Choice and/or School Vouchers

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

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't think it's a band-aid. Band-aids don't cause further systemic harm to the rest of the body. Vouchers aren't a neutral no-consequence solution.
     
  2. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I should amend my answer that private schools would also be for vouchers for obvious reasons (because it means more money for them). Here is one way I think vouchers might work if they are implemented: 1. only low-income families can use them and agents should be hired to communicate their usage to low income communities by actually speaking with parents in these areas, 2. they should be offered to ANY low-income family, and not have any preference behind them (i.e. they shouldn't only tell white low-income families, etc.), 3. schools cannot refrain from admitting ANY student whose parent wants them to change schools, meaning yes, the school will have to accept behavior problems, special education students, etc. (even so, most behavior problem students will probably stay at the public schools anyway because their parents likely don't care enough to transfer them) 4. they should never go to religious schools, the government should not be in the business of funding the indoctrination of children into any religion. If ALL of these stipulations were in order with vouchers then I might THINK about supporting them. Since it's highly unlikely any or all of these stipulations will be met, I think vouchers are a terrible idea.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I see vouchers and choice as two different things. I work at a fairly successful school (we never score the highest rating, but close to it) that is also known for having a caring, family environment. Many schools in our district are labeled "failing" and until the past few years students at those schools were offered the "choice" to transfer to a school without a failing grade. A few of those students would go back immediately, but many stayed and were extremely successful. (By the way, because of athletics rules, changing schools meant giving up a year of athletic eligibility, so the students had to be committed to academics!)
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Our district has this. We have one choice school, and have to send a letter to all students each year offerring them the opportunity to switch to the choice school. I can say, without a doubt, it has had no positive impact on the other schools in our district....none.

    I am not saying I am opposed to the choice school, simply that it has not changed anything in terms of the other schools improving.
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    If we really want to promote real school choice, we need to step up our game. The voucher system doesn't work, IMHO, partially because private schools are still something of a minority. We have a lot of regular, no-frills public schools and only a few other schools. I do know some people who are very much anti-public education (and, to their credit, say they'd be among the first to donate money to help families pay for school, so hey) whose ideal would be a very affordable and diverse selection of schools.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But is it about a diverse selection of schools? From what I gather so far it is about removing behavior issues, nothing else. Can you really have much choice, if many of the students that have "behavior issues" are not given a choice?
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This is merely an ideal, of course, from a selection of people. The idea would be that if schools were ALL competing against each other, there would most likely pop up great skills willing to take a diverse selection of students.

    Right now, with only some schools getting to reject students, behavior problem kids get shunted to the side.

    Mind you, I'm not in favor of vouchers, nor am I sure I want a completely privatized education system. Just passing along the devil's advocacy.
     
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  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I agree that parents should have choices: for-profit charters, religious schools, cyber schools. What I don't agree with is that tax payers should pay for these options. These typically suck money from struggling public schools and have little to no oversight. There's no first world successful school system that uses charters and vouchers. The most successful school systems (like Finland) have well-funded public schools.
     
  9. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I looks like you've bought into the claim that poorly performing schools are a result of lazy teachers. Why is it that nearly all the "failing" schools are in high poverty areas? Could it be that highly stressed, impoverished students have more learning problems? Can you force them to improve? Sadly, these students need more resources, not less. Vouchers reduce money needed to educate our most fragile students.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Where did I say this?
     
  11. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    Here's my take on vouchers and school choice--any school that is failing is failing for a variety of reasons--students, parents, teachers, administrators. There is no one scapegoat--they are all partially responsible. The real problem in my mind is that schools are determined as failing based, primarily, on a snapshot of a student's performance, a standards based test. Nothing else is considered. And like many others have already said, if parents who are in the know want to make sure their kids have the right advantages, they will do something about it, with or without vouchers.

    I did my student teaching in a choice school in NYC. It was lottery based--your name had to be put in a lottery to get a spot. Spots were limited, and once they were gone, they were gone. That school had virtually no behavior problems. If a child was ever suspended for anything more serious than tardies, they were out. We did have students with special needs, but not many, and we had no ED kids. There was a waiting list three years long for that school. I learned so much about content that term, but nothing about classroom management--I did need to have any.

    And sending a kid to a "good" school won't work if the kid doesn't want to be there, and if they aren't willing to do what it takes to stay there. And it may not be the kid's fault. If the kid is trying, but he can't do his homework because he has to work to support his family, and he fails not for lacking of trying but because he comes home from work every night at midnight and has to take care of his siblings because mom and dad are either not there are working, and then the school kicks him out, then a voucher didn't work. He still ends up in the "bad" school.

    Stop mandated testing and teach--judge students on what they can do, not what they can't do, and don't baby them or dumb it down. Make them accountable to more than a bubble sheet. There are students who do well in "bad" schools, and there are students who do well in "good" schools. It is what you make of it. Vouchers and school choice are not the answer.
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    It also needs to be considered that school choice is not just about failing schools or behavior problems. Sometimes people have reasons they prefer a certain school beyond those: religion (though I don't support this being publically funded), content, focus, etc. I do support school choice in having a variety of offerings in the public system.
     
