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Vouchers [Politics/Religion]

 
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Uisce Beatha
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Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« on: November 06, 2007, 07:21:49 PM »

Spacey started it.  Wink

So this (interminably  long and positively mind-numbing) round of public- vs. private-education funding comes to an close in Utah.  Vouchers looking to go down hard.  After the legislature passed two very suspect bills authorizing vouchers, a petition initiative got recision on the ballot, the NEA and who knows who else got involved and eight million was spent (more than on the mayoral race in SLC) we're back where we were (are).  What a cluster*fudge*. 

So anyway.  I believe we're seeing the first of MANY such initiatives over the next decade or so.  As public education continues to fail some students/families we'll see more and more of this.  Very, very interesting topic. 

Full disclosure.  My kids go to private school.  I'm for the concept of vouchers but hope they never pass.  I know that doesn't make sense.  I don't think the public schools should have a monopoly on tax-payer money in educating our children.  They can be inefficient, tenure blows, the NEA and UEA blow harder, there are so many reasons to give parents more say in how their child is educated given they are paying the taxes that support public education. 

On the flip side.  I like my children's school.  I don't want the government involved.  Once we start taking federal/state money it's a short ride to government oversight of everything we do.  Our private school will become a public school.  No thanks. 

I know there are good public schools.  I know there are fabulous teachers.  Unfortunately, the opposite holds true too.  Just don't want anyone to think I have a beef against public schools.  Especially if your spouse is a teacher.   Wink
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spacey
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 07:39:10 PM »

I am against vouchers. I see them as little but a tax credit for those who can already afford to send their children to private schools.

The top tier level voucher available under the proposed Utah system provides a $3k voucher. Based on an average of $8k per year for private school tuition, this hardly puts private school within reach for your run of the mill low income family. I realize in the middle of the spectrum there are exceptions to this, where a $1500 voucher might actually put private schools within reach for a family who otherwise could never consider it, but I firmly believe these are the exception and not the rule.

Just as all publicly funded options, in any category across the board, there will exist flaws and weaknesses. I don't honestly know how you address this. Using public moneys to fund private education strikes me as the wrong way to go about it, particularly given once the funding reaches the private institution, the public has no say in the education provided in exchange.

As for choice: with charter schools and increasingly open district boundaries, I believe there already exists a modicum of choice. The ultimate choice, of course, is to choose to not use the publicly funded option available. The ultimate choice, of course, is to not use the publicly funded option provided. I think that's a fine solution, and one I eventually plan on choosing when the time comes. I just don't believe the public has an obligation to help fund it, or otherwise reward me for doing so. My tax dollars fund a number of things of which, for whatever reason, I don't take advantage. Including, currently, public schools. I don't use police services much either, but I can't see how that entitles me to a refund on the taxes I pay to support them. IMHO, it's a matter of societal obligation.

Mostly I want the ads from both sides to go away.
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Aske
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 07:44:26 PM »

i think if you think the public schools aren't worth it you SHOULD get a refund towards another option.  the full price? no.


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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 07:49:35 PM »

private school is a choice with a price. you know going in that you will be paying twice. you give up "fair" when you make that choice.
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 08:00:30 PM »

i think if you think the public schools aren't worth it you SHOULD get a refund towards another option.  the full price? no.



How do you quantify "worth it"? Lots of people want lots of different things for their child's education. Can or should the public system be expected to cater to each of them? Should they be punished if they can't? Overtly skewed example: What if a parent believes an education should include Creationism? Are they entitled a refund because the public system has "failed" their children? Where/how is the line drawn?
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Aske
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2007, 08:02:00 PM »

exactly. which is why i said i think.   i don't know* how to implement the solution.
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Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.
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stroh
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 08:05:02 PM »

exactly. which is why i said i think.   i don't know* how to implement the solution.


That sounds eerily familiar.
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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 08:31:31 PM »

I am against vouchers. I see them as little but a tax credit for those who can already afford to send their children to private schools.

Not really IMO.  I don't qualify for any voucher credit as my kids are already in private school.  If there were not, I'd qualify for $500 per child.  It would be better if I would qualify for $0 as I can afford to send my kids to that school.  The $500 gives the voucher opponents some justification in their "feed the rich" rhetoric (5 points for Krokus reference?).  That's been one of the biggest points voucher opponents have raised.  It's hardly a strong position but the $500 gives them the ground to stand upon.

