Why are educational vouchers spreading?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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  3. hubbopolis

    hubbopolis Rookie

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    Control/leverage.

    And I don't mean that in a malicious way (necessarily), but all else being equal, I would opt for vouchers if I could. Market forces do make a difference, and while I think the public schools by and large are *able* to do more with the same dollar, that doesn't mean they always do. Having a local private school that is a pen stroke away from that money might do a bit to keep them a bit more accountable for spending. (And I say this as someone who has campaigned pro-levy for the last four years)

    The big downside that I see is that most private schools are not going to take any child that has special needs for the same dollar amount unless that was a condition of the voucher program. So you would end up with a disproportionately high number of special needs kids in the public district, which is going to have ramifications in the dollar per student costs and ultimately quality of education for the mainstream students that stay in the public schools.
     
  4. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Because there is no such thing as state money.

    State money is money from the people. The people of that state elect representatives. Those representatives have decided that the people want to use the money which they donated by compulsion to the state to send their students where they, the people, choose.
     
  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. None of the countries which outscored the U.S. use vouchers or other choice alternatives. Education is too important to throw away pubic money on a program that does not improve public school nor help students learn better.
     
  6. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

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    A majority, if not all of the countries that ranked higher than the United States, have a lower percentage of poverty. The same people who brush off the issue of income inequality and the lack of living-wage jobs will somehow find their favorite whipping boy (public education) when impoverished children and schools do not succeed.
     
  7. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    I object to the statement that voucher schools don't have as many special needs students, or don't have to take them. In Wisconsin, we most certainly do need to take them, we just don't get the resources to serve their needs. The public schools get the federal and state funds for special needs children, and are supposed to identify and server our students. They do not have enough staff/funds to do this(or so they claim), so only our most severe students receive services, and the rest sit on waiting lists. The public schools also age children out of speech and language services in second grade, so I have students who are not getting services because they are on a waiting list, and after next year, won't be eligible for them.
    The legislature is working on a funding fix that would send the money for special needs students to the school that serves them, voucher or public. It's about time! I can't wait for that to happen. We would still follow the federal eligibility rules, but would finally be able to identify and serve our own students.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    jteachette, I don't see where anyone said voucher schools don't have as many special needs students. These voucher programs were set up to get poor kids out of failing schools so the competition would improve the public schools and the poor kids would get to go to a private school. Sadly, the poor kids score the same or worse as they did in the public schools and the drain of state money has left the public schools even weaker. Everybody loses, except the owners of the for-profit schools.

    I have nothing against private schools, just the idea of giving them public money with no public oversight.

    Like Jwteacher pointed out, this is about poverty.


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  9. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    I strongly favor vouchers, for reasons given elsewhere. As for "public oversight" over these expenditures, I prefer the private, engaged (and inexpensive) oversight of a concerned parent to the inevitable - and everywhere evident - inanities of government bureaucrats.
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    And this is where we have a problem. This isn't about poverty, it is about freedom. Why shouldn't a taxpayer be able to decide how his/her tax dollars are used when it comes to his/her own children?

    This idea that vouchers take money away from schools makes no sense. You are removing the student that the school was paying for anyway and the school does not lose the entire amount. Vouchers typically come in at about half the per pupil funding rate. So, in fact, the schools should end up ahead on funds.

    Though again, I don't think that is relevant.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    There are a lot of things my tax dollars go to that I don't support, war being one of them. Can I have my portion of my taxes that go to the war effort back so I can donate them to an organization that promotes peace? Well, that's not really how taxes work.

    Also, vouchers go to children at underperforming schools, and mostly to low-income families. Those families are likely not paying any taxes to begin with! The vouchers are not going to go to middle class families who would rather send their child to a private school instead of their perfectly good public school, at least not the way the program works in my state.

    We get x numbers of dollars per student. If a student leaves the public school, the school does not get the money for that student. In that way, money is taken from the school.
     
