CO Supreme Court rules vouchers are unconstitutional

Discussion in 'General Education' started by waterfall, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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  3. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    WOOHOO!!!! Hope they make it to the US Supreme Court!
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Let's hope it is granted a writ in the 2015-2016 session and heard in the 2016-2017 session. Then we might have some more judges of sound mind on the court. We don't want another Citizens United.
     
  5. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Exactly! I think what we have on the court now would not vote the way we would like on this issue.:(
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Couldn't agree more. This current court seems completely bent on making choices that support personal freedom. Definitely wouldn't want them ruling on school choice.
     
  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I sense we have mixed feelings on this board regarding vouchers?
     
  8. greendream

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    It's an issue that rational people can disagree about, so I'd be worried if there weren't mixed feelings on this board about it.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    For the record, CO has had school choice for years, which is different than vouchers. Parents can open enroll their students in any public school/district they want, even if they don't live there. The receiving school can only deny them if they are literally at physical capacity according to fire codes. Parents do have to provide transportation, but very few schools around here offer free busing anyway so that's not really an issue. With vouchers, parents are able to use the money that their public school would have gotten for that student and apply it to private school tuition. IMO, that is completely different than school choice and I don't believe it should be allowed to happen. If parents want their child to get a private religious education, they need to pay for it themselves.

    In this specific case, the school district itself was actually pro-voucher and set this system up. This district was taken over by a tea party school board several years ago and they have been trying to dismantle it from the inside ever since. If you google douglas county you will see that they have a considerable amount of issues. The district is the wealthiest in CO and has always done extremely well on standardized tests, so there is no excuse that the vouchers are being used to "save" students from failing public schools. The case against the district was brought up by a group of parents that didn't want the tax dollars going to private schools. The district wants to take the case to the US supreme court because they do believe they will get the ruling they want there.
     
  10. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    I really don't have a problem with vouchers because there are parents who want the absolute best education (and safety) for their child and their school district is not providing it and IF they could afford it they would remove their child....the cost of education for everyone is out of reach.

    What I don't want is for this voucher thing to become a for profit venture for those who are looking to make money and who could care less about the education of the students....like some charter schools.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :agreed:
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I have a problem with public money being used for religious education.
     
  13. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I support public education, so I'm in favor of that ruling.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm fine with vouchers as long as they cover the full cost of admission, don't include religious institutions, and they adhere to the same expectations and oversight held by public schools.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    God forbid people have personal freedoms....:rolleyes:
     
  16. bros

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    Yeah, personal freedom isn't the issue with this supreme court - since Citizens United and the recent death penalty decision aren't exactly personal freedom rulings.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :rolleyes:
     
  18. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Do you hold the same beliefs about people being able to use government funded healthcare at religious hospitals?
     
  19. gr3teacher

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    If those hospitals spend time and money preaching rather than providing medical care, then yes. Similarly, I wouldn't be opposed to vouchers going to a religious school that doesn't require students to go to chapel, take a bible-based class, actively preaches to students, and if the school teaches science-based science classes.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :thumb:
     
  21. Rockguykev

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    Your implication is that religious schools are preaching rather than providing an education. That would seem a tough premise to hold given that they regularly outperform public schools on that very metric.

    If they weren't providing an education why would there be demand to send kids there at all?
     
  22. gr3teacher

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    I'm sure most schools would demonstrate improved results if 100% of parents took some type of active interest in their child's education, the school could refuse to admit students with disabilities, and behavior issues could be swiftly expelled, but let's put that aside for a minute.

    If a religious school wants to get public money, it's more than fair to expect them to function like a secular school. If they wish to provide a religious education, it's perfectly reasonable to withhold public funds.
     
  23. Jerseygirlteach

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  24. Rockguykev

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    ::Shortly after that report was released, Paul E. Peterson, a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, led an analysis in which he used the same data with a different combination of demographic variables. His results suggested that private schools actually equaled or surpassed public schools.::

    As I asked before "If they weren't providing an education why would there be demand to send kids there at all?"
     
