Real “Choice” – In Education

On April 26thThe Signal published a column by Christy Smith with the title “State must reaffirm local education control” (Link).


One thing Smith wrote really jumped out at me: “… representatives in Sacramento must reaffirm their control over our schools and prevent out-of-touch billionaires in Washington from imposing their values on our students.”


Apparently it’s better, at least according to Smith, to let out-of-touch Sacramento leftists impose their values through indoctrination, starting in elementary school, particularly since it’s a captive audience.


How about this? School vouchers, which would return control to where it really belongs, the parents. Let the PARENTS choose which “values” their kids are subjected to. Eliminate the public school monopoly on education, and its attendant suppression of conservative principles and ideology through the radical agenda imposed by the teachers’ union and the socialists in Sacramento.


What we conservatives want is to yank our kids out of the Dem/socialist indoctrination system laughingly called “public education”, where our kids have drummed into their little heads propaganda and ideologies we find repugnant.


I’ll use this valley as an example. In most of the area (in my experience) we actually have a pretty good school system academically. My daughter went to Helmers, as my granddaughter does now. Really good school!


But if we had access to a voucher system, my granddaughter would be yanked out of there and enrolled in SCCS faster than a speeding bullet.


Which is EXACTLY what the California socialists know, and EXACTLY why they vehemently block vouchers in this state utterly dominated leftist ideologues.


You want to talk about “imposed values”? Now’s the time to put your money where your mouth is. Actions, not words. Support school vouchers.


