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1 alinuxguru  Fri, Jun 14, 2013 11:58:00am

GOP Logic:

Teaching children to not hate homosexuals and treat them as equals = unprecedented social experiment.

Diverting tax dollars from public schools to unaccountable faith-based schools = freedom.

/

2 Political Atheist  Fri, Jun 14, 2013 12:04:26pm

re: #1 alinuxguru

What gets lost here is those parents trying to overcome a sadly inadequate public school system where they live. What of them, many who can not afford to go private? What alternative avoids instant derision? Certainly not home schooling.

3 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Fri, Jun 14, 2013 3:59:53pm

re: #2 Political Atheist

I, and most people I know don’t have derision for vouchers. I just know that they’re not the answer to our crippled educational system.

4 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Jun 14, 2013 6:17:16pm

re: #3 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

I, and most people I know don’t have derision for vouchers. I just know that they’re not the answer to our crippled educational system.

They might be part of the answer though. And I give a big Bronx cheer to Mark Kirk for not voting for the bill.

5 wheat-dogghazi  Sat, Jun 15, 2013 3:31:04am

Vouchers do several things, good, bad and in-between.

Good:
- They give parents a choice of where to send their kids. Presumably, lower-income families could use vouchers to enrol their kids in higher quality parochial or private schools.
- They boost the enrolments of said parochial or private schools, helping their bottom lines.
- Theoretically, vouchers force public schools to compete for students in the “marketplace,” which should lead to overall improvement in education. This would only work, however, if the public schools receive adequate funding to make such responsiveness possible.

Bad
- Vouchers siphon off higher performing students (or kids of parents with high interest in education) from the public schools, leaving the public schools with lower performing kids.
- Similarly, most non-public schools are not required by law to accept kids with disabilities, which means the public schools have to shoulder the burden. [See also, funding above.]
- Non-public schools generally do not need to follow state-mandated curricula, except in a very general sense, leaving way open for such schools to use public money to teach religious dogma, or revisionist history, for example.
- There is also less public accountability for how said schools spend their funds, compared to public schools with elected school boards.

The Paul/Scott amendment in particular would have siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from the public schools, which are hardly swimming in dough, and handed your tax dollars to schools with no public accountability. I don’t see how anyone could see this possibility as being at all positive.

As an educator, I’m also getting sick and tired of people saying our education system is “crippled” (sorry, Obdi) or “failing.” In fact, American public schools in general do a damned good job in teaching students from all walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, and English-speaking abilities. But the schools that get the most attention, of course, are the ones on either end of the Bell curve: the truly excellent and the truly dismal. And we seemingly base all our policy decisions on those few examples of the truly dismal, using them as the representatives of “American public education.” It’s like taking the Edsel as your typical example and saying, “therefore, all American cars suck. Here’s a tax credit, go buy a foreign car.”

There are many people like Paul and Scott who would like to see the public school system fail, and in its place an even more decentralized (and chaotic) mish-mosh of charter schools, private schools, church schools and who knows WTF, competing in the “marketplace.”

Time was, there was such an arrangement for electric utilities, and it was a big fucking mess. No standardization of equipment, voltages or currents, and no interconnectivity between adjacent systems. That got fixed, and no one seems to complain.

Conveniently, an “education marketplace” would make it possible to do an end-run around the separation of church and state, and the teaching of any scientific theory, like evolution or AGW, deemed unsuitable by the host institution. They want education to be balkanized, and at the same time, want to keep the public schools from being competitive by depriving them of funds.

I used to favor vouchers. Now I consider them one of the worst possible tools for dismantling the public schools. Jefferson, who understood the necessity of a well educated public in a democracy, is probably twisting in his grave now.

6 Decatur Deb  Sat, Jun 15, 2013 3:44:42am

re: #5 wheat-dogghazi

You missed another ‘bad’. In this part of the country vouchers are another way to support (often fundie) segregation academies. The Alabama bill that was just defeated was an obvious backdoor run at Brown v Board.


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