  25. bros

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    Some individuals prefer to have their children brought up completely immersed in ideas congruent with their beliefs - with nothing to challenge, which occasionally leads to... let's just say interesting, times if they go to a secular postsecondary school.
     
  26. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oh how I wish even 1/2 the rumors about private schools were true. At private schools, we might study someone who is perfect (God), but our parents' behavior can be far from heavenly. We have parents that I have called the police about, CPS about, etc. Last year, I had a dad who looked pretty scary as he had just gotten out of serving over 5 years in jail. I have parents who never attend parent-teacher conferences, even though their report cards are withheld. I have parents who ask why should they help their children at home, isn't that the school's job.

    The reality is that if private schools only took students who have great parents, 90%+ of the schools would probably close. Private school enrollment is dropping in many private schools and they take nearly any child that enrolls.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-jennings/proportion-of-us-students_b_2950948.html
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Readingrules, I don't believe that parents in private schools are perfect, but the reality is students in private schools have to have parents (or grandparents, or someone looking out for them) who care enough about their education to fork over thousands of dollars to pay for it, provide transportation, and deal with any extra rules that private schools have. My mom worked in private schools her entire career and she always talked about how her students' home lives weren't perfect like some would imagine. She definitely dealt with some issues (and a whole lot of helicopter parents) but even when a kid had absolute deadbeat parents, there was a grandparent or someone in the kid's life who cared enough to pay for tuition when they could have sent the kid to public school for free instead. That is different than your average low income public school kid. My mom also had some behavior issues throughout the years and her students certainly weren't perfect, but again the reality is that if a student at her school was violent with kids and teachers, destroyed the room on a regular basis, etc. that kid was removed from the school. Losing that one kid's tuition was less of a problem for the school than losing tuition for ten kids when the rest of the class pulled out due to parents not accepting that behavior in their kid's classroom. While her school did not deny admission for students with disabilities, they didn't provide special education services and made sure parents were clear on this up front. The great majority of parents quickly figured out that they needed to go to public school to get the services that their kids needed. I think this is extremely common among private schools unless it's a sped-specific private school.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Also ETA: I know this isn't the case with vouchers everywhere, but in this specific court case, using vouchers to "save" kids from failing schools was absolutely not a factor. This case involved one specific district that is currently being controlled by people who want to privatize education. This district is one of the top performing in the entire state. Every school in the district has more than 90% of students passing the state tests (which yes I know isn't everything, but that tends to be how people judge a "failing" school). If for whatever reason parents simply didn't like the admin/school/teachers in their neighborhood, they are free to go to any other public school in the district (or a neighboring district, if there is room) under Colorado's existing school choice law, so the argument that parents are being forced to send kids to neighborhood schools that they don't like isn't valid either. Douglas is also the wealthiest county in the entire state, so the great majority of parents using this program could have afforded the private school tuition themselves. Not to mention, the vouchers almost never covered the cost of the tuition fully anyway. The school with the highest participation was Valor Christian, which has a tuition of over $15,000 per year. The voucher program gave students just over $4,000 per year. 16 of the 23 private schools involved in this district's voucher program were religious in nature.
     
  29. gr3teacher

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    100% of private schools have parents who have demonstrated an interest in their child's education. That doesn't make them perfect, or mean that they are actively involved, but by the very fact that they have either paid tuition or otherwise gotten tuition (whether through scholarships or other methods), they have taken an active interest in their child's education.
     
  30. a2z

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    I believe that Rockguykev meant people who were not of that religion.

    A lot of Catholic schools have non-Catholic students. In one area of the country I lived in that didn't have a large Catholic population had a waiting list for the Catholic schools where a large percentage of those students were not Catholic.
     
