Choice and/or School Vouchers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pashtun, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 28, 2016

    This may be a little political, but here goes. It appears our new Secretary of Education is a proponent of school choice/vouchers.

    I honestly, do not understand how choice or school vouchers is going to improve education for the students. Can someone give me some of the points that would make this beneficial?
     
    anon55 likes this.
  2.  
  3. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    99

    Nov 28, 2016

    Look at Delaware. It doesn't work. All the parents who value education go to one school and all the other kids who parents don't really care go to another. Then they have some REALLY bad schools.
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 28, 2016

    My question is for those that support it, why do they think it will have a huge positive impact on schools? I can't really think of why it would work, but there are millions of people(some presumably teachers) that think this is the way education should move. I am curious as to their thinking.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    790

    Nov 28, 2016

    It won't do a darned thing to help students, even a little bit, but it will help rich people get richer and it will make sure that pesky evolution myth stops getting told so often.
     
    anon55, Peregrin5 and Tyler B. like this.
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,846
    Likes Received:
    710

    Nov 28, 2016

    Let me start by saying I personally am NOT pro voucher or school choice. However, as far as "explaining thinking" my dad is a public school teacher (in a wealthy area) and he supports vouchers. We were just arguing about this over Thanksgiving:rolleyes:.

    His argument is that if he were a parent who had no choice but to live in an "inner city" district, having the option to send your child to a good school could "save them." I work in a very low SES district. I argued that the teachers at my school are just as good as the ones at his school, and possibly even better because they have to have so much more knowledge about interventions, differentiation, and classroom management. Yes, my school has much lower test scores than his wealthy school, but that's not because it's a "bad school" IMO. His argument was that even if the school has the best teachers in the world, the teacher isn't able to teach as effectively when they're dealing with 20x the behavior problems that his school does in addition to all of the other issues that come with high poverty schools. I guess I can see his point there; it would be beneficial for that one specific child that gets the voucher and is able to attend a "better" school.

    As far as "fixing" education as a whole, of course it's not going to do anything. I would guess that the political argument is that you're creating some sort of market competition by having school choice, the idea being that "bad schools" will work harder to improve in order to attract more students. Of course that idea means that you have to assume (incorrectly, IMO) that low SES schools are "bad" because they have bad/lazy teachers and admin rather than because they're dealing with the crushing effects of poverty. I am not sure why no one seems to be willing to admit that poverty is the main problem with "failing" schools...I suppose because there is no way to make money off of that.

    We do have school choice in my area. Due to issues with federal funding, schools are allowed to deny open enrollment to students with IEPs who don't live in their district. They're also allowed to deny enrollment due to poor attendance or behavior issues. Basically, all of the "easy kids" are allowed to choose while those who need the most help have to stay in their home district. In my district, many of the families with higher performing students opt for one of the nearby wealthier high schools. Our enrollment decreases significantly between elementary and secondary school. Our high school is about 40% SPED because so many other students left and the students with IEPs aren't able to, in addition to those with other issues. That means a majority of the student body is comprised of high needs students with fewer resources/staff to support due to the loss of per pupil funding from all of the kids that transferred.
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 28, 2016

    Thank you very much.

    I hope you can ask your father my questions or that others that support school vouchers will chime in.

    So the voucher program is about moving 1-2 students at a school?

    Why would we assume(or is it somehow known) that good students from "behavior problem" schools would be the students moving to the "better" schools? If the problem is behavior issues, and you move behavior issues to "better" schools, won't that school have their "behavior Issues"?

    Why wouldn't misbehaving students be the ones that move to the better schools? And, according to your dad, if 20 misbehaving students are moved to the "good" school, well, now it becomes the "bad" school.

    EDIT: Or is the point of school vouchers to help more well to do students in bad schools move to better schools and (by design) leave the behavior problems and other issues at the bad school. With the intent not to improve poor performing schools, but simply to get good students out of them?
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,846
    Likes Received:
    710

    Nov 28, 2016

    I'm not sure if this is the same everywhere, but in my area schools are allowed to deny open enrollment to students with significant behavior issues. Basically, it's seen as students having to "earn" the right to attend the better school by maintaining good grades, following the code of conduct, and having good attendance. So a situation where all of the "behavior problem" students move to the "good" school wouldn't be possible. In my dad's eyes vouchers are not the answer to improving the bad schools/fixing the system as a whole, but could be the solution for good students who are stuck in "bad" schools.

