Choice and/or School Vouchers

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

  1. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I believe Abbott schools receive more money than non-Abbott schools in nj. If I'm wrong the point is still there. Poorer schools can improve if the right choices are made and money is used for the right purposes. Vouchers aren't going to save the poorer and/or failing schools.
     
  2. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Right, and again am not really taking a stance either way.

    Why do we need vouchers for this?
    Here, I expect to get paid millions for my idea:)
    Starting next school year every district will designate the necessary number of schools as choice schools, only students who demonstrate good academic and social behaviors will be able to attend these schools. The already existing bus systems will be able to transport the students to their new schools with limited cost increases to the district.

    Public schools are now awesome and I saved tax payers a lot of money. America, you are welcome.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    You also have to keep on mind that charters and private schools still often have different focuses. how do you appease the families who want a STEM or art-focused school?
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But isn't that a separate issue? Isn't the main push for vouchers premised on FAILING PUBLIC schools? That is all I hear in the news?
     
  5. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Offer academies within the school or other schools in each district that have these focuses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Just to get this straight, does anybody else realize that the past several pages of this topic have been a debate where teachers have seriously advocated abandoning some kids to a school-to-prison pipeline in elementary schools?
     
  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Yup. So it seems the problem is to fix that without affecting the other kids.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Or solve the real problem, instead of spending years and money implementing a voucher system under the guise of solving the real problem...later.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think all of the issues that have brought up are so complicated because they're so intricately tied with other issues.

    Overall, I think the best solution would be to change the way we deal with so-called "failing" schools. It seems that these schools are failing not because of inadequate teachers but because of inadequate resources. If there were a way to give these schools more appropriate resources, this whole conversation probably wouldn't be happening in the first place. The kids at these schools should have very small class sizes, nutritional food, and access to physical and mental health services and support. If this could be accomplished by eliminating vouchers and charters, I'm all for that.
     
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  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The thing is, there are always going to be some knuckleheads. I don't know what the best solution is to prevent the knuckleheads from occasionally detracting from others, but I do know that the solution isn't to take all the knuckleheads, putting them under one roof (away from any good role models, motivated students, or "success stories") and telling them that we've decided they just don't care and are the bad kids.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    (on a side note, THANK YOU for having a strong, student-centered discussion on this matter with minimal political sidetracking)
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    If they have a failing public school - the answer is never vouchers - privatizing things such as education doesn't work - look at how privatization of the rail system in the UK affected them.

    The big issue is that property taxes fund schools. I think the finding of SA ISD v. Rodriguez would turn out much differently today (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_Independent_School_District_v._Rodriguez) just look at how a similar series of cases turned out here in NJ in the 80s/early 90s - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_district
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wasn't much of your own education subsidized by taxpayers and haven't you shared that you receive support from the state? Consider that which you have received...
    Kids in failing schools, low SES neighborhoods, living in poverty deserve better. We need to either commit to making their public schools better (would you be willing to teach in one to make a difference?) or give them and their families other options.
    Re-read your Abbott district article. A 2012 study found that increased funding to those districts had little to no effect.
    I'd also like to think there's a difference between railways and education.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    In the example I give, the problem was most definitely the administration and the teachers because they were unwilling to change how the school was run and how they taught the children. Once that changed, the school improved. Some schools are failing because of staff who dig in their heels insisting their way is the right way even when it isn't working, but it isn't all schools where this is the problem.

    Sure that could happen, but not all schools need that to educate students well. Unfortunately, we consider moving kids to a school like this, which in my district is an alternative school, is a slap in the face and the students are viewed as the bad kids. That is usually because they don't get moved until it is so bad that their behaviors can be deemed "the bad kids". Then people get bent out of shape because that school has more resources and it is not fair, but they don't want their kids there, they just want more for their kids even though they are doing well.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    No. More money won't help either when many times the choices that are made don't really cost anything extra.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The alternative schools in my district are really good. I've known both students and teachers at the schools. Sure, not everyone is helped by it, but it does turn a lot of the kids around enough to get their education and diploma. They have the whole run of resources to help the student both academically, physically, and mentally. The biggest problem I see is that they only have it at the HS level. Students in elementary or MS, unless they have a severe mental illness and there is a bed in the facility the district uses, they don't get what they need.

    You can send kids to another school and still tell them that they matter and that they really matter. It is all in how you do it, when you do, it and how that school addresses student need.
     
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The district I grew up in... I believe it had two alternative schools. In all honesty, the average person didn't know they were alternative schools. One even had a competitive sports program that played against the rest of the district. It was considered a very good school... but it was an alternative program. One of the finest young men I had ever met (worked under me at Scout Camp a few summers) attended there. Wonderful, hard-working kid who was still developing the skills he needed to manage his behavior in a larger, normal high school. Last time I heard, the kid is in college.