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The top tier level voucher available under the proposed Utah system provides a $3k voucher. Based on an average of $8k per year for private school tuition, this hardly puts private school within reach for your run of the mill low income family. I realize in the middle of the spectrum there are exceptions to this, where a $1500 voucher might actually put private schools within reach for a family who otherwise could never consider it, but I firmly believe these are the exception and not the rule.

Waterford and Rowland Hall skew the numbers tremendously.  I don't know the exact numbers but I understand their tuition rates are $15k or more annually.  Our school is roughly $4k depending on grade.  We have very poor families making tremendous sacrifices to attend our school.  We have students working after school to pay their own way.  A $300 increase in annual tuition takes some families over the edge and they have to leave.  This program is not about Waterford and Rowland Hall; it's about options.  Those two schools are not an option for my family.  There are dozen others that are.  Voucher opponents have played the "doesn't help any families but the rich" card very effectively but, IMO, disingenuously. 

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Just as all publicly funded options, in any category across the board, there will exist flaws and weaknesses. I don't honestly know how you address this. Using public moneys to fund private education strikes me as the wrong way to go about it, particularly given once the funding reaches the private institution, the public has no say in the education provided in exchange.

And that's my main point in opposing vouchers.  I don't want the public having a say in my child's education.  The public is a bunch of *goshdarn* arseholes.  I have SOOOO much influence at my children's school right now.  I think vouchers would effectively kill that.

Quote
As for choice: with charter schools and increasingly open district boundaries, I believe there already exists a modicum of choice. The ultimate choice, of course, is to choose to not use the publicly funded option available. The ultimate choice, of course, is to not use the publicly funded option provided. I think that's a fine solution, and one I eventually plan on choosing when the time comes. I just don't believe the public has an obligation to help fund it, or otherwise reward me for doing so. My tax dollars fund a number of things of which, for whatever reason, I don't take advantage. Including, currently, public schools. I don't use police services much either, but I can't see how that entitles me to a refund on the taxes I pay to support them. IMHO, it's a matter of societal obligation.

Taxes and societal obligation have run amok.  National defense, roads and ready access to quality pr÷˝.  Other than that the feds should just butt out.

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Mostly I want the ads from both sides to go away.

The rhetoric has been brutal.  I will say this, and you know how I'd vote, the voucher opponents have been ridiculous in their arguments.  The absolutely flagrant lies they've told are beyond belief.  Although they're not perfect I think the proponents have run a "more truthiness" campaign.
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spacey
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 08:51:07 PM »

^^^All good points. I still feel good about my opposition.^^^

The rhetoric has been brutal.  I will say this, and you know how I'd vote, the voucher opponents have been ridiculous in their arguments.  The absolutely flagrant lies they've told are beyond belief. Although they're not perfect I think the proponents have run a "more truthiness" campaign.

Though one might admit with the excessive (read: comical) use of the terms "liberal," "East-coast," "Ted Kennedy," "moveon.org," etc. the pro-voucher rhetoric has essentially been an exercise in "how effective are a.m. radio talking points in rallying the troops?"
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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007, 08:55:47 PM »

^^^All good points. I still feel good about my opposition.^^^

The rhetoric has been brutal.  I will say this, and you know how I'd vote, the voucher opponents have been ridiculous in their arguments.  The absolutely flagrant lies they've told are beyond belief. Although they're not perfect I think the proponents have run a "more truthiness" campaign.

Though one might admit with the excessive (read: comical) use of the terms "liberal," "East-coast," "Ted Kennedy," "moveon.org," etc. the pro-voucher rhetoric has essentially been an exercise in "how effective are a.m. radio talking points in rallying the troops?"

Agreed.  Unfortunately, it plays in Utah so that's why they went there.  I wish they had not.

This is a very conflicting issue for me.  I oppose vouchers but find myself making nothing put supporting arguments.   Sad
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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2007, 09:31:41 PM »

i think if you think the public schools aren't worth it you SHOULD get a refund towards another option.  the full price? no.