    As far as improving bad schools/fixing the system as a whole, the argument I hear around here is all about creating competition, which will supposedly motivate the "bad" schools to improve. It's basically all about running schools like a business. In fact, the nearby heavily politicized "reform" district (HUGE on vouchers and choice there) has a school board that frequently boasts that they run their district like a business.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 28, 2016

    Ok, now it is making a bit more sense to me. It is often talked about(or heard by me) in terms of improving our "horrible" schools, this may be completely false, it is about only moving higher achieving students to higher performing schools, while likely making the "bad" schools even worse.

    I can see why some are in favor of this. They just need to be more honest about what will happen at the "bad" schools.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Nov 28, 2016

    My state offered vouchers and tracked who was applying for them. Over 95% of the voucher requests were coming from the three most affluent zip codes in the city. Virtually none of the voucher requests came from the inner city areas or from any zip codes with underperforming schools.

    Right now the voucher program is suspended indefinitely while the state figures out how to make it better.

    The voucher program is, in my opinion, just one more step towards complete privatization of the education system in our country.
     
  11. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Nov 28, 2016

  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,004
    Likes Received:
    448

    Nov 28, 2016

    While vouchers/school choice if it was used to the extreme might really impact schools positively or negatively, we'll never know. Most school choice programs only end up having a handful of students switch schools.

    The opinion by some is that the rich always have a choice of which schools they can go to, but the poor must go to the neighborhood school due to $$$. The thought is that if a student with parents with little $$$ in an inner city school would be better off to have the choices to go to other schools such as private ones. The barrier removed would be most of the tuition would be paid for by a voucher. Would some students possibly benefit from a school/choice program? Maybe...

    I think it is great that we allow all students in this country free education and that education is not for those who have money. Why not expand this a bit to allow some students to attend private schools when there schools are falling apart?

    True story, we had a student come to us who has been bullied and even beaten up in the bathroom many times including her birthday at her past school. She was hardly even 10 years old. She now has a safe place to attend school and her parents literally were in tears that for the first time she wants to attend school. A small voucher helped make this possible.

    I do support public schools and I do agree that a voucher program should be looked at closely and a voucher program could hurt public schools. Personally, I think public schools should be compensated for lost students to private schools. Public schools shouldn't suffer. However, I don't believe the students who suffer under poor schools should have to stay in these schools just because there parents don't make much $$$.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
    Obadiah likes this.
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Nov 28, 2016

    And here I thought we'd have some passionate disagreement about a big picture educational topic since we haven't had it in a minute, but alas - looks like we're all on the same page with this one. I won't rehash well said thoughts others have posted, just wanted to chime in and say I agree - even if you make the argument that poorly performing schools are at least partially the result of the school itself, it's hard to argue that vouchers/choice is an broad-level educational fix. Sure, it will be a good option for some students, but it won't fix those particular schools.

    In fact, I'd challenge any pro-voucher folks to cite on systems-level success story - hey, maybe there are a few? Waterfall, maybe your father knows? Genuinely would like to educate myself before the inevitable conversations start to happen with the DeVos.
     
  14. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    54

    Nov 28, 2016

    What do you mean "parents who value education" send their kids to one school and "parents who don't really care" send their kids to another? Er, maybe I'm just reading between the lines too much. o_O
     
  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    232

    Nov 28, 2016

    Waterfall - your state sounds...interesting...from all you've posted on here, and this latest info is no different. I've never heard of a selective open enrollment policy like that.

    There's something I don't understand about using vouchers for private and parochial schools. I've read that a voucher covers the amount of per pupil funding the state gives. Well, in CA, our per pupil funding is A LOT less than the tuition at nearly every private and parochial school. I imagine other states would have a similar issue. So...how does that work? Families have to make up the difference? That doesn't help the poor. Also, what's going to keep private schools from raising their tuition in response in order to keep out...well...students they may see as undesirable?

    There's one thing I'm especially concerned about. I read an article (here http://www.slate.com/articles/life/...y_betsy_devos_could_gut_public_education.html) that mentions redirecting Title 1 funding to the voucher program. Also, the federal government doesn't have enough money to provide full vouchers for every low SES student in the country, so states would have to give of their budgets, as well. Even though I am in a very anti voucher state, this whole thing makes me nervous.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    232

    Nov 28, 2016

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    1,142

    Nov 28, 2016

    The other day, my BF (who isn't an educator) exclaimed that schools should operate like businesses. Granted, he works outside of education. I am wondering, however, if the public is feeling the same way he is?