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  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    You said that schools needed to be forced to improve. In my experience this is the language used by corporate reformers to blame teachers for low achieving students in high poverty schools. Please excuse me if I unfairly jumped to a conclusion.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think you did jump to a conclusion. I was merely reporting a perspective I've seen. Maybe from corporate reformers. :)
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Backroads was just playing devil's advocate, they were not her/his personal views.
     
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  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I guess I'm just sensitive. It seems the "reformers" think we're all sitting around with our heels on our desks waiting to be told to get busy. Of course this is only true in the high poverty "low performing" schools. This brief article says it best for me.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, we are in agreement. This is one of the reasons I was struggling to understand the pro voucher crowd. When I hear it talked about in the media, they villify the school and teachers, and claim how vouchers is going to improve the schools. I just don't see it either.
     
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  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Maybe I should create a disclaimer for my posts. :D

    For the record, I'm against vouchers but in favor of increased school choice, at least as far as a variety of open, public options go.

    Perhaps my view would be better explained by a desire for a more diverse public school system instead of a one-size-fits-all approach where all schools are expected to be pretty much the same. This is where I do agree with one view of the voucher crowd.
     
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  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    So how do school vouchers improve failing schools?
     
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  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why is the school failing? And as I asked before, are the "behavior issue kids" or all kids being given the choice to move to a "good" school and better education or is it only certain "qualified" students?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2016
  21. Mr Magoo

    Mr Magoo Comrade

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
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  22. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've never seen a private online school... all the ones promoted in my state are public or public charter.
     
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    One argument that could be made is thatv"vouchers help public schools" is a feel-good distraction and that the point is simply changing what education looks like in the US.
     
  24. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    The majority of your post is about educational research being biased and then you end by recommending watching "Waiting for Superman?"

    I am not a supporter of vouchers and school choice because I feel the bigger issue is poverty. I have worked at low income schools where test scores were low and currently I work at school filled with upper middle class families where test scores are always high. I would say the teachers as a whole were better in the low income schools. The difference though was that children in those schools were caught in a terrible cycle of poverty and were not taught to value education. I am all for change. I just don't see this as a change that will benefit education.
     
  25. Mr Magoo

    Mr Magoo Comrade

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
  26. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, or we could get rid of organized education altogether and just go 100% home schooling and see if that change works too?
     
  27. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So another caution to throw out at this point is the temptation to try and find ONE issue that is the most important, while ignoring others - it's not either poverty or teacher quality. None of us think we're perfect. I myself make mistakes everyday and am constantly learning. I'll speak for myself when I say that I don't blame myself for my students' lack of achievement, but I sure could do a lot better, and I'm so grateful for that - if I was as good as I'd ever be? That would be disappointing.

    My perspective is that we need to move away from a past-oriented, blame-focused discussion about what caused poor performance, and move toward a solution-focused conversation. I didn't cause my students' to read on the levels they're reading on, but I do have the opportunity to do something about it. If reform is framed in this way, it's a win-win - who doesn't want to get better?
     
  28. otterpop

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  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I wish I could "LOVE" your post rather than just "Like" it.
     
  30. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    There are plenty of private online schools. My students use Laurel Springs and Mizzou.
     
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  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Thank-you for this post. There is so much more to the eduation equation. No excuses and working with what we have than working too much on banning certain types of schools.
     
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  32. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Standardized tests do judge based on what kids can do. 10% can demonstrate advanced knowledge of the subject. 20% can demonstrate basic knowledge of the subject. 70% can demonstrate minimal knowledge of the subject far below what is required for the grade.

    It shows what they can do. The problem is many of the times the students can do less than what they need to be doing by that age and grade so it appears to be a negative.
     
  33. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    That movie was a propaganda piece paid for by the for-profit charter industry. Here's a short fact-check of the movie.

    I agree that the status quo isn't sustainable. It's time to fully fund public education. We need to move deeper into universal free pre-K education and run the schools, K-14 instead of K-12,
     
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  34. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    In my state, massive online charter schools organize local non-profits to be the face of the on-line charter. The non-profits then "hire" the online company for curriculum and management services. The massive company overcharges the non-profit causing it to go deep in debt. Then the debt is forgiven giving the charter company huge tax breaks for "losses". It's a scam.

    Online charters are the worst of the worst. A Stanford University study showed students lost an average of 180 days of math instruction each year.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Pallas could have intended the allusion to Waiting for Superman as symptomatic of parental desperation without also taking its plot as a prescription for the cure.

    Let me remind all comers to exercise courtesy, forbearance, and good reading skills.
     
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  36. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    LOL
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

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    Let me also remind all comers not to go overtly political. Trust me that I'm not the only moderator watching, nor the only one who has had to prune this particular Kindergarten in hopes that it will grow in health rather than turning noxious.

    For the record, and before someone takes offense at the word: while I myself didn't much enjoy Kindergarten, I am a firm believer in the necessity for spaces in which minds learn through play. That goes double, let me assure you, for adult minds (and see my contribution to the thread on why we study biology). Play is crucial. What I ask here is that everyone play fair and respect the house rules, including the rules regarding political discussions.
     
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  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
  39. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Ah yes, the old "Choice is fine for people who can afford it" belief - one of my favorites from defenders of the status quo.
     
  40. bros

    bros Phenom

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    If someone who wants their kid to go to a parochial school - they should pay for it out of their own pocket.
     

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