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Qin Shi Huangdi
08-30-2011, 07:40 PM
Should the government grant money or tax credits to parents who wish to send their children to private school or homeschool them?

Much as with food stamps, I support such vouchers for private schools or homeschooling who have reasonable curriculums especially for inner city kids whose local public schools are in extremely bad condition. Of course this should not be the only approach to improving education in the United States.

To note I go to a public school.

Omg a Black Conservative
08-30-2011, 07:54 PM
Yes.

Now how long until this thread devolves into a rich bashing thread? I'll say 17 posts.

Der Trihs
08-30-2011, 07:56 PM
Should the government grant money or tax credits to parents who wish to send their children to private school or homeschool them?
No, it would just result in a lot of government money getting sucked up by scam artists creating useless "instant schools" to suck up the voucher money, a lot of money going to schools that amount to Christan indoctrination centers, and existing private schools to raise their fees by the amount of the voucher. It's just another right wing scheme to destroy the Evil Public Schools, divert government money to the corrupt, and swell their ranks by forcing students into religious & political indoctrination centers.

brickbacon
08-30-2011, 08:00 PM
What do you think vouchers will accomplish?

LouisB
08-30-2011, 08:06 PM
I vote no unless and until public schooling is no longer available.

Uncle Jocko
08-30-2011, 08:24 PM
Here's my thought - public education is just that, education by and for the public. All children have the right to attend, and in return, the public at large ... via taxes ... pays the bills.

If a family decides that a private education would work best for them, they have the right to send their kids to a private school. They do not, however, have the right to "opt out" of paying for the public system. All taxpayers pay into the public school system, whether or not they have schoolchildren - heck, whether or not they have children at all. It's part of what we pay as a society to educate our youngsters, and we all share in that cost. It's just the same as citizens not having the right to "opt out" of paying for military expenditures, or greenhouse gas studies, or any other taxpayer-funded exercise. It's part of our social contract here in America. You pays your taxes, and if you don't like how the money is spent, you makes your feelings known at the ballot box. And the majority vote rules.

So, families have the right to choose a private school. But in my opinion, they do not have the right to pull funds out of the public system to pay for that choice.

Are there a lot of bad public schools? Certainly. Do we have a long way to go as a society to improve our educational system? Of course. Are vouchers the answer? No way - not in my view, anyway.

Just for reference, both of my kids went to private (Catholic) schools all the way from elementary to high school. We found some scholarship money to pay for some of it. We got a little break on our Iowa income tax (for some school expenses). We found a way to pay for the rest. All the while, I never begrudged the tax money I sent to the public education system. After all, our children are going to have to work/live/get along with products of the public school system, too. There's a reason all citizens should financially support public education. Letting some people "opt out" is a step onto a dangerous slope.

Qin Shi Huangdi
08-30-2011, 08:31 PM
No, it would just result in a lot of government money getting sucked up by scam artists creating useless "instant schools" to suck up the voucher money, a lot of money going to schools that amount to Christan indoctrination centers, and existing private schools to raise their fees by the amount of the voucher. It's just another right wing scheme to destroy the Evil Public Schools, divert government money to the corrupt, and swell their ranks by forcing students into religious & political indoctrination centers.

That is why I said for private schools to qualify they'd have to meet some basic standards equivalent to public schools. And its you who seems to think that all private schools are evil or religious indoctrination centres and rather ironic as prominent atheists like Hitchens send their children to religious private schools.

Qin Shi Huangdi
08-30-2011, 08:32 PM
I vote no unless and until public schooling is no longer available.

And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?

Lobohan
08-30-2011, 08:37 PM
And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?Then the first thing you should do is take its funding and give it to nearby private religious schools.

No, wait, that's actually the last thing you should do. :D

Vouchers are an attempt to destroy schools. The only way I'd support them is if:

The money can't go to religious schools.
Schools that accept the money can't turn away students.
Schools must allow students to go for just the price of the voucher.
Schools must obey all normal standards for sciences.
Free abortion on demand for all students.
That last one was just to check if you were reading.

brickbacon
08-30-2011, 08:44 PM
And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?

Why do you think schools are bad? More importantly, why do you think someone would open a school in a terrible area given all the uncertainties and problems inherent to doing so? The free market doesn't typically bring good supermarkets or good doctors to poor areas, so what makes you think the schools will come just because there is a profit motive?

SeldomSeen
08-30-2011, 09:08 PM
I fully support the rights of parents to send their children to private schools, or to home-school them if they wish - provided the curriculum meets some reasonable standard. But I'm not terribly enthusiastic about the tax credit or voucher system, simply because it tends to draw away scarce funding from the public schools. I suppose I would support some kind of grant (like Pell grants for college) for families that wished to privately school their kids but could not afford it.

FWIW, I graduated from a private high school - a very good one, run by the Quakers. There was some focus on religion, but not to excess. Bible studies were offered as an elective but not required. My parents (who were not particularly well off) paid for it out of pocket while continuing to pay full taxes to the local school district. This was long before vouchers or tax credits were thought of. The school itself (or maybe the church) offered reduced tuitions for low-income students and were proud of the fact that they never turned anyone away for lack of money. This, in my mind is how private schools ought to be run.
SS

Kobal2
08-31-2011, 12:23 AM
And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?

Then maybe, I don't know, address that problem instead of in effect trying to make it worse by reducing their funding some more ?

LouisB
08-31-2011, 12:54 AM
And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?Improve the school system; shut down substandard schools and fire substandard teachers. Bus the displaced children to good schools if necessary but don't spend money intended for public education on private schools. That's it in a nut shell: Don't spend money intended for public education on private schools.

zynik
08-31-2011, 01:37 AM
A contentious topic. In theory, I wouldn't mind school vouchers (or even more broadly, education vouchers that parents are free to use for educational purposes, not just schools), but the actual implementation can be a problem. Many countries in the world already provide subsidized education by running public schools. I don't see why private schools shouldn't be subsidized for families who need the extra funds.

However, the implementation is tricky. Economists specializing in education have studied several school vouchers programs but do not agree on the effects of the programs (an overview can be found here (http://www.givewell.org/files/Round2Apps/Cause4/Childrens%20Scholarship%20Fund/B/EPI.vouchers-full.pdf) -- note: PDF file). Key problems I can think of are:

- Whether private schools are significantly better than public ones: if they aren't, there's little point in vouchers
- The number of beneficiaries: a very small sample will produce unreliable results that can discredit the program
- The size of the subsidy: a small subsidy will not encourage parents to take advantage of the program, thus producing insignificant results; a large subsidy will lead to claims of bias/waste
- Whether students who move to private schools stay there long enough: studies show that many students who move to private schools leave after a year or so, perhaps not enough for them to benefit from the new environment. Whether students "persist" or not depends on local factors, such as family, poverty, etc.

Given these obstacles in implementation, I can see why the more cautious would advocate against school vouchers.

septimus
08-31-2011, 02:23 AM
Four of my political ideals:
I believe in market-based solutions.
I believe in equal opportunity.
I believe diversity is good, but should be a source of strength for society, not a source of strife.
I believe in pragmatics.


The idea that the consumers of education should have freedom of choice where their education dollar is spent sounds like a very good idea: it's a market-based solution. There are approaches other than vouchers toward this goal, e.g. charter schools. I would tend to support such ideas. But the key question is not one of idealogy, or what the Dead White Men would of thought; the question is Will the idea work?

Many (but not all) proponents of vouchers are people with money tired of supporting the poor. They're already sending their kids to private schools but want a taxpayer subsidy for that. Those who think income inequality is a good thing are happy to jump on bandwagons like vouchers, or "Social Security reform." But I do not think income inequality is a good thing. And I do not think lowering the quality of already poor schools is a good idea.

And yes, let's be very clear. Bad as some American public schools are, vouchers will only make them worse. The pro-voucher people will answer that parents who care can send their children to private schools instead. But will they? And what kind of private schools will we see if a huge new demand for schools causes entrepreneurs to jump on this bandwagon? Our prisons are now run by private companies; much of our military has been privatised; do you approve of these steps? Privatised prisons led to judges being bribed to incarcerate innocent juveniles. I hate to imagine what kind of schools the right-wing will give us.

And many ignore a fundamental difference between public and private schools. The former must serve all citizens (leading to higher costs). The latter can pick and choose. Here's a simple test of one's mathematical aptitude: What will happen to the average level of public-school students in a voucher-based system?

Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement, the Black-White gap in America is still a big problem. Will vouchers improve Black's education overall, or make it worse? I'm no expert on education, so I'm not sure. But the people selling vouchers and claiming that they will improve ghetto schools are the same people selling snake oil. A major problem for ghetto schools is that they have less funding than suburban schools. Republican solutions generally approach this problem with the kindness of starvation.

Vouchers will exacerbate the Rich-poor gap in America. Good idea? If you think so, you'll love vouchers.

And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?

Perhaps it will seem simple-minded, but a logical approach when public schools are extraordinarily poor in quality would be to devote extraordinary effort to improving them.

Typo Negative
08-31-2011, 02:43 AM
Much as with food stamps, I support such vouchers for private schools or homeschooling who have reasonable curriculums especially for inner city kids whose local public schools are in extremely bad condition.
bolding mine

This is where the argument is either dishonest or fantasy. The inner-city kids will not benefit.