    I didn't begin to respond to his assertion. All I said was, "Hmmm...let's not go there!"
     
    otterpop and Peregrin5 like this.
  18. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Nov 28, 2016

    The problem is schools aren't businesses. That's like saying we should operate on hearts like we do on lungs. Just doesn't translate.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,593
    Likes Received:
    1,079

    Nov 29, 2016

    YTG, you might want to share this with your BF: http://www.jamievollmer.com/blueberries
     
    yellowdaisies likes this.
  20. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    255

    Nov 29, 2016

    I am a sincere supporter of vouchers but not because I think it will improve bad schools. I think it will give more good schools a chance to survive and give people who desperately need it options for their students. For me it is about freedom and choice, not about making public schools better. I would not send my kids to the public schools where I teach and I don't think other families should have to either. If a voucher makes it possible for them to make choices for their children then I'm all for it.

    When you have one public school in the area that has consistently failed it has no push to improve outside of the Pollyannaish belief that since a school has teachers it will automatically seek the best for it's students. Show me a systemic study that proves THAT to be true.
     
  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,161
    Likes Received:
    1,502

    Nov 29, 2016

    I like the idea... in theory only. There's too much evidence that it doesn't work for the people we as a population like to hope it will work for.

    However, the essential idea of "let me pick the type of school that works best for our personal situation" is a nice one. Which is why I'm up for different magnet schools, more freedom in what individual schools do, charter schools, etc. Vouchers don't seem to work, but if you have enough varying schools, well... I do like the theory.

    Rockguykev said it well. If you tackle the concept from "let's improve education all over!" it fails. But if you really are just trying to give families options with no greater purpose, I like the notion.
     
    Obadiah and PallasAthena like this.
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,296
    Likes Received:
    1,417

    Nov 29, 2016

    My biggest concern about vouchers is the high possibility of public school funds being moved in voucher form to religious schools. I don't really care which religion it is.
     
  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 29, 2016

    Can you explain what you mean by this? I don't think you mean that putting all the good students in one school is what helps a good school survive.
     
    yellowdaisies and Tyler B. like this.
  24. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 29, 2016

    I am not sure what else a school needs in order to improve. To me this sounds like a character flaw in teachers and administrators at a given school.
     
  25. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Nov 29, 2016

    Rockguykev that's a good point in terms of how you view society and the underlying values - if you approach it from the perspective of individualism and maximizing freedom, I can see how it makes sense. I guess the conversation would then shift to our fundamental views of the our relationships to each other in society, the function of the government, etc.
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  26. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,161
    Likes Received:
    1,502

    Nov 29, 2016

    And that's the perspective where I see it a good-idea-in-theory. The trouble is, we still have the education system as a whole to worry about, and that gets in the way.

    I am just fine with private schools. I personally work at a charter school and it's wonderful. I support homeschooling.

    But we'd have to get a very different place entirely in regards to schooling and education before I could really support vouchers. What's funny is that I'm in Utah, a most conservative state. They tried to pass vouchers a few years' back and that failed miserably.
     
    Obadiah and Tyler B. like this.
  27. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Nov 29, 2016

    Milwaukee schools have had an aggressive voucher system for over 20 years. It's still one of the lowest performing systems in the country. If vouchers could improve schools, Milwaukee would have the highest scoring schools in the country. What's happened there is massive defunding of public schools with the money going to for-profit and religious schools that still underperform the defunded public schools.

    Vouchers are a way to get money out of public schools and into pro-profit and/or religious schools. It's not about improving education. Since 90% of American children attend public schools, our national program should be about improving them.
     
  28. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    65

    Nov 29, 2016

    BINGO!
     
    yellowdaisies and Peregrin5 like this.
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,435
    Likes Received:
    1,275

    Nov 29, 2016

    The children that attend my private christian school are almost all funded by vouchers. The difference here is that all the vouchers are funded by private companies. They use no public funds provided to public schools. I see this as a positive thing for my students, all SPED students. They are getting a much better education here than many of them received in public school.

