View Poll Results: Do you support school choice?

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  • Yes

    69 67.65%
  • Yes but with certain exceptions. (Please list those exceptions.)

    16 15.69%
  • No, students should only go to schools in their public school district.

    4 3.92%
  • other

    10 9.80%
  • I do not know

    3 2.94%
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Thread: Do you support school choice?

  1. #451
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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by HonestJoe View Post
    The flaw in this is thinking it's all about money. More money = good schools and less money = bad schools (and vice-versa)? This is clearly not true. Schools with the same level of funding can have vastly different outcomes. Some schools improve their outcomes without any change in funding and some schools decline in the same situation. Some very wealthy schools (state or private) can suffer specific problems and some very poor schools can still find ways to excel in specific areas.

    The factors that lead to good or bad outcomes from schools (measured and real) are wide and varied and focusing on a single one (such as funding) alone is destined to failure. If a school is (or appears to be) doing poorly, someone needs to get off their backside and find out why (all the whys) and work on addressing them. Some of them can't be addressed of course. One of the biggest factors in a schools outcome is the fundamental abilities of the children who join them and the support (or lack thereof) from the parents. Of course, it could be suggested that one of the hidden aims of vouchers is to deal with this by pushing the academically weak children of disinterested parents to one side.

    Vouchers won't solve the problems of "bad" schools. They'd probably make some of them much worse for what little they might improve elsewhere. Without an active desire to improve all schooling for all children that isn't going to happen. With that desire from enough people, tricks like vouchers shouldn't be necessary at all.
    The rationale is that if the money follows the child instead of being provided to the school, the schools will be forced to compete to get those children. And if parents are seeking the best education they can find and afford for their children, that competition will require all to provide the best education they are capable of providing. Those unable to do so will close as they should. A school doing a crappy job of educating kids simply should not continue.

    Ohio, for instance, has one of the strongest voucher and school choice programs in the nation, and they currently rank I think 5th in the nation in the quality of their education. Are some kids still falling between the cracks? Yes they are and they are aware of that and they are addressing it, but kids were falling between the cracks under the old system too. The fact is that allowing school choice in Ohio has significantly improved the quality of education over all moving the state from the middle of the pack to the upper tier in the pack, and they continue to edge up on the list. I am guessing that if the people Ohio were to put it to a vote today, they would not choose to go back to the old system where the government dictated where the kids would go to school.

    And I am not thinking it is all about the money. But nevertheless, it does require money to keep a school open and pay the administrators and teachers who staff it. Make them have to compete to get that money, and I bet you'll see a lot better performance from them. And if they simply aren't able to compete, they shouldn't be in education in the first place.
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  2. #452
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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    The rationale is that if the money follows the child instead of being provided to the school, the schools will be forced to compete to get those children.
    Specifically forced to pay to compete, with marketing, spin and outright fraud, all much cheaper and easier than actually improving standards, especially the ones that can't be easily measured.

    It also further encourages schools to force out or ignore children perceived as failures rather than helping them. If it would take the same effort to get one child from a fail to a D-grade as it would to get another from a B-grade to an A-grade, the school focused on raw achievement will go for the latter (and, if possible, prevent the other child from taking the exam at all). This kind of thing already happens here due to the way government "graded" schools here as part of a parental choice campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    A school doing a crappy job of educating kids simply should not continue.
    But the voucher system doesn't, in itself, achieve that. Sure, it may well mean some poor schools decline and even, eventually, are forced to close but even if that happens, it would take years, years during which children are being educated there (or not). If a school is so bad it should close, then close it. If a school could be improved, work out how and improve it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    Ohio, for instance, has one of the strongest voucher and school choice programs in the nation, and they currently rank I think 5th in the nation in the quality of their education.
    How is "quality of education" being measured and how is it's position attributed directly to the voucher schemes rather than a more general focus on improving education?

    As I said, I'm not dismissing the idea of vouchers out-of-hand, I just don't see them as necessary for actually improving education and I would fear their introduction alone could be seen as an excuse for those people and organisations who need to put in the effort to actually improve education not to put in that effort. We need a much wider focus on how the education system can and should be improved before individual policies such as vouchers are introduced. That's like buying the ingredients before you've decided what to cook.

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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    My question was not about who is funding what, however.
    "Follow the money."

