How can anyone oppose this Washington D.C. voucher plan?

In his fiscal 2004 budget proposal, President Bush allocates a portion of the $756 million for school choice programs to a pilot school voucher plan for the District. It seems impossible to find fault with it.[ul][]It will allow a certain number of students to escape the horrible D.C. school system and get a better education.[]It will serve as an experiment that can help us better understand the pro’s and con’s of vouchers and how to make them more effective. It’s funded by extra money (I think).[/ul]I understand that school choice is opposed by the teachers’ union, so there are political reasons to oppose this program. But, are there any policy reasons to oppose this program?

Cite for the OP is http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42592-2003Feb21.html

Usually, the reason school voucher plans are oposed is not because anyone is against “choice” as this guy says in his article, but because the vouchers arent enough to give anyone a choice. They arent enough to send your kid to private school if your poor, so only the rich who already send their kid to private school gets a voucher. So now, the school has the same number of students, but less money to teach them with. The rich get more money, and the poor get screwed again.

since this article doesnt say how much they are willing to pay in the vouchers, and how much the local private school tuition is, we dont have enough info here…But I suspect what I stated above is the case.

That sounds about right, but I do not have very much in depth knowledge on this subject.

“They arent enough to send your kid to private school if your poor, so only the rich who already send their kid to private school gets a voucher”
I wouldn’t support any voucher plan of this kind but I think that opposition to vouchers goes beyond practical issues of this kind especially from teachers’ union types.

I support vouchers in principle because I don’t think the government should be in the business of running schools though it should ensure that everyone has the financial means to get a decent education. Secondly I think that competition , as a rule , is beneficial to improving efficiency and there seems to be too little of it in public education.

However in practice I would need to look at the different voucher schemes more closely than I have to decide whether they would be good policy. I get the impression that some voucher supporter see them as a means of reducing total public spending on education which I don’t support.

[QUOTE]
Originally posted by december *
**In his fiscal 2004 budget proposal, President Bush allocates a portion of the $756 million for school choice programs to a pilot school voucher plan for the District. It seems impossible to find fault with it.[ul][li]It will allow a certain number of students to escape the horrible D.C. school system and get a better education.[
]It will serve as an experiment that can help us better understand the pro’s and con’s of vouchers and how to make them more effective. It’s funded by extra money (I think).[/ul]I understand that school choice is opposed by the teachers’ union, so there are political reasons to oppose this program. But, are there any policy reasons to oppose this program? **[/li][/QUOTE]

Here’s a reason. Use the money that he’s going to give to private schools that don’t need it to the public schools that do.

Teachers unions have members in the private schools too. The teachers union angle is just a smoke screen.

I would be for vouchers if they would require any private school to admit a student for the price of the voucher, but that aint gonna happen…

Hell no. Don’t give more money to public school systems until the systems are fixed, and throwing money at it won’t fix it. Otherwise, school districts like Los Angeles Unified will utterly waste the money on teacher raises, new comfy high tech district headquarters, and poorly planned out school construction programs.

Los Angeles has one of the worst school districts in the nation, and it’s not because of lack of funding. It’s lack of efficiency, and the widespread corruption and laziness on the part of district managers. They have literally wasted billions of dollars that was supposed to go to school programs, repairing schools damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, but didn’t.

My experience as a community college student in LA district has left me cynical and bitter about public education in California. Not to mention that Gray Davis in his infinite wisdom is cutting funding by a huge amount for California community colleges, yet increasing the funding for UC and Cal State campuses, so it’s not like “helping rich students” is not only limited to Republicans in office. :rolleyes:

Restructure the public schools, or give people a better chance to get a real education. Otherwise, idiotic school officials will continue to flounder and waste moneys given to them, at the expense of proper education for students.

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate founder of the Friedman Foundation, is credited with coming up with the concept of school vouchers. Friedman’s position is that vouchers should be adequate.

Still, it’s one thing to comsider a program not fully adequate; it’s another thing to oppose it. ISTM if one supports the concept, one ought to support an inadequate program as a step in the right direction.

I seem to be the only one that feels this way but vouchers smell of creating a way to segregate (except poor whites); and to promote and finance religious schools. Not only doesn’t anyone want to admit it, but nobody is supposed to even mention it.

[ul]:eek: [sup]My conservative image will never recover from that statement![/sup][/ul]

—ISTM if one supports the concept, one ought to support an inadequate program as a step in the right direction.—

Sure: that makes sense. Ready to join my unassisted human flight project? Just jump off this here cliff: I assure you we’ll find out how to make the program work before you hit the ground.

In other words, no. Sometimes an inadequate program is far far worse than the status quo.

That said, I’m for a national system of vouchers (though I can’t see that this system is a particularly serious effort, but then, it’s “impossible to find fault with” it)

The Washington D.C. school system is about 96% minority. So, it’s already segregated. I don’t know the breakdown of the available private schools. Bush’s plan would allow some of these students to attend private schools. This would seem to tend toward greater racial integration in some of the area’s private schools.