  31. Peregrin5

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    I'm not going to say anything like 100% of public schools are ___, or 100% of Catholic schools are ___.

    I'm going to talk about on average.

    On average most Catholic schools are comprised of families which are middle class or wealthy. Yes, some public schools are the same but not on average. And the ones that are wealthy tend to do better than the schools which are not.

    On average, most Catholic schools are comprised of families which care about their student's education. Again there are a few who don't, but they tend to be the exception. (btw, I would like to say that I attended a religious private school growing up) I would still say many families in public school care about their students' education but the percentage is likely less.

    Also, I won't say that the primary purpose of a religious school is to teach religious doctrine. They are often good schools who teach secularly, but include a religious requirement like attending chapel or religious class. For that purpose, I don't think they're entitled to federal funds which come from tax payers who may not be that particular religion (or who may not even agree with that particular denomination).
     
  32. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Yes, the fact that tuition is involved, does have some effect with some of the parents we get. My experience though that it isn't near as much as most people think it is.

    Could a voucher program help some students get a better education without hurting the public schools? Possibly, but I know the number one argument I hear is that the more you take students out of the public schools and put them in private schools, you hurt public schools. If this is true, then wouldn't the reverse be true? Would it then be helpful to public schools to take students out of private schools and put them in public and charter schools? That is exactly what has happened over the last 10 years. Private schools have lost 33% of their enrollment (15% use to go to private schools, now cut by a 1/3 and is down to 10%.) How has this effected public and charter schools? The government hasn't given enough $$$ to compensate public and charter schools for all the students leaving private schools. This has resulted in cuts to programs and has probably effected at least some of why teachers have gotten horrible raises and cuts in benefits in many states.

    If I was still in public schools, I would be much more concerned about politicians not doing enough to support public schools then worrying about less than .1% of students getting vouchers as over 30 times that leave private schools to go to public or charter schools.
     
  33. greendream

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    Some individuals are like that, but let's not pretend that most students at private schools have religious fundamentalists as parents. The truth is that religious fundamentalists are more likely to be poor, and wouldn't have the means to send their kids to private schools. The very fact that tuition is involved means private schools are predominantly middle class and upper class. Hell, if tuition to a school was $100 a year it would have a huge impact on the makeup of the school.
     
  34. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    This has been beneficial to public schools in my area. Doesn't your state do per pupil funding? The public schools get more money for each student that enrolls. When the students voluntarily (not b/c they were kicked out) come from private or charter schools (yes, I know they're not the same, but in my area charters have strict guidelines for academics/behavior and volunteer requirements for parents, so they tend to attract similar populations) they also tend to be middle or upper class higher performing students who will boost test results for the public school. This is highly beneficial to the school for state report cards and attracting more high performing students to the school with school choice. My first school had a local charter and a local private school close in the same year. Almost all of those students came back to our public school district. We went from suffering severe declining enrollment with tons of layoffs to hiring like crazy and using every space available. 3rd grade test scores went from under 40% proficient to 80% proficient in one year.

    Declining enrollment is a huge problem in my current district. Luckily the school I work at is busting at the seams, but the closest elementary next to us laid off 5 teachers this year and will likely close next year if they can't attract more students. Our district has tried a lot of of "tricks" (fancy new facilities, increased sports, i pad for every student) specifically for the purpose of trying to raise enrollment. More students equals more money and if those kids are coming from private schools, even better.
     
  35. vateacher757

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    I went to a private catholic school for 12 years and never got the feeling they were "preaching" rather than provide an education.

    I think people have this vision of christian schools staff and students walking the halls quoting bible verses, praying etc etc it is not like that at all. Initially non catholics had to go to mass etc etc but we did not participate in communion etc eventually it became an option some chose to attend others chose not to, no big deal really. I remember the stations of the cross and other things I did not convert to catholicism because of it to me it was an educational experience.
     
  36. vateacher757

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    To the bolded, just to put something else out here since people always complain about tax payers money going to private schools.