    I don't think I would be in favor if the vouchers were taking money from public schools...even though the private schools around here are generally better than the public schools.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  30. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Nov 29, 2016

    This really is it. The people for vouchers don't really care about America as a whole or education as a whole. They just want to be able to put their own kids in a "good" school and have the government subsidize it. Nuts to all the poor kids and districts. They have to fend for themselves.

    I can honestly see why they'd want to do that. Heck if I were a parent, I'd want it. I would only care about my family and not the greater good. But it is a rather selfish view in my opinion. It's a great way to increase racial and economic divides. But hey, that's America.
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  31. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    110

    Nov 29, 2016

    This is exactly my issue with them, they reroute money from public schools into private and religious schools.
     
  32. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Nov 29, 2016

    I do think we need to be careful with how we evaluate research or outcomes, keeping in mind that something might be helpful even if it doesn't make a dent in the final outcome, if there are other variables "in the way." This is a big problem with how folks talk about these big systems level things - as if they alone should move mountains, and if not they must be worthless.

    Again, I don't support vouchers from the perspective of bettering American schools, but just because they didn't transform a school district doesn't mean they aren't effective or don't have value.
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  33. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    743

    Nov 29, 2016

    This isn't my original comment, but I'll add my two cents.

    The vast majority of parents I've come into contact with do care about their child's education even if they couldn't or wouldn't do anything to help their child. With that said, there are parents who will tell you that education does not matter and will have varied reasons for their thinking. Thankfully, I haven't come across many parents with this attitude but there are some in existence.

    I can see the parents who are unable to do much about their child's education because they are giving all they can just to survive and that small group of parents who just don't give a rat's patootie just letting the chips fall where they may and the kids just go to the closest school, failing or exemplary.
     
  34. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    255

    Nov 29, 2016

    No, I mean schools that survive on private tuition that have had to shut down because their populations can't afford to pay for it would be able to stay open. I'm literally talking about survival.

    The number of Catholic schools, just to pick one, and I'm not Catholic, that have closed in the last 5 years due to financial problems is staggering. When you open a private school in a poor area it can't survive without significant financial backing because the population being survived can't do it alone.
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  35. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    255

    Nov 29, 2016

    This comment is absolutely ridiculous and insulting. I hope one day you'll learn to disagree with others without assuming they are treasonous.
     
    PallasAthena likes this.
  36. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,004
    Likes Received:
    448

    Nov 29, 2016

    Not completely true. I am for vouchers (in some situations) but I do care about America and education as a whole. The vouchers we have at the school I teach at pay only for part of the tuition and are only available to those who are low income.

    I do believe there are some politicians who throw a small amount of $$$ at a voucher problem and then they do nothing to lower class sizes, improve teacher salaries, repair schools that are falling apart, or improve conditions for students and teachers. These politicians aren't so much for vouchers as they hide behind them to pretend they are making real change in education when they are being more like scrooge. When a politician says they are for vouchers, I think we should ask them what else do you plan to do to help improve education.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  37. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 29, 2016

    That makes sense.

    Why do we need to create a voucher system, why not just designate a public school in the district be designated the "good" school, where only the "good" students in the bad neighborhoods would be able to attend? Why the need to fund a private school in order to help it just survive?
     
  38. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,772
    Likes Received:
    1,383

    Nov 29, 2016

    I thought vouchers were only provided by the government? Are these more like scholarships?
     
  39. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,772
    Likes Received:
    1,383

    Nov 29, 2016

    I'm not a parent, but if I was a parent and if I happened to live in a terrible area or district, I'd definitely hope that there was some affordable "other" option to get my child into a better school. Whether that was through a voucher system or an affordable private school or a charter school, I don't know that it would matter. I do think that it would be a frustrating position to be in to know that I was sending my child to a bad school and to feel like there was nothing I could do about it.

    On the other hand, I absolutely understand the arguments against vouchers. A voucher system puts a bandaid on a much bigger problem - what should be done to fix our educational system? Why do people want to leave public schools in the first place?
     
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  40. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,161
    Likes Received:
    1,502

    Nov 30, 2016

    On the other end of the spectrum, we have those who want to make illegal private schools, charter schools, homeschooling, etc., with the plan that would be enough to force public education to improve.
     
  41. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,234
    Likes Received:
    441

    Nov 30, 2016

    I have a problem with vouchers that are provided by the government being used for religious schools. Religious education should be a choice, but tax dollars should not be spent to fund it.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. JenEd
Total: 246 (members: 1, guests: 223, robots: 22)
test