, go both ways from what I'm hearing about the demand for vouchers in Nebraska. The parents are saying that the current situation is simply unacceptable. Teacher unions can complain all they want, but the customers are going to have their way in the end.

    It's nice that they admit that there are "student achievement challenges" that aren't being met with the current funding situation, and coupled with the previous assertion that raising taxes is "unacceptable", I'm afraid that this is a self-defeating argument. Yes, there are problems, and no, those problems are not going to be addressed is what is being said.

    A voucher could be a ticket to somewhere for some children, and the private sector is generally considered a viable option for academically inclined students. The reason why tax payers push for vouchers is because we are already paying for the education of our children, yet if we wish to send our children to private schools, we are essentially paying twice. This is not fair to parents who cannot afford to pay both, but have children who can benefit from a private school.

    This is like telling me that I have an expanding array of choices for what car to buy, so long as it's a Yugo. Parents aren't going to be impressed with a wide variety of choices if they are limited to a wide selection of bad choices.

    Yes, private schools are not encumbered with a lot of those requirements, and that's a good argument right there for a voucher system. By reducing the unnecessary costs associated with transportation, special education, bilingual education, and free school lunches, they are able to spend those funds where they can do the most good.

    Not all students need to ride a bus to school, or get free lunches, or to attend ESL classes.

    Considering that whoever wrote this isn't really making any good points, this conclusion is hardly warranted as it is based on a slew of false premises.

    As it stands now, public schools are not the best choice for some students. Whatever the reasons for this may be, the private sector has proven to be a popular choice, and for some very good reasons which were spelled out by the author of this piece. They don't have to accept just anybody which means they can tailor the curriculum to cater to only those students that they do accept.

    Bluntly speaking, as a teacher who has 25 years of Japanese chalk dust under my fingernails, I find reading this forum fascinating because most forum members obviously teach in the states, and most of the discussions revolve around seeming irrelevancies that have nothing to do with the teacher/student relationship. Licensing, certifications, evaluations, educational requirements, and ludicrous demands for detailed lesson plans have nothing to do with what goes on between the teacher, the school, and student, and I think the push by parents for vouchers and charter schools reflects that lack of relevance and clarity of duty to the job at hand.

    Privately owned schools are quite often non-profits. The difference is that we need to provide quality in order to attract students. Where is the incentive of public schools to provide quality service in lieu of an alternative?

    Look at any Christian school (e.g. the ivy league universities) and you'll find a privately owned non-profit.
     
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  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    Belch,
    You seem to be a big fan of voucher schools. What you are missing is that parents don't want them. Every state that has put vouchers up for a vote has seen the measure fail. Parents don't want to give public money to religious schools. The only states with vouchers are those where a paid-off legislature has passed the law.

    Furthermore, voucher schools discriminate against many minorities. Why should all tax payers support schools that only let in certain people?

    You mention the Christian ivy league universities. These are some of the most discriminatory schools. They have reverse affirmative action programs called "legacy" that insures unqualified whites can get in. At Harvard, this is over 30% of their enrollment.

    Vouchers do not help students, especially minorities. Milwaukee has had vouchers since 1990 and is near the very bottom of the NAEP tests for urban districts. They are the really the poster city for the failure of school choice. Milwaukee demonstrates that school choice does not fix the problems of urban education or urban students and families. Why should the public pay for such a thoroughly- tested bad idea?
     
  9. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    That's cute. Hospitals are supposedly non-profits, but I've never seen one that actually is. This is why an aspirin costs $10 and it's another $250 to have a nurse walk in and hand it to a patient. Is United Way non-profit? What paid for William Aramony's women, his lifestyle? Profits . . . he stole.

    Don't hold the myth of non-profit up as a golden idol. No one here is going to worship it. And trying to shame everyone for not being dedicated enough to only care how to serve more quietly, with less thought of self-preservation?—I see that for what it is, too.

    Where there is profit to be made, profit trumps all—no matter how you dress it up or lobby for a favorable tax code.
     
  10. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Charter schools are public schools.

    The original post had a bunch of quotes. Where from the article? Post the link.
     
  11. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Is it possible like 4 of the legacies had the grades to get in or were they all D students? I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume some of the kids who's parents went to Harvard might have ended up doing well themselves. That's just a hunch from someone that went to the worst university in his state.
     