  12. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    To be clear, I favor vouchers for every parent/child: no means testing at all.
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Defense is a public good defined by the US Constitution and there is no second option. Education, even if you want to argue it is a public good, has other options. You are not opting out of supporting education. Nowhere does the Constitution state that public education should exist at all and it certainly doesn't say the federal government should decide what is a worthy education.

    And seriously, you equate private vs public schools with military vs peace organization?

    As to your second point, I couldn't agree more. I'm glad I didn't have to say it. If the tax burdern were properly shared then more people would surely support vouchers because they'd realize that it ends up costing less than the bloated public school system. Of course, there is also TeachOn's point that just because vouchers are primarily used for low-income families currently doesn't mean that is the way it should be done.
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Okay, I'll give a different example. I don't support abstinence only sex ed programs. I don't want my tax dollars use to fund them. I don't support the death penalty. I don't want my tax dollars used for executions. It's a very slippery slope once you start that, and it's just not the way that taxes work.

    I can see how some sort of voucher program could work, but not the programs that are currently being proposed.
     
  15. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Vouchers don't work. Kids aren't better educated and schools aren't improved.. Public money should not be wasted in this way. There are 21 years of data from the Milwaukee voucher program to show this is true.

    We need to be free: free from wasteful government spending.


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  16. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Because parents are tired of sending their kids to horrible schools. I myself never supported a voucher program until I had kids. Now I'm looking around thinking that I don't want my kids in these classrooms. If you're from an area with good schools, the idea of a voucher probably never occurs to you.
     
  17. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    "We need to be free: free from wasteful government spending." -Tyler B.

    OK. So we disagree on vouchers: I favor them, but you would agree with me, I take it, on abolishing the federal and all state departments of education? Surely that would free schools of much government interference, as well as freeing up considerable tax money.

    You might want to reconsider whether as someone who claims freedom as a summum bonum, you really ought to oppose vouchers for all. Such a system supports parents in doing as they (freely) will concerning the education of their children.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sometimes a voucher system helps promote racism and segregation. Students who would otherwise attend a more culturally and racially diverse school can choose to attend a school with a more culturally and racially homogenous student population. This seems to happen in my school district with the tech and vocational schools, which have turned into the "white" schools. I'm sharing my observations not to be inflammatory but just to share how I see things in my county and state. I realize (and hope) that this isn't how things are in other places.
     
  19. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Virtually any change would likely make my school more diverse! I do see your point. A voucher system would probably make it more difficult to use school enrollment to promote integration and diversity. Those who view that as a legit purpose of schooling, as many do, may well see a problem here.
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    This is what would happen here. The students that could provide transportation outside of their assigned school would do so while students that had to walk to school would make those schools more segregated.
     
  21. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Unfortunately, they are. This has been happening in my district for years. :(
     
  22. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    A place that's truly free is Somalia. There a person is free to build a road if he want's to drive on one, inspect his own meat, and control his own air traffic. Children are free not to go to school. No taxes at all.

    A place that's not free is Denmark. They have socialized medicine and state-paid-for universities. The citizens pay about 45% of their income in taxes. Studies show they are the happiest people on earth.

    I think our country should be one where we strive to have all students learn to be literate citizens who can compete with the Danish engineers. That requires a federal bureaucracy. Our children should not be free to fail.



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  23. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Actually, the last round of data shows that Reading scores are higher in the voucher schools, so are graduation rates.
     
  24. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    I'm ALL in favor of vouchers! Why? Let me give you a scenario:

    You live in an urban school district where the public school system (including the Charters) are performing horribly. You are a middle-low class single parent, that is dedicated to your child's education. Due to the high cost of living in the area, you simply can not afford to send your child to a better learning environment and make ends meet.

    Vouchers were set up to help families such as these. Of course you are going to have a few bad apples here and there, but I don't think that should mess it up for everyone.
     
  25. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    That's only true if you add the high income voucher students scores in with the free and reduced lunch scores. Milwaukee voucher schools failed to make a difference for poor kids. The money should be spent improving the pubic schools and using a elected school board to oversee the spending.