These private schools, will they be in the inner cities? Will they be inexpense enough to where the voucher covers the full cost? Will they be able to pick and choose students? Those with greatest need will be left out. And with money being drained from public education, they will left with next to nothing.

So, I will publicly support a voucher program that meets that criteria. That the children of those without means can benefit as much as the children of those with means. Meaning there has to be:

Private, decent schools in the inner cities
Voucher covers the complete cost
Poor kids cannot be kept out.
Public Schools still have to be funded to where they are a valid alternative.

But none of these will happen.

Lynn Bodoni
08-31-2011, 06:41 AM
Then the first thing you should do is take its funding and give it to nearby private religious schools.

No, wait, that's actually the last thing you should do. :D

Vouchers are an attempt to destroy schools. The only way I'd support them is if:

The money can't go to religious schools.
Schools that accept the money can't turn away students.
Schools must allow students to go for just the price of the voucher.
Schools must obey all normal standards for sciences.
Free abortion on demand for all students.
That last one was just to check if you were reading.

This. The thing about public schools is that they MUST accept just about all students. Even the ones who are disruptive, or who have very expensive requirements. Private schools, on the other hand, can and do expel students who cause any problems. And if Johnny or Suzie need an aide to sign for them because they have hearing difficulties, for instance, the public school system has to pay for that aide.

Some private and charter schools are very good, and some homeschooling parents are also very good. In my area, though, most of the homeschoolers go that path because they don't want their kids to encounter any opposing viewpoints...and the parents are not all that highly educated themselves. And these parents don't necessarily have any skill in teaching, either.

tim-n-va
08-31-2011, 06:56 AM
How do public schools get funded? My vague understanding is that the local government (city, county, independent school district in Texas) funds most of it with state and federal money allocated on a per student basis.

IF that understanding is correct, I would support vouchers for the per student portion.

I self describe as agnostic but I would have no problem with a parent making a choice to send his/her child to a religious based school and using that voucher. I would not see that as a conflict unless there was a limited list of denominations who were allowed to run schools.

smiling bandit
08-31-2011, 07:51 AM
How do public schools get funded? My vague understanding is that the local government (city, county, independent school district in Texas) funds most of it with state and federal money allocated on a per student basis.

IF that understanding is correct, I would support vouchers for the per student portion.

Actually, much of it is paid for by local property taxes, although that doesn't ultimately change the end calculus.

Lynn Bodoni
08-31-2011, 07:57 AM
I don't think that schools that cherry pick students should be allowed to accept vouchers. If they want vouchers, they should have to accept the same pool of students that the public schools do, and they should not be allowed to charge any additional fees.

Czarcasm
08-31-2011, 09:42 AM
Private schools, like any other business, will charge what the market will bear. If vouchers are provided fees will increase. They still will take only the students that will make them look good and reject the others.

kayaker
08-31-2011, 10:04 AM
fire substandard teachers

Unions? Tenure?

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 10:10 AM
I fully support the rights of parents to send their children to private schools, or to home-school them if they wish - provided the curriculum meets some reasonable standard. But I'm not terribly enthusiastic about the tax credit or voucher system, simply because it tends to draw away scarce funding from the public schools.
This claim that vouchers somehow hurt public schools by drawing away money comes up many times in every discussion, yet it's flatly untrue. The actual empirical evidence shows that when a voucher program is implemented in a particular area, it leads to improved public schooling in that area. The competition keeps 'em honest. From this report, page 4 (http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/656/A-Win-Win-Solution---The-Empirical-Evidence-on-School-Vouchers.pdf):

Nineteen empirical studies have examined how vouchers affect outcomes in public schools. Of these studies, 18 find that vouchers improved public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical studies find that vouchers harm public schools.

Every empirical study ever conducted in Milwaukee, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Maine and Vermont finds that voucher programs in those places improved public schools.

Fear Itself
08-31-2011, 10:14 AM
Only if the vouchers pay 100% of the tuition to the school of the parents choice.

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 10:17 AM
The thing about public schools is that they MUST accept just about all students. Even the ones who are disruptive, or who have very expensive requirements. Private schools, on the other hand, can and do expel students who cause any problems. And if Johnny or Suzie need an aide to sign for them because they have hearing difficulties, for instance, the public school system has to pay for that aide.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but that looks to me like an argument for getting as many kids out of public schools and into private schools as possible. Imagine little Billy who is bright and intellectually curious. In a public school, he'll sit in the back of the classroom being ignored while the teacher deals with the head cases and the criminals. But if we gave Billy's parents a voucher, they could send him to a private school where the head cases and the criminals aren't allowed. Then it would be possible for the teacher to actually focus on him, challenge his intellect, and help him learn.

Fear Itself
08-31-2011, 10:18 AM
Yes.

Now how long until this thread devolves into a rich bashing thread? I'll say 17 posts.How long until OMG comes back and eats crow? I'll say never.

tim-n-va
08-31-2011, 10:22 AM
How long until OMG comes back and eats crow? I'll say never.

Do you mean because this quote was in post #15, not #17 as he/she predicted?

Vouchers will exacerbate the Rich-poor gap in America. Good idea? If you think so, you'll love vouchers.

LouisB
08-31-2011, 10:27 AM
Unions? Tenure?nm

Czarcasm
08-31-2011, 10:27 AM
Do you mean because this quote was in post #15, not #17 as he/she predicted?Not exactly a rich bashing post. Just pointing out that the gap will increase.
Unless your "Rich Bashometer" registers any post not directly praising the well-off as a bash, of course.

Jas09
08-31-2011, 10:29 AM
Perhaps I'm missing something, but that looks to me like an argument for getting as many kids out of public schools and into private schools as possible. Imagine little Billy who is bright and intellectually curious. In a public school, he'll sit in the back of the classroom being ignored while the teacher deals with the head cases and the criminals. But if we gave Billy's parents a voucher, they could send him to a private school where the head cases and the criminals aren't allowed. Then it would be possible for the teacher to actually focus on him, challenge his intellect, and help him learn.Absolutely a good deal for Billy.

What do we do about the head case and the criminal? And with the students that remain in the public school with them because their parents don't have the money to augment the voucher and get into Billy's private school?

Either we abandon the whole idea of universal education or the voucher schools have to accept any applicant (and have a lottery for over-subscription) for the cost of the voucher.

jayjay
08-31-2011, 10:41 AM
Perhaps I'm missing something, but that looks to me like an argument for getting as many kids out of public schools and into private schools as possible. Imagine little Billy who is bright and intellectually curious. In a public school, he'll sit in the back of the classroom being ignored while the teacher deals with the head cases and the criminals. But if we gave Billy's parents a voucher, they could send him to a private school where the head cases and the criminals aren't allowed. Then it would be possible for the teacher to actually focus on him, challenge his intellect, and help him learn.

That's great for Billy. What about the "head cases"? The "criminals"? What about the non-headcase and non-criminal student whose parents can't afford the balance of the tuition for a private school after the voucher and are stuck in the old classroom? All of these types are still going to end up in your neighborhood when they're done with school. I'd rather have public schools fully equipped to try to turn the head cases and criminals around before they become crazy and/or dangerous adults, with high-quality teachers trained and motivated to inspire students to make themselves better instead of sinking into the swamp.

Little Nemo
08-31-2011, 11:04 AM
I oppose school vouchers because it's bad economics.

School vouchers are essentially a government welfare program for the middle class. (It's ironic that many of the same people who oppose welfare and government spending in general are also advocates for school vouchers.) If you're going to have any government welfare programs, they should be directed at people who need it, not people for whom they're a convenience.

The key factor is that school vouchers do not cover an entire tuition. They just provide a partial subsidy. So only people who can already afford to pay most of the cost of private schooling are going to get any benefit from a school voucher. And the cost comes from taxation, which is paid by everyone - rich, poor, and middle class. So we have a situation where poor people are helping to fund the private educations of the children of people who have more money than they do. There's a debate about whether or not wealth should be redistributed down the economic pyramid - but I don't think anyone's arguing it should be redistributed upwards.

And once you step out of the theoretical realm and into the real world, you realize that school vouchers have a political agenda. The majority of private schools in the United States are run by religious groups. School vouchers were invented as a means of funneling tax dollars to these conservative religious groups.

kunilou
08-31-2011, 11:05 AM
Around here there've been something like 40 charter schools set up. (A charter school is publicly funded but run privately. The "charter" is held by a college or some other instution that provides oversight.) They're allowed to hire their own teachers, set up their own rules, etc. They follow all sorts of models from strict classical to highly experimental. In short, everything the free choice advocates could ask for. The results have ranged from pretty good to absolutely dismal, and the oversight has generally been lax.