How do you quantify "worth it"? Lots of people want lots of different things for their child's education. Can or should the public system be expected to cater to each of them? Should they be punished if they can't? Overtly skewed example: What if a parent believes an education should include Creationism? Are they entitled a refund because the public system has "failed" their children? Where/how is the line drawn?

In Utah one might legitimately reason a secular education has a particular religious bent.  I certainly received a tremendously sanitized version of Utah history in jr./sr. high. 

But you make a good point.  While the whole church and state argument has morphed tremendously over the past 200 years it's fair enough that the public should not have to fund faith-based education with which they may disagree.  Having said that, if the faith-based aspect is 5% of a curriculum should the whole curriculum be discounted?

At the end of the day I still have to pay a tuition bill.  No more, no less, than if the vouchers initiative passed.  At least upon failure I don't have to deal with a bunch of new wankers trying to *8==>* up my kid's school.   Devil
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2007, 09:56:46 PM »

I think it's fair to say that it's not a black and white discussion, though it's being framed that way, by both sides.
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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2007, 07:23:44 AM »

I think it's fair to say that it's not a black and white discussion, though it's being framed that way, by both sides.

Indeed it is not, and is.

Vouchers go down in flames with less than 40% of the vote.  Now we can get back to our regular commercial rota and despising Tom Shane. 
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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2007, 07:28:13 AM »

I'm really on the fence as far as vouchers go.  I think it would be wonderful if public schools were more than adequate so that private schools existed as a want not need.  Certain areas exist that way but you generally pay more to live there.  

The OKC metro area is interesting in that regard.  I live in historic OKC in OKC school district.  My son will go to those schools over my dead body.  Most anyone above the median income in this area sends their kids to private schools.  You have parts with very high incomes and moderate incomes and obviously the former doesn't blink an eye but the latter can struggle or be forced to move out.  These schools have little money and just look inner-city scary like a movie.

NW OKC has Putnam City schools which I attended.  They are decent but it depends on which one and it is generally accepted they are going down hill.  

Edmond, Deer Creek and Norman are higher priced towns with good public schools because they have lots of money and higher income families going to them.

So you have a class system for education.  The public school system is so bloated with admin that don't do *feces*, apathetic teachers that can only do so much with little incentive to do more and a downward spiral of mediocrity that has been going on for a long time.  

So we are going to do everything in our power to ensure our son gets the best education possible.  We are changing our careers for higher future incomes to afford that 140k  Pre-K -12 private education because it is the best.  

Honestly, I still love my neighborhood and want the public school system to improve for those kids that don't have options.  So I can live with my tax dollars going to help my neighborhood schools since that helps everyone in turn.  I just wish they'd actually see that serious changes need to be made in the way the school system operates and improve with cirriculum, training, removing admin fat etc.


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Re: Vouchers [Politics/Religion]
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2007, 08:20:12 AM »

Our kids are at private schools.

I'm against vouchers for two reasons.  First, because of creeping public interference in private education that comes with it.  It's just not worth it.  Second, because it drains resources from public school systems that already have some evident resource-performance disparity.  In other words, the most likely scenario is that vouchers would be used by kids in the worst public schools, which would have the effect of making those schools worse.

I'm not convinced public education is broken.  A lot of it begins at home, and no amount of investment in public education is going to fix a problem that starts with a parent who doesn't give a *feces* about education.  To the extent that private schools do better than public schools, it is most likely a result of parents who are committed to the education process, and are willing to beat and torture their kids to get the job done.

I don't possess a sense of entitlement with regards to being also forced to pay for public education.  We do private schools by choice.

I pay property taxes, and a very large fraction of the tax goes to support the public school in my community because it is one of my communities big cost centers.  Whether or not I have kids, I'd have to pay that property tax. So whether or not I take advantage of the 'free' education, I pay into it.

I don't have a serious problem with that.  It turns out our community's schools are perceived as pretty good.  The good school system makes the community attractive, and this has the effect of buttressing our property values.  I view the tax as part of the cost of my investment in my home.  But I have little sympathy for the public education mafia...the community citizens who demand money from their neighbors insisting that no cost be spared to get their kid get the best education.   

Overall, I view public education as a good thing.   It is essential to move human society forward.  The countries that struggle in the world economy are those who's public education systems are rudimentary, by comparison. 
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