    I think the bolded quote is incredibly important. No, lining up all the trouble kids in one school isn't always the answer, but I don't think alternative programs are never the answer. Isn't it better to look at what's working rather than what we think should work?
     
  18. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    The parents who value education or are involved in education will fill out the required application to choose the best schools. The higher achieving schools fill up very quickly. Then there are parents who do not value eduction or are not involved in any way, their child gets sent to the open school that did not fill up by choice. Which puts them basically all at the same schools. The school is then filled with children who struggle financially, behaviorally, academically. My girlfriend works at one of these high schools where no one choices in. She struggles everyday trying to teach students who do not want to be there or are only there for social reasons. It's sad.
     
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  19. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    And does anybody else realize that for the past several decades of this conversation has been a debate ignoring the fact that we already abandon a serious number of kids to a school-to-prison pipeline in elementary schools?

    Your interpretation is ridiculous. I'm so very tired of the hyperbole whenever someone disagrees with the status quo in public education. That is the problem.

    Public schools aren't failing because they have bad kids or bad families. Public schools fail because they are tied into a government system that cares about appearances - not achievement. Too many suspensions at this school? Well, let's just not allow teachers to suspend kids! Problem solved! Test scores not looking good? Let's just change the colors with which we report our data! How can anyone be a teacher and be okay with that continuing?

    Look, I'm happy for those teachers who live and work in dreamland and get to pretend that everything is going great and reject any suggestion of change. I'm not one of them.

    We need dramatic, systemic change in our education system. Nobody likes change so it makes sense that those most vested in the current system, which is us, are going to argue against that. That change is NEVER going to come within the public school system. It is too big of a barge to steer. We all know it. Heck, we all preach it. But when it comes down to it we're not willing to accept that our security in our positions is worth risking to make the changes necessary.

    Now I think I'm done talking to brick walls.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I honestly don't know where this "treasonous" adjective is coming from. I never mentioned treason anywhere...
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't see where I insulted any religion. I just don't think public taxpayer dollars should go to benefit any religion. Public funded education should be secular. If a family wants to choose, they should use their own money. Not publicly funded money.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Rockguy, good point on the abandonment of students with behavior/academic problems. I'm guessing you think for-profit charters would do a better job. Perhaps you could point to a voucher/charter school system that is doing a good job with these students. With so many different countries around, perhaps you can cite an example. Gates started a for-profit system in Africa, but had to be shut down. Turns out helping kids and making a profit aren't compatible.

    I don't think anyone on this board is advocating for maintaining the status quo. We want universal pre-K and a robust K-14 public education system. We want strong neighborhood public schools with small class sizes, well trained teachers and resources adequate for meeting our students' needs.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I completely agree with this. I don't think it's the only issue, but it is a glaring one. This ship is hard to turn around. But one thing I think that might be a better solution than vouchers (which I feel are just putting off the problem, and honestly worsening it in the long run) would be better research-based training for administrators. We need a top-down change, where administrators are treated the way teachers are in being held accountable for the success of their schools. That includes VPs to Superintendents. In the different schools I've been in, things are solved in the way you mentioned: "Let's just take away the ability to suspend kids! Let's just remove failing grades! Let's just take away any ability for teachers to deal with behavior problems so that they can't focus on teaching."

    Without effective change at the top, we can't even begin to have changes down below at the student level. Some teachers can teach despite all of that, but it becomes an uphill battle. I also believe its the admin's responsibility to do the best they can to train staff to meet their new responsibilities without immediately just kicking them to the curb and restarting with new staff. Ignoring the harm of high teacher turn-over on student achievement, if teachers are expected to turn around students without giving up on them, what sense does it make for admin to do that to teachers? Admin need to be more skilled at SUPPORTING teachers and not just laying the blame on them when their schools are lacking in success. When admin are on the side of the teachers and work well with them, teachers are better supported in helping all students learn. There ARE classrooms where there are students who have behavior problems but they have teachers who can bring that under control so ALL students can learn, and enjoy doing it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  24. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I still fail to see the benefit of vouchers and how they will save public schools. Someone who is for vouchers PLEASE tell me the benefits and how it will turn around schools. I really want to be more informed on them. I also want to know what changes would be beneficial for public schools. I want to hear all sides.

    I'm all for change too, however I think how we view public education has to change. We live in a huge country with tons of diversity and the one size fits all approach is just not working. It's hard to model our system like those of other countries that are more homogenous in their populations. I think offering more tracks and opportunities for students will motivate students to learn. I mentioned this earlier in a post, but not every child is university bound (post-secondary ed, maybe, but not full blow university). We need to give these students a reason and drive to come to school everyday and to find their passion. We need to set them up for success and productivity in the real world. We can encourage all of our students to consider college and open up oppprtunities for them, but to expect it and align our system to assume everyone will is unrealistic. And to just pass students through the system to get them to graduate is doing the student a disservice. Now I only have the secondary point of view, I'm not as knowledgeable about k-6. That's an area I think elementary teachers may have great ideas.