No magic bullet. In fact, if you took all the students and put them on a bell curve, I doubt the results would differ very much from what they were achieving in public schools.

doreen
08-31-2011, 11:18 AM
Perhaps I'm missing something, but that looks to me like an argument for getting as many kids out of public schools and into private schools as possible. Imagine little Billy who is bright and intellectually curious. In a public school, he'll sit in the back of the classroom being ignored while the teacher deals with the head cases and the criminals. But if we gave Billy's parents a voucher, they could send him to a private school where the head cases and the criminals aren't allowed. Then it would be possible for the teacher to actually focus on him, challenge his intellect, and help him learn. That can be done in a public school, although not a public school system.The problem is when people look at the costs of public schools, they don't compare what it costs to educate Billy in a public school vs Billy in a private school. Instead. they take the average cost per pupil for a public school system ( including special education , which can be extremely expensive ) and compare it to a private school's tuition charge ( which is often less than the cost of education ) Vouchers seem to make sense if for example, the average cost per pupil in public school is $15,000 and the voucher will be for $4000. For every Billy who takes a voucher we'll save $11,000. Except that's wrong. For every Billy who leaves we'll save three or four or five thousand dollars or even much less- if one or two kids per grade leaves a school, there will be almost no savings. And there's also the issue of vouchers to children not currently attending public schools- those cost the school system money.We might save $40,000 for each kid with a sign language interpreter who leaves, or $100,000 for each emotionally disturbed kid who leaves - but none of them will leave for a $4000 voucher.

That's leaving aside the issue of how many more students the private schools can accommodate, students , or who would be staffing the private schools that would allegedly pop up after a voucher program is started.


Now if someone were to propose a voucher system that acknowledged that

a Public school systems would still have to provide special education.
b Vouchers will possibly decrease costs slightly when students leave the public schools and will raise costs when given to those students already in private schools
c Private school tuitions will be raised once voucher money is available and many parents won't be able to afford private schools even with a voucher so there will not be huge numbers of children leaving the public schools to go private.
c Current budgets are most likely not enough to pay for special education and vouchers, so taxes would most likely be raised.

I'd be fine with it. Never seen one like that.

strugglingChristian
08-31-2011, 11:25 AM
The reason behind vouchers is that some schools are bad and this is one idea for how to circumvent that right? Well, does it serve its intended purpose? Do the public schools where students get vouchered out improve to attempt to retain students? Do students who get vouchered out improve in national test scores?
I can't be pro or con not knowing all the facts. We've done the voucher experiment so we should have some data.

The goal should be improving public schools. We have a problem, it should be fixed. Why not try different ideas and see which one works best and stick to the one that works?

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 11:34 AM
School vouchers are essentially a government welfare program for the middle class.
This is flat-out wrong. Let me just quote a post from our previous thread on the topic (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=11829075&postcount=13): "Here's a list of voucher programs, and you can click on each one to see the criteria for eligibility. Once you do so, you'll see that most are available only to the poor. The D.C. program was open only to kids in families below the poverty line, the Milwaukee program for families below 175% of the poverty line and so forth. In other states like Florida and Ohio, the vouchers were restricted to kids in failing schools, and needless to say failing schools are almost always in poor areas." Vouchers are not "for the middle class"; they are offered exclusively to the poor.

The key factor is that school vouchers do not cover an entire tuition.
Voucher legislation certainly could be written that provided the full cost, and in many instances it is. The average cost per student in a public school is near $10,000 nationwide (http://www.edweek.org/rc/articles/2009/01/21/sow0121.h27.html), obviously varying considerably from place to place. If we took that $10,000 and offered it as a voucher, poor parents would have access to a variety of private schools even if they couldn't afford to chip in a penny of their own money. In my relatively small county of Culpeper, VA, there are four private elementary schools with tuition lower than that, and plenty of other options in neighboring counties. So with a well-planned voucher program, the poor could, in fact, afford to send their kids to private schools.

Jas09
08-31-2011, 11:40 AM
I think, ITR Champion, that you would find many folks agreeing with the Milwaukee approach (for example). The concern that I, and others, have is how such a program scales up. In the document you linked above, for example, the foundation that wrote the report encourages vouchers to be available for all students not just the poor.

Do you agree with the point that voucher-accepting schools should have to admit kids regardless of their academic ability or potential disabilities (this also appears to have been the case in the Mil. program)?

JohnBckWLD
08-31-2011, 12:44 PM
And if the public school education available in their area was extraordinarily poor in quality?You raze the building and send the students packing. Oh wait, you said public, never mind (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/world/asia/30china.html).

MrDibble
08-31-2011, 12:50 PM
No, the government should not provide money for kids to go to private schools.

Because there should not be any private schools, or home schooling.

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 01:15 PM
That's great for Billy. What about the "head cases"? The "criminals"?
As things stand now, failing inner-city schools give nobody an education: not Billy, not the head cases, and not the criminals. With a working voucher program, Billy would be able to get an education. The head cases and the criminals would still be stuck in the failing public schools. But at least things would be better for Billy. He deserves an education and the current system denies him one. In the long term, though, a voucher program is good for public schooling; I've already linked to a summary of studies documenting this fact.

Do you agree with the point that voucher-accepting schools should have to admit kids regardless of their academic ability or potential disabilities (this also appears to have been the case in the Mil. program)?
No, I can't say that I do. The way I see it, there are some students who are more focused, talented, and devoted to their education than others. Those who honestly care about getting themselves an education should be offered the opportunity to do so, without having to be distracted, mocked, and irritated--and sometimes threatened and attacked--by inferior students. Private schools currently offer this opportunity to good students whose parents are rich or middle class, which means chiefly white students. Public schools, with the exception of a few magnet schools, deny this opportunity to good students whose parents are poor, which means a majority of black and Hispanic students from big cities. I personally do not understand why anyone would want to deny poor, mainly racial minority students the same advantages that we currently give to wealthier, mainly white students.

jayjay
08-31-2011, 01:24 PM
I personally do not understand why anyone would want to deny poor, mainly racial minority students the same advantages that we currently give to wealthier, mainly white students.

What about the disabled? What about those with learning disabilities? What about kids who CAN be good students but whose parents don't care enough to bother with the program? You CAN see that the excellent results that private schools get, in general, are mostly because they don't have to accept all comers, right? You CAN see that giving the money that public schools need to right now to even do the lousy job you say they're doing to private schools is going to gut the public schools, right? Are you prepared to live in a society that warehouses disabled minors in schools that are possibly a step above Bedlam? Because that's what's going to happen if vouchers ever became a nationwide program.

And that's not even going into the issues of separation of church and state or the multitude of scam schools that will spring up to reap the windfall.

ShibbOleth
08-31-2011, 01:27 PM
For those who support school vouchers:

Would you support school vouchers if the parents want to send their child to a Madrasah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah)? Please give your reasoning either way.

gonzomax
08-31-2011, 01:36 PM
The vouchers will not be large enough to pay for a high grade school. They will help defray the costs for people who already send their kids to private schools. But they will not open them up to the undesirables. It will not allow the children of the poor to get a leg up. They still will not be able to afford good schools.

gonzomax
08-31-2011, 02:01 PM
I wonder how many schools will just jack up tuition the amount of the voucher and just grab our tax money? That keep the riff raff out and enriches the private schools.

shiftless
08-31-2011, 02:10 PM
Why should this one area of government spending allow taxpayers to redirect their money? I'm fine with public schools but I'd like the goverment to redirect some money from bombing Iraq to repairing the roads in my area. Can I get a voucher for that? I'm not so keen on goverment bailouts for failing banks. Can I get a voucher for that money to go toward a bank that is actually responsible?

I understand the reasoning that people have to send their kids to school and they don't want them in crappy public schools. Sorry. I have to pay all kinds of taxes to support programs I hate too. It makes no sense to create a new kind of welfare just for private schools.

septimus
08-31-2011, 02:17 PM
The average cost per student in a public school is near $10,000 nationwide (http://www.edweek.org/rc/articles/2009/01/21/sow0121.h27.html), .... If we took that $10,000 and offered it as a voucher, poor parents would have access to a variety of private schools even if they couldn't afford to chip in a penny of their own money.... So with a well-planned voucher program, the poor could, in fact, afford to send their kids to private schools.

As others point out, public school costs are high in part due to mandates (e.g. for students with special needs) that do not apply to private schools. You're now asking public schools to finance such special needs with less money.

Thus I'm afraid that your "well-planned" voucher program is one planned to divert money from taxpayers and students with special needs to a new and untested private-school industry.

magellan01
08-31-2011, 02:24 PM
Here's how I see things. The system we have now is not inherently flawed. It served us well form many, many decades. But it is failing us now. Particularly those students living in poorer communities. It used to be that a poor kids raised in tenement building in Harlem could expect to get an education that would allow him to escape the ghetto. There are millions of examples of this in New York alone. The Italians and Jews who found themselves born into poverty in the first half of the 1900s didn't stay there. They became, managers and foremen, doctors, and lawyers. But for a myriad of reasons, this same system is failing us now. So, let's look for a new one.

Here's what I think would make sense. Every family gets a voucher. All schools must accept vouchers. So the public school that is down the street is still an option. So is the private school across town. Schools can set admissions for these students however they'd like. One school can attempt to attract the best academic students, another the best artsy types, another those who prefer to work with their hands, etc. Now let's say that a kid wants to be a doctor or lawyer, he will, naturally apply to the best academics-geared school that is convenient for him. If he doesn't get in, he looks to the next one, etc. Just like kids look at colleges now. The artsy kids and the more mechanically inclined do the same things with the schools that appeal to them.

So that takes care of the students that are motivated and have an idea of their futures, what of the others? There would still be "general" schools. And within any geographic area there will be more than one that parents can choose to send their kids to. Unlike now. If that school is good, then we've lost nothing. If it's not, some enterprising person will open a competing school dow the street. Just like what happens with restaurants. Schools will be competing for students. Again, unlike now.