    The money behind a particular political movement is the best indication of whose agenda is really being served, especially when the money comes from a relatively small group of extremely wealthy people. The people funding the voucher movement are conservatives and extreme conservatives with an anti-union, pro-privatization, pro-religionist, anti-"big government" agenda. Many are racists or tolerant of discrimination and many will directly profit from government funding for private schools. They are affiliated with Scott Walker's anti-union small government campaigns, ALEC, the Walmart dynasty, and the Koch brothers, and some are leaders of the far-right, openly racist John Birch Society. Among the grass roots members of the movement I suspect many, perhaps most, are unaware of these connections and hidden agendas and think they are simply trying to improve education, but there are good reasons why those people (Koch, Alec, Walmart et al) are the dominant funders and leaders of the movement.
    Last edited by Hard Truth; 02-04-14 at 02:28 PM.

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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Truth View Post
    Look at the people funding the voucher campaign and you will see that they have an anti-union, pro-corporate, privatization agenda, both on this issue, and the other initiatives and legislation that they support. Many of them are also racist and anti-democratic.

    Vouchers probably will reduce public school class sizes, especially the schools in low income areas. That will cause those schools to lose most of their funding because it is provided on a per-student basis. Putting those schools in a death spiral, reducing the choices available to students in that area.

    The problem with vouchers and religious schools is that it is a scam to bypass the first amendment prohibition on government funding for religions by funneling money previously used for public schools into religious organizations. It is also a problem that some religious schools misrepresent religious doctrine as scientific fact, misinforming kids and handicapping them when they attend college science classes. Parents are entitled to send their kids to religious schools, but they should do it with their ownmoney, not the taxpayers.
    Yeah the typical unfounded argument. Hate to rain on your parade but school choice is really working out well in Ohio. The parents using vouchers are paying taxes. Those taxes are suppose to provide their children with a school that has effective teaching standards and a safe environment to learn. When that is not being provided, the state has a responsibility to provide an alternative that does. The voucher usually does not cover the full tuition of charter schools so the parent is responsible for the difference. However, tuition is often less compared to what the public school receives per child each year. Our charter schools in Ohio seem to be doing a much better job achieving academic excellence on less money per child that what the public schools receive. Charter schools do a much better job of providing modern teaching techniques that hone in on certain learning disabilities. Not all students learn alike and often in public school settings it is a cookie cutter one size fits all program. We recently opened up a virtual school here in Ohio. From those with learning disabilities to physical disabilities, it is a new option that is seeing great success. Since we have passed school choice we have seen our graduation rates significantly increase. We are now over 80% graduation rate last time I checked. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of teachers wanting to apply for positions at the Charter schools either.

    As far as your comments on religion, I suggest you do a study on the history of education in this country since its founding. Before unions and bureaucratic red tape, the quality of education at the completion of the 8th grade would be equivalent to what some today achieve with 2-4 years of college. Back then they gave the children an excellent liberal arts education and taught them critical thinking and that is something most college grads today do not possess. The case can be made over and over again that collectivism has dumbed down our children and its time states start acting like they are sovereign and quit acting like little lap dogs that are so easily bought with "free" federal money. That money is never free because once they take it they are enslaved to run their schools or anything else with a whole lot of new rules and regulations that have a history of failure.

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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoSurveyor View Post
    What becomes of all the kids that aren't accepted to non-public schools? Who pays for them and what education, if any, will they get? You never discuss them, you just rattle on about metrics based on crap statistics and dishonesty.
    They go to public schools that are better than what they would be districted to and the voucher pays for it. How you missed that one I cannot begin to guess.
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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by vesper View Post
    Yeah the typical unfounded argument. Hate to rain on your parade but school choice is really working out well in Ohio. The parents using vouchers are paying taxes. Those taxes are suppose to provide their children with a school that has effective teaching standards and a safe environment to learn. When that is not being provided, the state has a responsibility to provide an alternative that does. The voucher usually does not cover the full tuition of charter schools so the parent is responsible for the difference. However, tuition is often less compared to what the public school receives per child each year. Our charter schools in Ohio seem to be doing a much better job achieving academic excellence on less money per child that what the public schools receive. Charter schools do a much better job of providing modern teaching techniques that hone in on certain learning disabilities. Not all students learn alike and often in public school settings it is a cookie cutter one size fits all program. We recently opened up a virtual school here in Ohio. From those with learning disabilities to physical disabilities, it is a new option that is seeing great success. Since we have passed school choice we have seen our graduation rates significantly increase. We are now over 80% graduation rate last time I checked. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of teachers wanting to apply for positions at the Charter schools either.