    Edit: I don't anyone to get the impression that I think not all kids should go to college. Of course I think that would be great! But some kids may be more geared towards vocational or technical work or the arts or hands on careers and having more focus in these areas can bring out students' gifts and passions and give them a sense of purpose. Maybe there'd be less behavioral problems and more leadership among students.
     
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  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    That's the thing. Voucher proponents do not necessarily want to save public schools. It's about educational options for many.

    I suppose a solution there is to offer a greater range of classes in public schools.
     
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  26. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I would agree with the first part of this statement. Vouchers are not being pushed to improve public education, they are designed to dismantle it. The "many" who benefit from vouchers are the middle and upper class families who get their snooty private schools subsidized. Vouchers rarely cover the cost of a well-resourced private school. Poor families do not benefit. Vouchers contribute to segregation and result in fewer shoddy school options for poor families.
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Again, I stuggle here.

    I agree, at the heart of the matter it is not about improving public schools or even schooling. It appears to be about giving educational options to a certain select group adn relegating another group to the fringe.

    I am with jadore, no one has really given me a better understanding of how vouchers are going to improve our education system.

    Thank you, Backroads for posting your thoughts on this topic.
     
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  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    When vouchers were bring hashed about in my state a few years' back some proponents insisted it didn't matter the vouchers wouldn't cover much because loving parents would figure out a way to make up the rest.

    I remember rolling my eyes at this. Not all families have the money to just make up a difference.

    I better understand those who want to completely privatize education than those who celebrate vouchers. Vouchers are just awkwardly in the middle.
     
  29. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    If education is privatized, how can families afford education for their children? I don't understand the logistics of privatized education. Can you explained how it'd work?
     
  30. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The taxes currently paid for education would remain with the families, who would then pay tuition at a school. Which according to the theory would be very cheap due to economic competition. This would further be helped with scholarships and government grants.

    I'm not necessarily a proponent of this (I like public education just fine) but it makes more sense than making only partial competition that's too pricey for much of the population.
     
  31. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    No way imo are families going to be able to save the small amount of money that they would not be paying in taxes that go to public education. IMO, if this is how they really expect people with little disposable income to pay for private education, this idea sounds even worse than vouchers.

    Any extra money they would be getting from not paying taxes for education, would be wittled away in food and other expenses.
     
  32. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Compare it to buying insurance, I suppose. It becomes part of one's budget.

    I'd also daresay we would have to have a major education overhaul for this to happen

    Again, not saying I'm for this.
     
  33. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Only a certain percentage of property taxes go to education, so would families save that much? Families would still be ok the hook for taxes for many of the other government services. I feel many poorer students would be left out in the cold on this one. Would the federal government help support these private schools and provide funding for everyone to be able to attend? Or would it be on the backs of tuition-payers to subsidize? Or would education no longer be required and a right for all children?
     
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  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, lets compare it to buying insurance, because people with little money always budget for insurance and never come up short?

    Backroads, not trying to be disrespectful, but thinking people with very little disposable income in the inner cities are going to budget what little tax break they get into a monthly private school bill, I see as 100% fail. I just see the tax break being minimal and the money going to more in the moment needs such as food, entertainment...etc.

    If this is the plan to fund vouchers and pay for private school tuition, well, it just upped the ante on vouchers being targeted to a very select group and marginalizing others.
     
  35. jadorelafrance

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    What about those who rent (like me) and don't directly pay for property taxes? Sure my landlord might see a break, but you think I'm going to see my rent decrease? Doubtful so where's the savings for those who don't have homes?
     
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  36. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah your landlord is going to lower your rent because people are paying slightly less taxes from education...LOL.

    Edit: I am not so knowledgable about this, but does the money from our taxes that goes to education come from our property taxes? If so, what is the home ownership rate in the inner cities? This just does not make sense to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  37. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    w
    Careful. You are assuming I'm championing this. I'm just sharing the theory, which is actually still based on the idea public schools are still failing impoverished kids.

    One of the problems with the whole debate is a lack of a real plan for making public schools more desirable than private.
     
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  38. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    No, no I am not assuming, you have made your stance very very clear, You are playing devils advocate.

    I am trying to be respectful. I am choosing not to say what I really think of the idea of struggling families in the inner city stashing a small tax break aside each month to pay a private school tuition.

    I cannot even fathom this working, unless, again, the explicit goal is give choice to a certain group and marginalize another group even further.
     
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  39. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Unless their tuition is hugely (or mostly) subsidized by federal funding/grants and other tuition payers.
     
  40. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Exactly, and this is how I would think it would have to be. No tax breaks, no families seeing any money, the government would be paying the tuition to each school directly.
     

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