Let's simplify this. Let's say we have the exact system we have now, with one change. Every school district has to have two high schools, not just one. No vouchers, just the usual "you live here, your kid goes to the school in your district. But now you have a choice between A & B. Instead of one school housing 1,000 kids, we have two schools each housing 500 kids. Can anyone really argue that both School A and School B wouldn't be better because they have to compete for the same dollars attached to each student?

Lete's look at the less fortunate end of the spectrum. We have a stereotypically poor kid in a bad neighborhood with a bad school. Suddenly, there are options for him. Let's say he's not academically inclined, now he his schools that may men more to him because their focusing on something he likes, art, working on cars, etc. That kid's life just changed. Instead of being in a school that is trying to get everyone they can into college and he is viewed—and views himself—as a failure, a kid on the fringe, he suddenly can go to a school that caters to him. Huge difference.

Also think of his stereotypical single mom. Currently, school is not an area she feels she has an expertise in, and she play no role in it. One reason she is not active is that she views herself as having no power. Enter the voucher. She receives one in the mail and suddenly has something worth $10,000 in her hands. And for the first time she has to decide on how to spend that $10,000. I think this act alone will be a game changer for many. They can choose to show their displeasure with on school by sending their kid to another one the next year. Suddenly, this person is much more involved in her child's education than she ever was.

And the end, that is the key: parental involvement. We can throw all sorts of money at the problem (as we have been doing) and not change squat. I urge all those interested to read Abigail Thernstrom's "No Excuses". She doesn't argue for vouchers for all, but she does identify those things that lead kids and schools to be successful.

kanicbird
08-31-2011, 03:00 PM
Schools seem to become increasingly child factory farms. I think that is hurting us as children grow up to think of themselves with much decreased self worth, just another cog in the wheel, another expense for the system, and another brick in the wall. That mentality persists into adulthood for many IMHO.

The former system, usually called the single room school house, started building child self worth as soon as they are able to help younger children and slowly increases self worth of helping out others, all under the teachers supervision, and thus decreasing the teacher's workload as well, so the student learns to help those less advanced (younger children) and more advanced (teachers) then themselves. This encourages being productive and valued members of society.

This is sadly absent in the current system and only really still exists in some collective home schooling situation.

The value to the children to learn that they are important members of society and to learn not to be a drain but a contributing member is worth offering vouchers, possibly greater then their tax burden to encourage it.

Kearsen
08-31-2011, 03:20 PM
No, it would just result in a lot of government money getting sucked up by scam artists creating useless "instant schools" to suck up the voucher money, a lot of money going to schools that amount to Christan indoctrination centers, and existing private schools to raise their fees by the amount of the voucher. It's just another right wing scheme to destroy the Evil Public Schools, divert government money to the corrupt, and swell their ranks by forcing students into religious & political indoctrination centers.

Is everyone stupid in your eyes ? I see an awful lot of "but i know better than you do" coming from you and people like gonzomax.

The bottom line is this: You don't matter in how I raise my child, If I want to use my school voucher money to send him to some christian/political school.

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-31-2011, 03:22 PM
First, ITR, I'm very skeptical of a link to edchoice that provides a meta-analysis of studies of vouchers. They're an interested party. What are those studies of vouchers: were they conducted by disinterested parties? How were they structured? How large were the voucher programs--were they large enough to have an impact? (I can't answer them myself, because your link appears to be broken when I click on it).

Second, it makes no sense. A school has fixed costs (mowing the yard, heating the building, cafeteria workers, etc.) and per-student costs (pencils, copy paper, textbooks, etc.). Teachers, the biggest cost, are in-between. If you remove that $10,000 for a student, you're partly removing the per-student cost, but you're also removing the fixed costs. The money that remains will need to stretch further to cover the fixed costs. I can model that for you if you need me to, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

Third, the clients for schools are, in order:
-Society, who pays the check.
-Children, who get the learning.
-Parents, who get their kid educated.

Our current system puts the decisionmaking in the hands it belongs in: those of the primary client, society. Society determines what gets taught, when, and how. That's how it should be. Parents are a tertiary client, in this social endeavor, and shouldn't really have the power of decisionmaking. (Note that I'm talking about deciding how to use public funds: if they're using their own money, it's a different transaction).

Fourth, vouchers benefit kids based on parental involvement. The kids who I see who struggle the most are those whose parents struggle the most: struggle with addiction, with poverty, with violence. Those are the kids whose parents won't apply for vouchers (we have to get the social worker to visit their houses to get them to apply for free lunch, ferchrissakes). They're the ones who will be left behind in the schools with ever-dwindling resources; and the gap between the poor and those filthy capitalist pigdog rich* will grow ever greater.

* fanservice for OMG

Fear Itself
08-31-2011, 04:05 PM
The bottom line is this: You don't matter in how I raise my child, If I want to use my school voucher money to send him to some christian/political school.It's not your money. If you take it, there are going to be strings. No one is forcing you to take it.

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 04:22 PM
The vouchers will not be large enough to pay for a high grade school. They will help defray the costs for people who already send their kids to private schools. But they will not open them up to the undesirables. It will not allow the children of the poor to get a leg up. They still will not be able to afford good schools.
Did you read post #36? If so, why are you simply ignoring what we've already established as a fact, namely that voucher programs are available to the poor only?

For those who support school vouchers:

Would you support school vouchers if the parents want to send their child to a Madrasah? Please give your reasoning either way.
Contrary to what some people seem to think, private schools do not exist in a regulatory vacuum. For example, the school that I teach at passes accreditation procedures from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (http://www.vais.org/accred_home.asp) every five years. As far as I am concerned, the regulatory bodies already in place are sufficient to the task of determining which private schools are worthy of funding, and would do the job as consistently for a Madrasah as for any other school.

ITR champion
08-31-2011, 04:50 PM
What about the disabled? What about those with learning disabilities? What about kids who CAN be good students but whose parents don't care enough to bother with the program? You CAN see that the excellent results that private schools get, in general, are mostly because they don't have to accept all comers, right?
I really see nothing of the kind. As I said in this post in a previous thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=11829035&postcount=12):
"They examined achievement test data and concluded that students in Catholic schools learn more than students in public schools. Moreover, Coleman rejected the claim that Catholic school students perform better on achievement tests simply because they are more talented or come from better families. He argued that the achievement differences between public and Catholic school students are, in significant measure, attributable to the different schools they attend."

"Taken as a whole, Coleman's work, and subsequent research by other scholars, indicates that, on average, Catholic high-school students learn more than public-school students of similar backgrounds and ability levels. It was also found that Catholic schooling lowers high-school dropout rates."

Later in the article they also discuss research that specifically looked at minority students in inner-city areas, and showed that Catholic schools outperform public schools in those areas as well.
All of this was from a research report commissioned by the Department of Education, so it can hardly be said to be biased against public schools. The data show that the same group of children, educated in a private school, see better results than in a public school. See also this report (http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/641/Lessons-for-Tennessee-from-Floridas-Education-Revolution.pdf), looking at the results after Florida introduced statewide vouchers in 1998. Student performance soared upwards in numerous categories, with the biggest gains being among the poor, blacks, and Hispanics. I don't see how anyone can look at those results and see them as a bad thing.

You CAN see that giving the money that public schools need to right now to even do the lousy job you say they're doing to private schools is going to gut the public schools, right? Are you prepared to live in a society that warehouses disabled minors in schools that are possibly a step above Bedlam?
We already have a society that does that for millions of children both disabled and not. I want to get as many children as possible out of those schools and into places where they can learn.

And that's not even going into the issues of separation of church and stateI fail to see how there can be any issue of separation of church and state here. Government money goes to religious colleges and universities all the time, so why not elementary and high schools?

gonzomax
08-31-2011, 08:07 PM
Did you read post #36? If so, why are you simply ignoring what we've already established as a fact, namely that voucher programs are available to the poor only?


Contrary to what some people seem to think, private schools do not exist in a regulatory vacuum. For example, the school that I teach at passes accreditation procedures from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (http://www.vais.org/accred_home.asp) every five years. As far as I am concerned, the regulatory bodies already in place are sufficient to the task of determining which private schools are worthy of funding, and would do the job as consistently for a Madrasah as for any other school.

Because that is not where they intend to go. The idea is vouchers for all. Are you suggesting that because in your school district, vouchers are only for poor kids, there fore that is true across the nation and for the future as far as you can see.
The intention is vouchers for all.
Private schools don't have to serve the masses. they can select their students.

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-31-2011, 08:13 PM
I'd be interested in seeing a proposal for ideal vouchers. I'm not comfortable arguing against vouchers across the board, because there could be proposals I'd be fine with. But the ones I've seen have elements I find troubling, as I stated above.