I do agree that a substantial majority of voucher recients would probably attend parochial schools. I have no problem with that, as long as they get a good education.

I hear this all the time, but I don’t buy it. Yes, money could be spent more effectively and should be before more is allocated, but this is usually just an excuse to keep from providing more money for schools.

Teacher raises, by the way, are a fantastic way to spent education funds. Teachers don’t make nearly enough for what they do. If we ever want to get good or qualified people and hold them accountable for their results, we’re going to have to pay them a lot more than we do now.

The problem is that that flaw compromises the whole system. If anyone can use a voucher for any private school, then it applies equally; if the parents still have to come up with several thousand dollars for the kid to attend the private school, you’re just siphoning off money, good students, and interested parents, leaving everyone else to suffer.

The private schools, IMO, will fight tooth and nail against having to accept the voucher as the full cost. Private schools are not magically better just because they’re private; they’re better because they attract better students with more interested parents and they can expel (or just not re-admit) students who drag that down. They want parents to have to come up with part of the cost, so they’ll take it more seriously.

Believe me, you’re not the only one.

What the author of the Post article and the proponents of vouchers avoid addressing is that disparities in the quality of schools have a lot to do with methods of funding. If property tax monies were spread out evenly between schools instead of disproportionately benefiting wealthier districts, some of those differences in student performance would vanish.

What we will get with vouchers and “school choice” (a coy term useful in slamming opponents who are pro-abortion rights), is a new entitlement program (aren’t you typically against those, december?). The public schools, with all their faults and administrative waste, will continue to get a big chunk of tax money, while vouchers will draw more and more in public funds as their popularity increases and parents complain that the available dough isn’t enough to send little LaShawn to the Church Of The Apocalyptic Truth Day School.
People without kids and (ahem) the elderly will now be double taxed to support schools, through traditional programs and vouchers.

The world is turned upside down when conservatives argue that “choice” means “vast new government spending program”.

No doubt there is some truth to this. However, the Washington D.C. school system happens to have high per-student funding, and it still stinks.

That’s an interesting point, which I haven’t seen before. You might be right. Ideally, the funding would be split between public schools and vouchers in proportion to the number of students. But, in reality it might work out as double payments.

Another cost factor if vouchers become widely used: Parents who would have sent their children to private or parochial schools anyhow would receive public money for part or all of the tuition. This will cost the government new money, although it’s arguably more fair.

In Milton Friedman’s opinion (and mine), these possible flaws are secondary to the virtues of bringing competition into the field of ElHi education.

It would be very interesting to see what per-pupil expenses the private D.C.-area schools that would benefit from a voucher program have, especially if they are required to serve the types of students and provide the programs that the public system must.

There’s evidence that private schools are not such a bargain.

People who back vouchers apparently believe that public school spending will decrease proportionately as the amount spent in private schools increases. Unfortunately, I believe this type of thinking is as delusional as that which foresaw the “withering away” of the state apparatus under Communism. The public school system will continue to suck up tax money while ever-increasing dollars must be raised to fund vouchers.

Milton Friedman probably can afford the tax hikes without difficulty, which is more than some of us can say.

So Johnson’s Great Society was a really good idea? I recall that most of the programs (however extravagantly funded) were never funded to the support level that the people who conceived of them had planned.

They sure should be, but they never are. And I think that is the whole point.

It is my opinion that racism is at the core of the vouchers movement. I cannot prove this, but I believe it. It is an attempt to allow the folks of white kids to move them away from those awful black and hispanic kids that have ruined the public school system. So the white kids wil go to better schools with tax dollars while the black and hispanic kids (whose folks will not be able to make up the difference between the voucher and the actual tuition cost) will go the ‘public’ schools that will continue to crumble. And the ‘private’ schools will look like a great idea, largley because they will be able to screen out students who may adversley affect their numbers.

December, you said it yourself. Some kids will be able to go to better schools. Most will not. Who do you think will get the benefit?

Extra money coming from the U.S. taxpayers. I’m not willing, as a Floridian, to subsidize some middle-class urban Districtite’s schooling.

ESPECIALLY since this would probably not be the way this program would actually be implemented. If it were actually going to be additional funding, that would be another story.

Oddly enough, while I am basically against vouchers, I would be more for this program if it DIDNT come out of extra money, and the school system lost the voucher money. After all, this could be valuable as a case study whereas the above would not.

It’s the exact opposite. The beneficiaries of vouchers in Washington D.C. will be almost all minorities, because the school system is 96% minorities. The beneficiaries of the programs in Cleveland and Milwaukee were mostly minorities. These two voucher programs were promoted by black political leaders to benefit people in their neighborhoods.

I will not accuse voucher opponents of racism, but they sure seem oblivious to the horrible education provided to many inner city kids. The argument about vouchers only helping some kids could equally well apply to most social programs. E.g., affirmative action and college scholarships only help some kids. Isn’t it better to help some kids than to help nobody?