    Don't you think these same tax payers, or most, want their tax dollars to pay for the best education and safe environment for the children in their community....if they really know all that was going on in many of the schools today that their tax dollars were going to would they really want their money going there? I would want my tax dollars to do what it was intended to do and if that family needed to go elsewhere to get what I wanted them to have then they can take my tax dollars to get it. I am not hung up on the religious aspect of it all my concern is an education.
     
  37. Peregrin5

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    The best education and safe environment can come from a well funded secular school. Regardless, it isn't their children that are attending these schools (if we're talking about the children who are from different religious or non-religious families).

    Money from the public should not unfairly support a particular religious denomination. The private schools get enough money from their donors and attendees. The money from the government needs to go to funding these public schools in which you say you don't like what's happening so they can fix what is happening. These are the schools that serve EVERYONE. Not just the wealthy or cater to those of a particular religion. Public money should only go to public schools.

    Maybe you're not concerned with the religious aspect of it, but I am and so are many others. I completely support improving education for all rather than giving just a few a stellar education, particularly when it comes to money from taxpayers.

    If these schools want government money, then they should get rid of their religious requirements, open up their school for free to everyone, and teach to the state standards that the rest of the schools are required to teach to.
     
  38. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    When I taught at a wealthy public school, students who didn't live in the neighborhood weren't allowed to enroll. It was very exclusive. Nearly all the homes were $500,000 plus and this was over 15 years ago. Now that I teach in a private school, we have students who are welcome to come from any neighborhood. Some drive from wealthy neighborhoods and some from poor neighborhoods. This past year I had a student in incredible poverty who was best friends with a girl who lived in a near mansion. I never saw something like this when I taught at public schools. I can tell you that there is a lot more diversity at the private school that I am at, then there was at the past public school. Not saying that there isn't diversity in public schools ( know there is and l like public schools). I am just saying there are private schools that purposely serve to diverse groups of students.
     
  39. Peregrin5

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    Of course there are. I'm not saying there is no diversity and yes there is an issue with rich public schools. But again I'm saying that on average the majority of religious private schools serve wealthier families (not saying that they exclusively serve wealthy families) and you get a much more mixed bag with public schools who are required to take anyone living in the area.

    I understand that you want to let people know that their perception of religious schools is a bit different than what they think, but it doesn't change the fact that you need to post money to attend a private school and that this usually means that parents are at least a little more involved.
     
  40. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<Money from the public should not unfairly support a particular religious denomination. The private schools get enough money from their donors and attendees. The money from the government needs to go to funding these public schools in which you say you don't like what's happening so they can fix what is happening. These are the schools that serve EVERYONE. Not just the wealthy or cater to those of a particular religion. Public money should only go to public schools.>>

    This paragraph is a mess of an argument.

    <<The private schools get enough money from their donors and attendees.>>

    That is absolutely not true of all private schools. Of those which it is true often 1/3rd or more of their students are there on scholarships.

    <<The money from the government needs to go to funding these public schools in which you say you don't like what's happening so they can fix what is happening.>>

    Here you assume funding is the reason unsatisfactory things are happening in public schools. This is, at best, extremely simplistic and, at worst, absolutely wrong. Most public schools spend far more per student than private schools.

    <<Public money should only go to public schools.>>

    If this is the conclusion from the premises above and not just an appeal to emotion then it is invalid. It does not follow logically from anything stated previously.
     
  41. vateacher757

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    #1. I agree most public schools spend more per student than the private schools but many kids are not getting equal benefit of the money and they are sitting in classes that have been dumbed down and are not challenging enough for them courses that they would benefit from have been cut because of "low" enrollment so they cram 30+ students in a class with kids who are higher functioning and are bored and can become discipline problems and kids who are below grade level and many times are a discipline problem and those in the middle are just "there".....everyone including teachers are getting the short end of the stick because.
     

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