Left Hand of Dorkness
08-31-2011, 08:19 PM
This claim that vouchers somehow hurt public schools by drawing away money comes up many times in every discussion, yet it's flatly untrue. The actual empirical evidence shows that when a voucher program is implemented in a particular area, it leads to improved public schooling in that area. The competition keeps 'em honest. From this report, page 4 (http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/656/A-Win-Win-Solution---The-Empirical-Evidence-on-School-Vouchers.pdf):Okay, tracking down this cite and following the evidence, turns out they're citing another study put forth by their own institute. A review of their study (http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-school-choice-numbers-the-fiscal-effect-school-choice-programs-1990-%E2%80%93-2006) concludes:
Aud’s analysis does confirm an obvious point: if state and local governments subsidize vouchers at a lower rate than public schooling, then, all other things being equal, state and local expenditures will decrease.
So this is important: it only helps local schools if the vouchers are less than the per-pupil cost at public schools. If, as ITR proposes, you take the entire cost out of the public school and put it into a voucher, his cite is totally off-point.

Furthermore:
This review concludes that Aud’s assumption of increased per-pupil spending by school districts might be true, but the assumption of decreased total budget likely is not. Further, even if state and local governments were, in fact, able to reduce instructional expenses by $444 million over 15 years, this was merely a drop in the bucket – she describes a savings of less than 1/100th of one percent of annual public school spending, or about 60 cents per child per year.

Qin Shi Huangdi
08-31-2011, 08:23 PM
Why do you think schools are bad? More importantly, why do you think someone would open a school in a terrible area given all the uncertainties and problems inherent to doing so? The free market doesn't typically bring good supermarkets or good doctors to poor areas, so what makes you think the schools will come just because there is a profit motive?

There is something called the automobile and there is something called the bus.

Then maybe, I don't know, address that problem instead of in effect trying to make it worse by reducing their funding some more ?

Improve the school system; shut down substandard schools and fire substandard teachers. Bus the displaced children to good schools if necessary but don't spend money intended for public education on private schools. That's it in a nut shell: Don't spend money intended for public education on private schools.

Great but that'll require curbing the power of the teacher's unions.



This. The thing about public schools is that they MUST accept just about all students. Even the ones who are disruptive, or who have very expensive requirements. Private schools, on the other hand, can and do expel students who cause any problems. And if Johnny or Suzie need an aide to sign for them because they have hearing difficulties, for instance, the public school system has to pay for that aide.


Erhm...all the public schools do have policies of expulsion.

No, the government should not provide money for kids to go to private schools.

Because there should not be any private schools, or home schooling.

I find this amusing coming from a Tolstoian anarchist.

Dangerosa
08-31-2011, 08:29 PM
Then the first thing you should do is take its funding and give it to nearby private religious schools.

No, wait, that's actually the last thing you should do. :D

Vouchers are an attempt to destroy schools. The only way I'd support them is if:

The money can't go to religious schools.
Schools that accept the money can't turn away students.
Schools must allow students to go for just the price of the voucher.
Schools must obey all normal standards for sciences.
Free abortion on demand for all students.
That last one was just to check if you were reading.


That (minus the last two bullets) would be my requirements as well. As well as "schools must meet the same test standards as public schools," "school fixed cost funding cannot be decremented due to fewer students" (you still need to heat the buildings).

And no vouchers for homeschooling. Those services are already provided through public schools and if you offer vouchers, vouchers.

Kobal2
09-01-2011, 10:53 AM
There is something called the automobile and there is something called the bus.

And there's something called "being dirt fucking poor". Don't you grasp that concept ?

Erhm...all the public schools do have policies of expulsion.

You should watch The Wire in order to get a glimpse at why they're never used, barring someone shooting up the school or something. Statistics and politics are a hell of a thing.

Then again, if public schools could and did expulse more students, that would be shitty too, since for most poor people, it's public school or no school at all - and you don't become a rotten kid who throws books through windows for no reason.

Great but that'll require curbing the power of the teacher's unions.

Why ? Your solution is to pay teachers even less ? Great way to attract talent, that.

Let me tell you a little story of my high school.
I had a physics teacher in what I think would be freshman year for y'all. Coincidentally, this was also the year I decided, for fun, to keep a record of all the stupid or blatantly wrong things teachers said in class in my schedule book. Since we're all human and all make mistakes or have slips of the tongue, most teachers had a few by the end of the year.
That teacher ? She had 12 whole pages, front and back. She was a horrible, horrible teacher who barely understood what she taught, and woe be upon he who tried and asked a question or went outside the boundaries of what she'd prepared for the day. As the rumour went, she "passed" her teaching exam with 4 out of 20 points, which in the American system would be a D- I guess. Now, I have no way to know if this is true really, as there were all sorts of stories that went around about her in the school, both in the classrooms and in the teachers' lounge.
But she still had a job. Know why ?

Because it was her, or nothing. The school's head honcho had no choice but to keep her on staff, at least until someone better came along. For all I know, she's still teaching there.
Nobody wants to be a teacher at the best of times, but when you combine that with constant griping that teachers are all lazy prima donas (hey, they're always on holidays, har dee har !), and salary woes, well, you get shit teachers because the people who would be good teachers do something else, anything. Or if they have some kind of mission about teaching, they get jobs in, yes, private schools. Who often pay better than Union rates, BTW - they're not stupid.
This was in France of course, which just goes to show people are the same cunts all around - we have the exact same problems and the exact same blowhards griping it's all the teachers' fault. Same reason our classrooms now have around 40 students each on average, which is hellacious.

You want a school system that works, you have to pay for it. No free lunches in this world.

UltraVires
09-01-2011, 10:58 AM
Anti-Voucher Politician: But taking money away from these failing inner city school will hurt them!

Me: Good. They are creating a generation of kids that can't read, write, speak, or spell, encourage gang activity and criminal enterprise. They shouldn't be given 1 cent more of taxpayer money. They should be bulldozed and monuments erected on the site dedicated to the principle that we will never make the same mistake and disadvantage children in that way ever again.

Fear Itself
09-01-2011, 11:02 AM
Anti-Voucher Politician: But taking money away from these failing inner city school will hurt them!

Me: Good. They are creating a generation of kids that can't read, write, speak, or spell, encourage gang activity and criminal enterprise. They shouldn't be given 1 cent more of taxpayer money. They should be bulldozed and monuments erected on the site dedicated to the principle that we will never make the same mistake and disadvantage children in that way ever again.And that couldn't possibly have any unintended consequences. :rolleyes:

Left Hand of Dorkness
09-01-2011, 11:03 AM
Why ? Your solution is to pay teachers even less ? Great way to attract talent, that.
I'm very much in favor of a vigorous union. I just want administrators who aren't total wimps, who don't whine, "But it's so HA-A-A-A-A-RD!" when asked to do their jobs and fire incompetent teachers. I no more want incompetent co-workers than anyone else does. If there's an incompetent specialist (e.g., music, PE, etc.) teacher, when I pick my kids up from their class, the kids are wild. An incompetent classroom teacher pushes the whole school's test scores down, and when I get their kids next year, I have to do a lot of catch-up work. Most importantly, won't someone think of the children? This isn't my get-rich-quick profession of choice: I'm here because I think it's damned important, and it's horrible to see a kid with promise go into the classroom of a teacher who isn't going to help that kid achieve her promise.

Don't curb the unions: step up to the unions. Let the unions offer a vigorous defense of every teacher, playing the role of defense attorneys; and make your case better than they make theirs, to fire the bad apples.

And pay teachers better, dammit.

gonzomax
09-01-2011, 11:14 AM
And pay teachers better, dammit.
Wrong time of the year for that. The idea that teachers are underpaid only gets traction during election campaigns. Once elections are over, the energy is all put into demonizing them, cutting their salaries and firing them , while taking their pensions away.

ITR champion
09-01-2011, 11:34 AM
That can be done in a public school, although not a public school system.The problem is when people look at the costs of public schools, they don't compare what it costs to educate Billy in a public school vs Billy in a private school. Instead. they take the average cost per pupil for a public school system ( including special education , which can be extremely expensive ) and compare it to a private school's tuition charge ( which is often less than the cost of education ) Vouchers seem to make sense if for example, the average cost per pupil in public school is $15,000 and the voucher will be for $4000. For every Billy who takes a voucher we'll save $11,000. Except that's wrong. For every Billy who leaves we'll save three or four or five thousand dollars or even much less- if one or two kids per grade leaves a school, there will be almost no savings. And there's also the issue of vouchers to children not currently attending public schools- those cost the school system money.We might save $40,000 for each kid with a sign language interpreter who leaves, or $100,000 for each emotionally disturbed kid who leaves - but none of them will leave for a $4000 voucher.
Well yes, I agree with all of that. Most folks probably aren't aware of it, but the law requires that once a doctor has classified a child as disabled in any sense, the public schools are required to provide anything that the doctor says the child needs, regardless of cost. I would be interested in seeing what percentage of total public education money goes to special needs kids.

If we were to re-orient our education system around the goal of giving all kids a good education rather than merely maintaining the status quo, that's one of the issues we'd have to tackle. There are many others as well: overemphasis on testing, money wasted on administration and bureaucracy, irksome paperwork that takes up so much of teachers' time, and so forth.

A couple years ago, this country had a little debate about health care. Those on the liberal side generally took the need for reform as a given. Our country spends more on health care than any other yet our health care system is terrible in comparison to others; the need for reform was obvious. Why shouldn't the same logic apply to K-12 education? We outspend every other country. Ours kids are stupider than most (http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm). Why is it that on this issue, the same people who support health care reform will resist any attempt to overhaul the system.