    As far as your comments on religion, I suggest you do a study on the history of education in this country since its founding. Before unions and bureaucratic red tape, the quality of education at the completion of the 8th grade would be equivalent to what some today achieve with 2-4 years of college. Back then they gave the children an excellent liberal arts education and taught them critical thinking and that is something most college grads today do not possess. The case can be made over and over again that collectivism has dumbed down our children and its time states start acting like they are sovereign and quit acting like little lap dogs that are so easily bought with "free" federal money. That money is never free because once they take it they are enslaved to run their schools or anything else with a whole lot of new rules and regulations that have a history of failure.
    My argument is not unfounded because I documented who is financing the school voucher campaign.

    Until the 20th century many children did not attend school past the first few years because they had to work or help out at home. We also had segregated schools which kept a large portion of the poorest kids out of the white public schools. We still have de facto segregation in most schools and the poorest schools with the most minorities are nearly always underfunded compared to the whiter and richer schools. Although the number has been fairly stagnant for many years, we are graduating almost as many students as we ever have in history. (the late sixties was the peak)

    Before we declare public schools a failure and plan for their slow death we should desegregate our schools for real and provide at least equal funding to all schools. If anything, schools with large numbers of poor and immigrant children should get more funding than other schools. Many of the problems with schools are indentifiable and fixable with enough commitment and accountability. The people funding the voucher movement have no interest in fixing the problems with our public schools because they have an agenda much broader than improving education. That agenda is to kill unions, reduce equal opportunity, promote Christianity with public funds and to promote privatization of government services.

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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Truth View Post
    Before we declare public schools a failure and plan for their slow death we should desegregate our schools for real and provide at least equal funding to all schools. If anything, schools with large numbers of poor and immigrant children should get more funding than other schools. Many of the problems with schools are indentifiable and fixable with enough commitment and accountability. The people funding the voucher movement have no interest in fixing the problems with our public schools because they have an agenda much broader than improving education. That agenda is to kill unions, reduce equal opportunity, promote Christianity with public funds and to promote privatization of government services.
    How exactly would you "desegregate" our schools for real? Also since the vouchers would have as much opportunity to go to Muslim schools, Jewish school and even Wiccian schools if they ever bulid them, why would you think that the system would be promoting Christianity?
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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by maquiscat View Post
    How exactly would you "desegregate" our schools for real? Also since the vouchers would have as much opportunity to go to Muslim schools, Jewish school and even Wiccian schools if they ever bulid them, why would you think that the system would be promoting Christianity?
    Further, why not let the parents decide where they want to place their children rather than the government dictating where the kids will go to school and giving the parents no say in that. The racial makeup of the school makes no difference if the kids are being well educated. Of course no school that accepts government money should be able to limit the population of the school to a specific race, but parents should be making the choice where their kids will go to school and not the government.
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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    Allow me to chime in both as a parent and as a 33 year former teacher in the public system. Of course, every parent has the right and duty to see that the education given to their child is the best that they can possibly give them. And if that means a school other than the local public school - so be it.

    At the same time, we also have to accept and realize that there is a societal price to pay for that. The most motivated parents leave the public system and the contribution they could have made to that local public school is often never replaced or made by the less motivated or less educated or less involved parent who is still in the public system.

    You multiply that times hundreds and thousands and millions and it becomes just like a big city like Detroit losing the tax payers over time and only keeping those who pay little but absorb much services. it has to have an overall negative effect on the system and on society.

    It is not a win/win situation.

    Maggie - I was a longtime union activist who went to the monthly meetings and screamed that the union get involved in improving the schools and setting high standards when the administration refused to do so. I was repeatedly told that such things were beyond the scope of unions. Thankfully, in the last ten years, this has started to change and now improving schools is seen as union business by the two major educational unions. Sadly, the damage has been done and for some districts, the situation may be impossible to reverse.
    Unions are the biggest reason that our education is failing. All they care about is lining their own pockets regardless of how worthless it makes the system.

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    Re: Do you support school choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRED View Post
    Unions are the biggest reason that our education is failing. All they care about is lining their own pockets regardless of how worthless it makes the system.
    I attended many national and state AFT conventions where improving education was the main topic that all else revolved around. Clearly you are ignorant of the actual reality on the ground.
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