  12. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    In my state, non-profit charters are often set up by massive for-profit companies. Then the non-profit can use tax payer money to rent space in buildings owned by the for-profit company at inflated prices, buy furniture, supplies and curriculum from the for-profit company.

    Some charters in my state are run by serious, ethical educators trying to find a better way, but just because a charter claims it's non-profit, does not mean it's ethical.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  13. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Absolutely. When profit is allowed to become part of the equation, replacing ideals of public service, what can possibly go wrong? It's not as if a charter school might start billing states for phantom students.

    I have to ask, is paying for phantom students cheaper and better for the national interest than giving traditional public school teachers a living wage and sending a few more dollars the way of living, breathing students?

    Short of a nuclear war, the war on education and labor will destroy America within the next fifty years. Ultimately, lost productivity, innovation, and social welfare expenditure is going to drag the country down to the much-deserved status of a third-world nation fit for little more than supplying cheap products and labor to more ambitious economies, such as China and India.

    Short-term, legislators are going to have their campaign coffers full, fly private jets, have great vacation opportunities. Self-branded reformers are going to get very rich. Fly the same planes. Stay at the same resorts.

    Long-term, this country will be nothing more than a stinking morass of poverty, misery, and despair.
     
  14. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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  15. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    FYI, I don't think anyone who knows anything beyond high school business courses would describe China and India as having ambitious economies that we should be mimicking. I'm fairly confident if you read anything about what is happening with the vast majority of Chinese people, you'd be embarrassed by what you are championing. I only say that knowing your other positions. I read this yesterday http://sc.mp/mvfhiF
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I am not going to say that vouchers are always a good thing. I must say I have educated myself enough (also I teach in a private school) to know that your "facts" about private schools are filled with untruths.

    In order to see how the school I teach at compares to other private schools in AZ, our school gathers lots of data on other private schools. Most private schools have no waiting lists and turn nearly no students away who can afford to pay. If you say that private schools discriminate based on who can pay and who can't...that is sometimes a necessity and could be greatly reduced by vouchers. These need to be correctly given only to students who show that poverty is the stumbling block causing them from attending private schools. So unless Nebraska is incredibly unique in its private schools, I highly am suspect of your data.

    Free and reduced lunch is something accredited private schools have. Not offering it can cause a private school to lose its accreditation.

    I do realize that politicians offer up some crappy voucher programs that should be fought by the public schools (and any citizens). I think it is wise to look at each voucher program individually and insist that if there is no benefit in it to public schools, it should not be supported.

    If all private schools were to close, public schools would go nearly bankrupt trying to find room for all of these students. In some parts of the country (some northeastern states) have seen loads of private schools closing the past few years, and the public schools having to take the students in with little or no additional aid from the state government. It has not been easy for some of these public schools.

    IMO, the best way to improve public schools is to insist on increased funding for public schools. The government being cheap towards public education is a much larger problem than what they do or don't do for private schools.
     
  17. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    And it is a constant battle, warning voters when politicians do not have their best interests in mind.
     
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  18. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    I'm all for private schools, just not those paid for with taxpayer money. The exception being, if a district doesn't offer, high school for example, then I don't object to district money going to a private high school. The private high schools that receive taxpayer money should not be able to discriminate against minorities like ELL, LGBTQ, etc. Furthermore, those schools should not get paid to teach creationism as science.

    Can you tell me which facts I offered that you view as untrue?
     
  19. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    There are public schools that teach creationism as science. Can I cut them off? They are taking money from my state to subsidize this.
     
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  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I agree that private schools should not discriminate against any group. Some private schools are certified as Equal Opportunity Employers and don't discriminate and this is checked at accreditation. Some schools who are not accredited don't have to follow any of these rules. By having private schools get free and reduced lunches and other perks from the government, they often have to show they do not discriminate. By eliminating all public funding from private schools this gives them less reason to not discriminate.

    This is not just a theory. The private school I teach at gets a fair amount of public funds from the state. If we discriminate, we are in danger of losing our accreditation. Another private school I know of in AZ is not accredited. They have been in the news about their discrimination practices and there is little that can be done to stop them.

    Are you sure you want to get rid of all funding to private schools? If so, the state will be powerless to stop the private schools who discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation.
     
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  21. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Devotee

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    I am learning a lot from your posts. I didn't know about EOE certification. However, I feel uneasy about private schools getting federal money unless there are no public school options available.
     

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