Little Nemo
09-01-2011, 12:30 PM
A couple years ago, this country had a little debate about health care. Those on the liberal side generally took the need for reform as a given. Our country spends more on health care than any other yet our health care system is terrible in comparison to others; the need for reform was obvious. Why shouldn't the same logic apply to K-12 education? We outspend every other country. Ours kids are stupider than most. Why is it that on this issue, the same people who support health care reform will resist any attempt to overhaul the system.Opposition to school vouchers is not opposition to reform. School vouchers is a pretty poor means of reform - they don't change anything except to throw more tax dollars at the problem. If public schools have problems we should be fixing those problems, not ignoring them.

Kearsen
09-01-2011, 12:43 PM
It's not your money. If you take it, there are going to be strings. No one is forcing you to take it.

You mean as opposed to my money that currently funds our schools?

Fear Itself
09-01-2011, 01:45 PM
You mean as opposed to my money that currently funds our schools?Emphasis on "our schools" . We spend far too little on this common resource. We need to raise taxes, and spend more on public education. Public education does a far better job of educating more people than private schools can ever hope to. Private schools are by definition exclusionary.

Left Hand of Dorkness
09-01-2011, 02:00 PM
You mean as opposed to my money that currently funds our schools?Your money doesn't fund our schools in the sense that you're saying: once you pay your taxes, the only sense that it's "your money" is the sense that you're a voting member of the republic to which the money not belongs.

Society is the primary client of the school, and society is the primary funder of the school, and and society should therefore make the educational decision. If you want to fund a different school for your own kid, that's awesome, but you need to do that with some money that's still yours, not with the tax dollars society requires from you.

Kearsen
09-01-2011, 02:18 PM
Emphasis on "our schools" . We spend far too little on this common resource. We need to raise taxes, and spend more on public education. Public education does a far better job of educating more people than private schools can ever hope to. Private schools are by definition exclusionary.

They really should make public school much more like private schools since almost all folks are in agreement that private schools actually do a better job "educating"

i.e. bonds are actually voted on by the school district

Kearsen
09-01-2011, 02:20 PM
Your money doesn't fund our schools in the sense that you're saying: once you pay your taxes, the only sense that it's "your money" is the sense that you're a voting member of the republic to which the money not belongs.

Society is the primary client of the school, and society is the primary funder of the school, and and society should therefore make the educational decision. If you want to fund a different school for your own kid, that's awesome, but you need to do that with some money that's still yours, not with the tax dollars society requires from you.

Isn't this basically what people do who homeschool their kids? They are still funding everyone else's schooling, yet they are funding additional resources towards their own children's education. (And seem to do a better job at educating than the public ones)

Left Hand of Dorkness
09-01-2011, 02:39 PM
Isn't this basically what people do who homeschool their kids? They are still funding everyone else's schooling, yet they are funding additional resources towards their own children's education. (And seem to do a better job at educating than the public ones)
Of course it is, and I have no problem with homeschoolers. And if they're doing a worse job of it than a public schoolteacher, they're absolute morons.

Give me a situation where:
-I have very little paperwork
-I have a tiny class size
-I control curriculum and pedagogical methods
-I'm not limited to specific hours of the day
-I have absolute disciplinary authority
-I control my students' schedule 24 hours a day
-I control my students' diet
-I control what my students experience emotionally at home

and I will blow you away with my results. My students will be much closer in academic levels than those in a public school classroom, so there's not as much differentiation necessary; I can differentiate for individuals much more effectively; I can teach wherever is most appropriate; I can leave students alone for a few minutes while I go to the bathroom; I won't have emotionally or physically abused kids coming into my room; I won't have malnourished kids coming into my room; and on and on and on.

If you can afford to homeschool your own kids, by all means do so. I salute you sincerely. Public schools are available because not everyone can afford to do so (or is willing or able to do so for other reasons), and we as a society don't want those kids cleaning chimneys. They're a service to society at large first, to the kids second, and only to the parents third.

Fear Itself
09-01-2011, 02:57 PM
They really should make public school much more like private schools since almost all folks are in agreement that private schools actually do a better job "educating"I'm glad you put "educating" in scare quotes, because private schools do a terrible job educating those students it refuses to admit. You cannot compare their results to public scuools, who do not have the luxury of cherry-picking students that meet their entrance requirements.

Kobal2
09-01-2011, 04:02 PM
Public schools are available because not everyone can afford to do so (or is willing or able to do so for other reasons), and we as a society don't want those kids cleaning chimneys.

Don't forget one essential point of schooling (public or private): socialization. In school you'll meet people richer than you, or poorer than you. In school you'll meet black kids, white kids, yellow kids, brown kids. Girls and boys. Smart guys and dumbasses. In school you'll have to do lots of administrative crap that you'll have to do all over again because form 22A.B got lost by the admin staff. You'll learn that the admin room is only open from 14:00 to 15:30, because fuck you that's why. You'll learn that there are bullies out there and no, nobody but you gives a crap about them. You'll learn that there are suck-ups and that yes, more often than not they do get favoured, despicable as they are. You'll learn that people are mean, dirty, violent selfish jerks - but that some of them are a'ight.
You'll also pick up lots of great musical tips, lots of bad fashion ones, and probably learn how to break copyright so hard it'll run to its mommy crying. And if you're very, very lucky, you might get to sniff a pair of panties or two along the way.

I'd like to see a Mommy homeschooling little Timmy on all this.
In my (admittedly limited) experience, little homeschooled Timmy comes into the adult world thinking he's a very special snowflake and with exactly zero experience on how to deal with other people. More often than not, that makes him a total douche, but by then of course it's too late for him to learn all of this.

UltraVires
09-01-2011, 06:17 PM
And that couldn't possibly have any unintended consequences. :rolleyes:

Worse consequences than actually increasing funding for these schools which look like they came straight off of the set of the movie Escape From New York?

The teachers and administrators have proven that they can't even control the students at the school. That isn't a problem of funding.

We our going to pour more money down the rat hole and not give the kids in those schools, who do want to learn, the opportunity to get the hell out? Imagine what you are saying. We have mandatory education. You are mandating, by force of law, that parents must send their kids (if they can't afford private school or home schooling) into New Jack City every day to be exposed to the wonderful cultural influences of drugs and violence. To me that is just dressed up child abuse not only sanctioned, but mandated by the state.

Fear Itself
09-01-2011, 06:21 PM
Worse consequences than actually increasing funding for these schools which look like they came straight off of the set of the movie Escape From New York?You can't imagine anything worse than that? Not an entire underclass of completely uneducated, poor young men, in the prime of their strength, with no jobs and no prospects? And worst thing you can think of is wasting your taxes?

You have led a sheltered life.

Farmer Jane
09-01-2011, 06:25 PM
No. No. No.

Disclosure: I went to a private school K-7 and my son is in one now. I teach with a private company for public schools (they kick their kids out and pay us to educate them).

Farmer Jane
09-01-2011, 06:28 PM
In school you'll meet black kids, white kids, yellow kids, brown kids.


I agree that socialization is wonderful for children (or can be...) but I have a tiny nitpick: Public schools today are still heavily segregated thanks to white flight, school choice and vouchers. For some of my students, the only white people they see are their teachers.

Kobal2
09-01-2011, 07:45 PM
I agree that socialization is wonderful for children (or can be...) but I have a tiny nitpick: Public schools today are still heavily segregated thanks to white flight, school choice and vouchers. For some of my students, the only white people they see are their teachers.

What ?! NO ! Didn't I make that part clear ? Socialization is a horrible, horrible thing. Socialization sucks hairy donkey balls. But it is necessary, so, y'know, whatever, deal with it, son :D

As for your actual point, I agree - it's not ideal. I myself went to a somewhat privileged school (my parents actually pulled some shady tricks to go around districting rules, including making me enlist for god damned Latin... ) and there were very few "coloured" children among us. Maybe a couple per classroom, tops - I reckon the school board tried to spread 'em around, which is at the same time a good and a bad thing.

Still, the odds of meeting the Other are markedly better in a school (be it public or private) than they are in one's living room, wouldn't you agree ?

Drum God
09-01-2011, 11:02 PM
This conversation is very nice, but it totally misses the point. Vouchers have nothing to do with school reform. They are simply a way to funnel public money into private coffers.

Here's a radical thought: If you want better public schools, then devote resources toward improving them. Diverting resources is not the way to improve schools.

The teachers and administrators have proven that they can't even control the students at the school. That isn't a problem of funding.

The hell it isn't. It certainly is a problem of funding. Of course the teachers and administrators can control the students at the school. Make it a 1:1 ratio and you'll have control oozing out that school's pores. Buuuuuuut, we don't want to devote the resources that 1:1 would cost. (I'm not saying that 1:1 would be the only way to effect improvement in the "control". It's probably not even the best way. But it would be an effective, albeit expensive, way.)

While we're talking cost, let's also talk about salary. I have a M.Ed. and work in a public school in Texas. I make $57000 per year (SY2011-12). I do a good job. I want to be a school band director, regardless of the salary. However, suppose that salary were doubled to $114000. Do you suppose that might make a difference in who applies for my job? Do you suppose that more young people might study music education in college if they thought they would have a six-figure income when they leave school?

Let's double it again. Now, the salary is $228000 per year. Are we making a difference yet? Do you think the communities expectations might be different? Do you think my expectations would be different?

