Romney's voucher system for schools

Do you think this is just another way to keep the rich rich and the poor poor? What do you think is good/bad about this plan? What is a better solution?

Federal government’s involvement in education is unconstitutional, whether through public schools or through vouchers.

And I’m sure you’ve got the SCOTUS cites to back that up, right?

I’ve got the Constitution cite to back that up.

And we should accept your interpretation of what the Constitution says over that of SCOTUS because…?

So cite it.

Article 1, Section 8. Dealing with education is not one of the enumerated powers of the federal government. 10th Amendment: thus it is left to the states.

Can we stay on topic please?

On topic: I have some questions, because I’m not entirely sure I understand what the voucher program is all about.

Is the crux of the buiscuit that public money will be pooled so that any kid can to any school? How does that not just make every school a public school? And if that public money is available to a kid who wants to go to a private Catholic school, is that on the table as well? If so, how is it constitutional that my tax money would go toward providing religious education to someone?

Do we really want capitalism, or “marketplace dynamics,” driving educational standards-- where only a privileged few succeed?

I have no clue, but I know who does. That is, to answer the question of why an individual’s unsupported claim of constitutional interpretation should be given more weight than an actual SCOTUS decision can be answered by The Tao’s Revenge in this series of posts, insisting that the voter ID laws represent a poll tax even though he was reminded of Crawford v. Marion County. His explanation: “If one boxer knees the other in the testicles in a Queensberry rule match, does that cease to be a below the belt foul if the ref doesn’t call it?”

In my view, that argument is absurd, but he seems to make it without much in the way of dissenting voices. So, Terr, if you want so helpful advice, insist on your utterly wrong statement’s truth and mutter something about boxers and referees. That seems to work wonders.

And if not, let me know – I can find plenty of other examples where people have told me how useless the actual case law was, and that their opinions were the right ones.

Citing a source you disagree with, just to win snark points? That should advance the conversation.

Aside from the merits/demerits of the plan, the article is somewhat misleading in saying that Romney’s plan “reverses a quarter-century trend,” and is “an about-face from the education policies of President George W. Bush.” Conservatives, including Bush, have been pushing for vouchers for years now. And while Democrats, including Obama, have resisted voucher systems, they have begun to embrace – sometimes openly, sometimes tacitly – public charter schools as a way of getting the benefits of school choice while keeping the schools public. Like it or don’t, the idea that this is an novel or extremist idea is laughable.
As to the merits of the plan: in urban areas, the idea has a lot of merit. Parents will have the choice of a dozen different schools within a few miles; let them pick the one that meets their kids’ needs best.

In rural areas, it gets a lot more difficult. There’s places where you only have one school for a thousand-square mile area; If you start breaking that school up, you start having situations in which parents have to choose between a school they don’t like or giving their kid an absurdly long commute (or both). You also start get smaller and smaller schools, which tend to be both more expensive (because of costs of scale) and offer less services.

In what ways would it affect a school for which there is no other alternative choice within reasonable distance?

… cuz the current system is working so well.

SCOTUS ruled in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) that the use of vouchers for religious education was constitutional so long as it meets the following criteria:

Yes, the idea of vouchers is that the parents decide where some portion of the district’s education budget is spent. Typically, it would look like this: if a district is spending $10,000 a year per-pupil, and a parent wants to take their kid out and send him to a private school, the private school gets a portion of the $10,000 from the school district (typically about half). The school gets to keep the rest (to spend on the kids they still have), but parents who otherwise couldn’t afford a private school now have the option.

I’ll let the lawyers explain the constitutionality of it, but there are plenty of precedents for religious groups getting government money to provide secular services (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc).

I never said it was. This is not a “Either we keep it the way it is or implement more marketplace dynamics” scenario. I was only voicing my concern with implementing a capitalistic approach to fixing our schools.

The $10K in your example is mostly local, Romney’s proposal concerns the federal money going to schools, which is a lot less. Thus Romney’s vouchers would be on the order of $500 or so annually ($25B divided by around 50 million k-12 students in the US). The proposal is not serious.

How it looks from the outside is that you are 'handwaving away" any suggestion but the status quo, since you don’t advance a position.
In that regard, it does indeed look like you saying it is either/or.