    Here's the latest report on the scores:

    http://www.uaedreform.org/SCDP/Milwaukee_Eval/Report_32.pdf



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  26. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    You show remarkable skill in the fallacy of the false dichotomy. Very imaginative!

    The proposal that "all students" be educated to a standard such that they can "compete with the Danish engineers" is preposterous.

    The assertion that the above impossibility "requires a federal bureaucracy" is just that - an assertion, not an argument. I'm sure that the quality of the teacher in the classroom trumps the elaborateness of the organizationally distant superintending bureaucracy, for example.

    And I don't see how anyone with any teaching experience could say that "our children cannot be free to fail." They learn from their failures, of course, and where failure is not possible, success grows meaningless. You may, of course, in the fashionable way, continually redefine success (downward) for individual students or students in particular circumstances, declare everyone a success, and go home. But I doubt you'll be beating many Danish engineers that way.
     
  27. mrsc_teaches

    mrsc_teaches Companion

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    YES!!! We live in a nice single family home area and our county has disignated the local school as the "place" for low income families. I teach in a low income area like it or not it is tough and I dont want my kids suffering through that like I did. I am truly a miracle story knowing what I know now of the local public school system. Rules that are important for the "RICH" families but nonexistant to the poor families.

    YES my kids go to a private religious school and I would happily take my voucher and present it to the school. My daughter reads and comprehends at 3 grade levels above the local school and yet on grade level for her school, sounds like a better education to me!!!

    Another great reason for vouchers. I will add again I teach publically in a low socio-economic area, I feel bad for some of the really smart kids in class because I spend such a large majority of my day trying to convince the others its time to learn.

    Isnt school choice doing the same thing?? In our state if your school fails the state mandated testing 3 times you get to choose another school and must provide transportation. Sounds the same to me!
     
  28. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I think if I lived in an impoverished neighborhood with all he problems that exist in those places, I would move or send my children to private schools. My sympathies to families in those neighborhoods.

    My problem with vouchers is that they don't strengthen the public schools or the students stuck in them. What they do is allow the most motivated parents to put their children into private schools.

    Thus vouchers do nothing to improve failing schools and may even damage them by stripping off the classroom models and parent volunteers.

    How about if the public schools were improved to the point where teachers wanted to send their children to them?


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  29. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Well I'm sure if these poor parents could move they would. But the majority of time moving to the suburbs is simply not an option. So why if they are invested in their child, should they be subjected to subpar education simply because they are poor?? Honestly the public schools aren't going to improve by one notion from the government and it really starts with the parents. If the parents were more involved in their child's education, we'd see some drastic improvements within the inner city schools.
    I work in an urban high poverty school-and I can't count how many parents feel helpless because they want to send their child to a better school but they simply can't afford it.
     
  30. paperlabs

    paperlabs Rookie

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    The thread "Why do politicians love charter schools" is closed so I will reply here.
    I wonder if politicians are more influenced by wealthy people who have been able to send there kids to schools that are more likely to hold the kid's hands and push them in every little detail until they succeed. So maybe the politicians think that is the way of successful education.
     
  31. peachacid

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    Tyler B. hit the nail on the head with the problems with vouchers. So, you have a bunch of motivated parents, who use vouchers to send their kids to Catholic or other religious schools. Most prep schools cost far more than vouchers will pay for. The students left behind are the ones who suffer -- as well as their schools. Private schools do not have to accept students with disciplinary problems. They do not have to accept students with learning disabilities. So we'll end up with failing public schools filled with the neediest students...with even less funding than we have now. Does that seem like the best way to educate the children in our country?
     
  32. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    It's the way in Wisconsin, Indiana and Florida. New Mexico, California, Utah, Washington D.C. are in various states of development.


    They are lying or enormously self-delusianal when they claim putting tax money into private schools is to improve public schools.
     

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