Hell yes it's a problem of funding. Tell you what: If you or a loved one needs brain surgery, take him/her to the surgeon who makes $57000 per year. Does money make a difference? You bet your ass it does!

Look, I love being a school band director, even at $57000 per year. I truly do love what I do and I'm good at it. I am also realistic enough to know that if this were a six-figure job, my investment in preparing for it would have had to be different. My undergrad GPA in my major was only a 3.0. If I knew I was going into a highly competitive, six-figure career, I might have pushed harder for a 4.0, or I would have found a major in which I could have more easily reach a 4.0.

So, in conclusion, if you want better schools, invest in them. Schools are expensive. I mean, they are EXPENSIVE!!! A proper education for the masses (and all their foibles) costs far more than we are spending. If we want to properly educate everyone, in every neighborhood, it will cost LOTS of money. I cannot stress that enough. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of money. Tons. Unless we want to start devoting Department of Defense levels of money at schools, stuff like vouchers and union bashing and whatever other crap we can come up with is just so much smokescreen.

Farmer Jane
09-01-2011, 11:49 PM
Schools seem to become increasingly child factory farms. I think that is hurting us as children grow up to think of themselves with much decreased self worth, just another cog in the wheel, another expense for the system, and another brick in the wall. That mentality persists into adulthood for many IMHO.

The former system, usually called the single room school house, started building child self worth as soon as they are able to help younger children and slowly increases self worth of helping out others, all under the teachers supervision, and thus decreasing the teacher's workload as well, so the student learns to help those less advanced (younger children) and more advanced (teachers) then themselves. This encourages being productive and valued members of society.

This is sadly absent in the current system and only really still exists in some collective home schooling situation.

The value to the children to learn that they are important members of society and to learn not to be a drain but a contributing member is worth offering vouchers, possibly greater then their tax burden to encourage it.


Are these the same one room schoolhouses where kids were whacked for misbehaving or messing up their times tables?

Farmer Jane
09-01-2011, 11:53 PM
What ?! NO ! Didn't I make that part clear ? Socialization is a horrible, horrible thing. Socialization sucks hairy donkey balls. But it is necessary, so, y'know, whatever, deal with it, son :D

As for your actual point, I agree - it's not ideal. I myself went to a somewhat privileged school (my parents actually pulled some shady tricks to go around districting rules, including making me enlist for god damned Latin... ) and there were very few "coloured" children among us. Maybe a couple per classroom, tops - I reckon the school board tried to spread 'em around, which is at the same time a good and a bad thing.

Still, the odds of meeting the Other are markedly better in a school (be it public or private) than they are in one's living room, wouldn't you agree ?

I donno. I think it depends where you live. My son goes to a Jewish day school and I guess there are 'white' folks there, but I live in Denver and he thinks you can be a Mexican if you don't wear sunscreen in the summertime. His favorite restaurant is a Moroccan one and his best friend is Chicano and his step-grandmother is Chinese. He definitely interacts with more "Others" than I did at that age. I think it's because of our lifestyle and the city we live in. BUT I've also seen brand new teachers say, "I've never seen this many Mexicans in a room before..." when talking about their new classrooms...nevermind that Denver is like half Latino.

I also feel like parents who homeschool may be more inclined to have ethno-centric lifestyles anyway, either by choice or geography. Not sure.

etv78
09-02-2011, 02:02 AM
Schools seem to become increasingly child factory farms. I think that is hurting us as children grow up to think of themselves with much decreased self worth, just another cog in the wheel, another expense for the system, and another brick in the wall. That mentality persists into adulthood for many IMHO.

The former system, usually called the single room school house, started building child self worth as soon as they are able to help younger children and slowly increases self worth of helping out others, all under the teachers supervision, and thus decreasing the teacher's workload as well, so the student learns to help those less advanced (younger children) and more advanced (teachers) then themselves. This encourages being productive and valued members of society.

This is sadly absent in the current system and only really still exists in some collective home schooling situation.

The value to the children to learn that they are important members of society and to learn not to be a drain but a contributing member is worth offering vouchers, possibly greater then their tax burden to encourage it.

I'm unclear how what I bolded is a bad thing. We are educating our children to be 9-5 M-F working members of society, that means they have, you know, create something of value. Many, if not most, will avoid the literal assembly line jobs, but that doesn't mean they won't be in a workplace with alot of people with similiar job titles and duties, and we must prepare them for this reality.

UltraVires
09-02-2011, 06:53 AM
You can't imagine anything worse than that? Not an entire underclass of completely uneducated, poor young men, in the prime of their strength, with no jobs and no prospects? And worst thing you can think of is wasting your taxes?


Do you mean something different than the entire underclass of poor, young men with no jobs and no prospects that we currently have now?

At a minimum, the public schools have failed them. At worse, they have encouraged it. Why not give the kids that want to learn a chance to learn?

Even if we protect the sanctity of public funding in education, why not at least let them choose a different school in the district?

Fear Itself
09-02-2011, 07:42 AM
Do you mean something different than the entire underclass of poor, young men with no jobs and no prospects that we currently have now?Yes, I do. If you just slam the doors on all inner city schools, what we have now will seem like a church ice cream social. If you think it can't get any worse, you are well and truly uninformed.

Gedd
09-02-2011, 09:17 AM
The teachers and administrators have proven that they can't even control the students at the school. That isn't a problem of funding.
(I agree; it's mostly a problem of the parents).

I'm willing to bet the three major reasons students using vouchers do better are:
1. Private schools pick their students
2. Private schools have a better teacher to student ratio
3. Parents with vouchers are involved in their kid's education (The big one).

According to the National Education Association (http://www.nea.org/tools/17360.htm), parental involvement "raises students' grades and test scores, promotes better attendance, increases social skills and promotes better behavior.” If you have a school with low test scores and let the parents who are concerned about that put their kids in a different school two things will happen. First, the school will get less funding since it has fewer students. Second, the scores will just go lower because a good chunk of the kids that left were in the top half of the student body.

Repeat next year when the school ratings come out and parents with kids in that school are offered vouchers. In these cases vouchers aren’t a solution; you’re just putting more water in the bucket instead of fixing the hole.

Kearsen
09-02-2011, 11:33 AM
Of course it is, and I have no problem with homeschoolers. And if they're doing a worse job of it than a public schoolteacher, they're absolute morons.

Give me a situation where:
-I have very little paperwork
-I have a tiny class size
-I control curriculum and pedagogical methods
-I'm not limited to specific hours of the day
-I have absolute disciplinary authority
-I control my students' schedule 24 hours a day
-I control my students' diet
-I control what my students experience emotionally at home

and I will blow you away with my results. My students will be much closer in academic levels than those in a public school classroom, so there's not as much differentiation necessary; I can differentiate for individuals much more effectively; I can teach wherever is most appropriate; I can leave students alone for a few minutes while I go to the bathroom; I won't have emotionally or physically abused kids coming into my room; I won't have malnourished kids coming into my room; and on and on and on.

If you can afford to homeschool your own kids, by all means do so. I salute you sincerely. Public schools are available because not everyone can afford to do so (or is willing or able to do so for other reasons), and we as a society don't want those kids cleaning chimneys. They're a service to society at large first, to the kids second, and only to the parents third.

I'd like to supply a point for each of your bullets but suffice it to say, schools used to have all of those things with exception to only 2. Everything else points to a failing ideology of the government (over the course of decades)

Kearsen
09-02-2011, 11:41 AM
Too late for edit:

Look I like vouchers, they would be a good solution for me but my kids are currently in a great public school. If they were not I'd want them to be in some private school (at least partially funded) by school vouchers. But it is all going to depend on the kid. I agree that parents need to be more active in the day to day life of their kids but guess what? Some parent's don't, and no matter what you offer them or do for them ever will, give 2 shits about little Johnny. What we as a society needs to realize is that we can't save everyone from themselves. If proposing solutions that will better a good portion of 'those left behind' is wrong then consider me the devil.
Some kids or going to be janitors (the probability is high that their parent's didn't take a very active role in their schooling)
Continued government intrusion to 'make things better', in respect to schools at least, has made significant negative impact in how to go about helping everyone. Currently the trend is to hurt those in the upper category cause "hey, they will make it alright anyway"

I am open for more ideas that are better suited to encompass more children, I don't think anyone believes that people are out to get kids. I will be proven wrong on this point I'm sure in a few posts

Left Hand of Dorkness
09-02-2011, 12:15 PM
Some kids or going to be janitors (the probability is high that their parent's didn't take a very active role in their schooling)
No shame in being a janitor; frankly, the kids that are going to be janitors aren't the ones that worry me nearly as much as the ones who are going to get pregnant at fourteen or the ones who don't think school matters because they plan to sell guns, just like their daddy (who doesn't exactly run a hunting supplies store). The question isn't whether we save people from themselves: again, that mistakenly treats the parent like the client. The secondary client is the child, and there the question is whether we save children from their parents. But the primary client is society, and there the question is whether we save society from future adults who are in worse shape than they otherwise could be.

There are certainly things we can do to make public schools better. But if it's public funds, the reforms we should do should be decided by the public, not by individual parents.

Kearsen
09-02-2011, 12:20 PM
No shame in being a janitor; frankly, the kids that are going to be janitors aren't the ones that worry me nearly as much as the ones who are going to get pregnant at fourteen or the ones who don't think school matters because they plan to sell guns, just like their daddy (who doesn't exactly run a hunting supplies store). The question isn't whether we save people from themselves: again, that mistakenly treats the parent like the client. The secondary client is the child, and there the question is whether we save children from their parents. But the primary client is society, and there the question is whether we save society from future adults who are in worse shape than they otherwise could be.

There are certainly things we can do to make public schools better. But if it's public funds, the reforms we should do should be decided by the public, not by individual parents.

I agree with most of that. What happens if society decides to release vouchers? :)

Clothahump
09-02-2011, 12:30 PM
Imagine little Billy who is bright and intellectually curious. In a public school, he'll sit in the back of the classroom being ignored while the teacher deals with the head cases and the criminals. But if we gave Billy's parents a voucher, they could send him to a private school where the head cases and the criminals aren't allowed. Then it would be possible for the teacher to actually focus on him, challenge his intellect, and help him learn.

This.

I was little Billy growing up. It is not bragging to state that I was significantly smarter than the mouthbreathing retards that I went to public school with in grades 2-6 (I skipped 1). What did I learn?

1. I was going to be bored out of my ass when I went to school. I would have to listen to the teacher explain things 3, 4, 5, 10 times to the mouthbreathers. Sheesh.

2. I was going to get my ass kicked by the mouthbreathers because I knew the answer when called on and therefore made them look stupid. And they sure as hell didn't want to hear me point out that they made themselves look stupid.

When my parents sent me to a private school, it was great in terms of the academics. However, by that time, I had learned lousy study skills. In addition, I didn't fit in with the other kids' cliques, so I was the outsider. Different set of issues. However, when I finally graduated from high school, I pretty much skated the first year of college on advanced placement credits. If I had stayed in public school, I doubt I would have even been accepted to a college.

I am not a fan of government education. If it were up to me, I'd start again from scratch and boil it down to small home-school groups, where a couple of families get together and pool resources to teach their kids.

Left Hand of Dorkness
09-02-2011, 01:59 PM
1. I was going to be bored out of my ass when I went to school. I would have to listen to the teacher explain things 3, 4, 5, 10 times to the mouthbreathers. Sheesh.
Definitely this is a problem; I agree. There's a place for heterogeneous grouping, but I think the pendulum has swung too far in that direction. Kids who will get things the first time need the opportunity not to have to hear them the tenth time. It drives me crazy watching the quicker kids get bored as I patiently explain yet again how to use the tens place in addition.

2. I was going to get my ass kicked by the mouthbreathers because I knew the answer when called on and therefore made them look stupid. And they sure as hell didn't want to hear me point out that they made themselves look stupid.
The school should have stopped the violence, sure--but perhaps a different kid would have learned how to be smart tactfully and without insulting other people.
When my parents sent me to a private school, it was great in terms of the academics. However, by that time, I had learned lousy study skills.
Again, this is a school's failure. I have more than once reduced a smart kid to tears because I expect them to work in my class. They may not skate by on brains alone: I make them set challenges for themselves. It's very common for smart kids to say, "Well, I can do 95% of the work effortlessly, and 95% is good enough for the grade, so the 5% that's hard for me I can safely ignore." I insist that the 5% that's hard is exactly the 5% that's most important for them to work on: why work on stuff that's easy for you already? In theory they accept that message, but in practice it can be very difficult for the smart kids to do.

In any case, while it's nice to imagine how great parents would be if schooling were turned into co-ops, what outcome would you predict for a kid whose mom is addicted to meth and whose dad is in and out of prison? Are you okay with that kid being totally screwed by his parents' choices, or do you have some other thoughts about how it would work?

Kevbo
09-02-2011, 03:49 PM
... And if you're very, very lucky, you might get to sniff a pair of panties or two along the way.

I'd like to see a Mommy homeschooling little Timmy on all this....

I'm pretty sure there are websites where you can.

suranyi
09-02-2011, 05:48 PM
Don't forget one essential point of schooling (public or private): socialization. In school you'll meet people richer than you, or poorer than you. In school you'll meet black kids, white kids, yellow kids, brown kids. Girls and boys. Smart guys and dumbasses. In school you'll have to do lots of administrative crap that you'll have to do all over again because form 22A.B got lost by the admin staff. You'll learn that the admin room is only open from 14:00 to 15:30, because fuck you that's why. You'll learn that there are bullies out there and no, nobody but you gives a crap about them. You'll learn that there are suck-ups and that yes, more often than not they do get favoured, despicable as they are. You'll learn that people are mean, dirty, violent selfish jerks - but that some of them are a'ight.
You'll also pick up lots of great musical tips, lots of bad fashion ones, and probably learn how to break copyright so hard it'll run to its mommy crying. And if you're very, very lucky, you might get to sniff a pair of panties or two along the way.

I'd like to see a Mommy homeschooling little Timmy on all this.
In my (admittedly limited) experience, little homeschooled Timmy comes into the adult world thinking he's a very special snowflake and with exactly zero experience on how to deal with other people. More often than not, that makes him a total douche, but by then of course it's too late for him to learn all of this.

This is a bit of a highjack, I know:

It all depends. My niece was homeschooled, and she turned out fine. She socializes easily and has plenty of friends. At 17 she's just started taking classes in college (math and history, so far) and is doing very well. She's also started a business on the side.

The thing is, she was homeschooled, but not isolated. All her life she was socializing with tons of people from the surrounding community, which is very diverse. And not in the least bit religious, by the way.

I do want to point out one thing that really bugs me: It isn't necessary to teach kids that there are bullies out there. I was bullied when I was in school and I do not consider it as having had any value whatsoever. In my adult life there has never been a single occasion in which I have been bullied, certainly not in the same way I was as a child. I could have lived without that experience as a child.

AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet
09-03-2011, 02:32 AM
What about the disabled? What about those with learning disabilities? What about kids who CAN be good students but whose parents don't care enough to bother with the program? You CAN see that the excellent results that private schools get, in general, are mostly because they don't have to accept all comers, right? You CAN see that giving the money that public schools need to right now to even do the lousy job you say they're doing to private schools is going to gut the public schools, right? Are you prepared to live in a society that warehouses disabled minors in schools that are possibly a step above Bedlam? Because that's what's going to happen if vouchers ever became a nationwide program.

And that's not even going into the issues of separation of church and state or the multitude of scam schools that will spring up to reap the windfall.

jayjay, there are Schools for the Deaf and Blind, for sensory disabled kids you know. It's just that they're not used a lot b/c mainstream school districts use deaf adn hard of hearing, and blind/low vision kids as cash cows. They can LEGALLY give kids a minimal accomodnations education, (ie fifteen minutes of Braille/ASL) and still be said to be legally within the law of giving kids a free and appropreate education. On the other hand, most sped kids are LD kids (and a lot of THOSE kids are kids who are only in sped b/c someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to put them there) Sigh.............sped is so screwed up.

Ca3799
09-03-2011, 10:11 AM
I'm not impressed with what I often see regarding vouchers. Too often, I am reading stories about how the administrators are using the money to shop at Victoria's Secret or whatever. In my state the big supporters of voucher systems seem to also be heavily involved in "culture war", religious-right issues which makes me think they are more interested in ideology than education.
We have a pretty big public school system in place already. If some of the schools are not doing a good job, it's seems to be a better plan to improve them, not fracture them into smaller, more educationally diverse pieces.

LouisB
09-03-2011, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by Qin Shi Handgie:
Great but that'll require curbing the power of the teacher's unions.

So, if it requires re-negotiating union contracts to include some clause to dump sub-standard teachers, do it.

UltraVires
09-03-2011, 04:04 PM
Yes, I do. If you just slam the doors on all inner city schools, what we have now will seem like a church ice cream social. If you think it can't get any worse, you are well and truly uninformed.

How would it be worse? Let the kids who want to learn transfer to other schools in the district. I would pay my hard-earned tax money for that.

Then, the inner city school teachers and administrators can continue to allow their facility to be drug distribution centers and pretend that they are trying to do something productive.

But, in fairness, since they will have less students, they will get less taxpayer money to facilitate the distribution of drugs in the inner cities. I know that you see this as a negative, but with the deficit and everything, perhaps pretend schools where kids are pretend educated are in line for cuts.

But still, liberals will still have their masturbatory fantasy that something good could possibly happen in run down, shithole, decrepit inner-city slum schools with graffiti on them and razor wire around them. Win-win?

gonzomax
09-03-2011, 05:16 PM
I wish the schools problems were simple to evaluate. I went to Detroit public schools long ago. We had slow, average and fast student classes. You were evaluated and put into a fast program if you qualified. We had French. Spanish, Russian and Latin available. There were music classes and shop classes. All sports were available.
If a student had no interest in pursuing college ,there was Wilbur Wright which offered shop and technical training for those who were after machinist or manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships.
Our schools competed evenly with the best private schools and were ahead of the Catholic schools then.
Something has gone wrong, but blaming the teachers is weak. There is a hell of a lot more wrong than that.
I suppose drugs and decaying neighborhoods are huge factors. But we can not fix the neighborhoods or make drugs go away. We are unable to make schools safe anymore let alone a comfortable place to learn.
There were union teachers doing their jobs back then , just like now.