©Brian Baker 2017


Dino Manalis Added May 18, 2017 - 4:17pm
Public school choice should be universal, while private schools ought to provide financial aid, like colleges.  However, public money ought to remain within the public school system.  Competition would pressure administrators and teachers to improve the quality of education.
Brian Baker Added May 18, 2017 - 5:05pm
WHY should that money remain in the public school system?
I'd agree with that IF those parents who put their kinds in private schools were exempt from paying taxes that go to public education, but they're not. So, essentially, they're paying double taxation to get the same mandated public education as kids that go to public schools... and who usually get a worse education while they're at it.
That makes no sense whatsoever.
Mike Haluska Added May 18, 2017 - 5:22pm
The "Progressives" have NO desire to see the general population educated, successful and self-reliant.  Their undying support of the Welfare State with its self-perpetuating entrapment is not only a source of employment for liberal arts majors (social "engineers"), it is a valuable government sponsored voter pool.  And just as Margaret Sanger planned, "Progressives" worship at the Altar of Abortion as a means of population control and revenue generation.
I mean, why put a baby up for adoption to a successful, loving, married couple when you can dissect the baby while still alive and sell the body parts?  According to one Planned Parenthood director caught on videotape, if you sell enough human baby parts you can buy a Maserati or whatever. 
Only in America would people with such beliefs and practices consider themselves "enlightened"!
Mike Haluska Added May 18, 2017 - 5:27pm
By the way, you Democrats out there who are courageous enough to think for yourselves and don't support abortion - you are aware that the new Democratic Party Chairman has mandated that to be a member of the Democratic Party you must swear allegiance to the abortion industry or you CAN'T BE A DEMOCRAT???
Bill H. Added May 18, 2017 - 10:43pm
"The "Progressives" have NO desire to see the general population educated, successful and self-reliant".
Actually, Mike-
Republicans have notoriously fought for years to defund education related programs and things like free college. The party leaders typically would like and uneducated, submissive support base that they can easily manipulate and convince.
Are you stating that the opposite is the case?
Republicans have always supported the plutocratic vision of limited upward mobility and a permanent ruling class.
Maybe it is different from what you may prefer, but this is actually the platform of your party leaders, Sir.
Mircea Negres Added May 19, 2017 - 3:13am
Education should be used to educate instead of indoctrinate. I don't know about American kids, but the South Africans who went through the system since around 2000, have no clue how to think, do research or even what questions to ask, never mind possess any type of useful answers to problems that don't involve vandalizing statues, burning down schools and universities.
Bill H. Added May 19, 2017 - 11:09am
As a local example, we have a cadre of Republican-funded city council members who just last year decided to sell school district owned property to local developers and allow the construction of high-density multi-unit housing under the guise of "increased jobs and tax revenue for our city".
The result of course was more school-age children in the district due to the addition of over 1400 housing units and not enough schoolrooms and teachers to handle the overload. Their idea for taking care of the problem? You guessed it, overcrowd the existing classrooms even more!
Mike Haluska Added May 19, 2017 - 4:46pm
Bill H - the fact that you can straight-faced claim:
"Republicans have notoriously fought for years to defund education related programs and things like free college."
is indicative of how the "something for nothing" mentality has soaked into your brain.  "Free College"????  Really, Bill???  You believe that the government can mandate that people work for free?  The teachers, administrators, janitors, maintenance workers, security guards, IT guys that work at Harvard are all of the sudden going to just "donate" their services?  And the utility companies, computer vendors, book publishers, office supply stores are just going to "give away" their goods and services???
Whether you want to admit or are even aware of it, you're a Marxist of the First Order, Bill H!!!  The biggest fan of "Cradle to Grave" on Writer Beat!!
Mike Haluska Added May 19, 2017 - 5:01pm
Bill H - your example of "selling school property resulting in overcrowded schools" has NOTHING to do with political parties.  If the morons who authorized the housing couldn't compute the additional load on schools, sewers, water, roads, etc., while also considering the millions of dollars in additional tax revenue the housing brought in, they're either corrupt or incompetent or more likely - BOTH.
No matter how much commercial development goes on in downtown Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools are always on the verge of bankruptcy and the teacher pension fund is empty.  They always blame the Republican Governor for the mess they create and have sole jurisdiction over, but people are finally catching on to the Chicago politicians.
The examples of your city and Chicago are typical of local governments.  As far as association with political parties, all I can say is virtually every big city in America is and has been run by Democrats for over a century and they are all going broke, have horrible public schools and obscene crime rates.  The state governments that have been run by Democrats are in no better shape.  The only state governments that run balanced budgets and are not up to their neck in debt are Republican.
Bill H. Added May 20, 2017 - 11:08am
Of course the reason(s) being: Since education is a multi-billion dollar market, the private sector has always wanted to grab this market. Vouchers are all about politics and not at all about education.
The sale of local school property was totally politicized in that there are several local developers who almost totally funded the elections of the Republican-leaning council members and therefore control the decision making process. Yes, these "morons" knew and were told repeatedly about the impact on existing classes, along with all of the other negative effects, but were obligated to make a favorable decision to their "controller", the developer who financed their campaigns both directly and via several PAC funds.
Mike Haluska Added May 21, 2017 - 1:09pm
Bill H -
Vouchers are about giving parents A CHOICE in where their children go to school.  The private sector (evidently your sworn enemy in every aspect of life) has been involved since Day 1!  Every ethnic group that came to America set up their own religious/ethnic schools that they paid for out of their own pocket.  
What is the problem with getting poor, disadvantaged kids out of the lousy, drug-infested, unsafe, under-performing inner city public schools they are trapped in?  Most parents, given the choice between sending their children to a "free" lousy school versus a "free" excellent school will choose the latter.  I assure you that most people don't give a damn whether the school is private/public, religious/secular, inner city/suburban . . . they want the best possible education for their children - period!
Personally, I encourage you to keep your anti-choice policy for schools and make sure the Democrats stand with the Teachers Union and NOT the parents.  It is an issue that will drive even MORE Democrats away from their party to Republicans!  It's more proof of what I have been saying all along - the Democrats WANT the Welfare State to grow.  
All the Democrats care about is maintaining/growing political power and their major source of votes is poor, uneducated, uninformed, hopeless group of people who believe they are helpless without the government.  It is the most racist policy since the Civil War South - at least the Southerners called it what it was - SLAVERY. 
Brian Baker Added May 21, 2017 - 1:19pm
Exactly, Mike. That's exactly what my column is about: CHOICE.
I have little doubt that there are jurisdictions in which leftists may want to yank their kids from the public school system, perhaps in places like Texas, where conservative values presumably are taught. I can't really say, because I'm stuck in Commiefornia. But I'd bet that in those areas they're singing a different tune.
It seems that the only "choice" leftists ever want to actually grant to anyone is the "choice" to murder unborn babies.
Mike Haluska Added May 22, 2017 - 9:14am
Brian - thanks for your support.  I'm sure Bill H will respond with an allegation that we both are on the payroll of "Big Private Schools Inc."!!!
Ari Silverstein Added May 22, 2017 - 9:32am
How will you pay for vouchers? 
Allow me, each municipality in every state doesn’t have enough money to pay for vouchers and feed the public school system beast.  In other words, you simply can’t recommend providing vouchers without addressing what needs to be cut from the public school system. Take the three-headed pension monster, no matter how many vouchers you provide, those pensions must be paid and the money to pay them was coming from dollars allocated for education.   
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m pro-voucher as well, but without reforming the public school system in terms of cost, there is no money for vouchers.  Reforming the system means eliminating pensions, jobs and bureaucracy.  From that savings you can then provide vouchers but you can’t just give away vouchers and expect the public school system to reform itself. 
Brian Baker Added May 22, 2017 - 10:22am
Here's how it's paid for, Ari.
In this state, school funding is generated through property taxes, and then each school district budgets X number of dollars per student, which is dispensed through the local school district.
The only thing that would change is that the parents of students enrolled in an alternative school would receive a voucher for that same X amount, which they'd apply toward the tuition for their school.
It's a revenue-neutral system. It doesn't increase education taxes by a single dollar.
Now, to your point about the public system: does it force changes? Heck yeah! Of a FUNDAMENTAL nature! But that's the point. It forces them to become competitive, and be actually responsive to their client base, the local district's parents. Thus, if the state wants to save its pension fund -- because the teacher's union is a state-level organization -- they'll be FORCED to stop mandating statewide garbage policies, and let the local districts go back to representing the views of the local users, as determined and expressed by their LOCAL school boards.
If, as a parent, I DON'T want my daughter to be forced to attend a school where boys who claim to be girls can use the girls' shower rooms, well... I can put her in a school that doesn't allow that BS, for example.
That's the only way to kill the beast of political correctness: threaten to starve it to death.
Mike Haluska Added May 22, 2017 - 2:35pm
Ari - there is no "additional cost" to the Voucher System - that's the beauty of it!  The school funding is attached to the student - not the school district.  The money follows the child wherever he/she attends school.
Mike Haluska Added May 22, 2017 - 2:39pm
Ari - don't ever allow yourself to be fooled by a politician who says "there is no money for that"!  It's all OUR MONEY - we say how its spent!!!  How about the people who pay property tax that includes public school funding and don't even have kids of school age????  What happens to those dollars????
Ari Silverstein Added May 22, 2017 - 3:33pm
I understand your logic on how it’s paid for but you’re missing my point.  Allow me to rephrase, the public school system is mostly a fixed cost.  In other words, if one less student attends public school, very little is saved in terms of savings.  The reason is mostly due to pensions, no matter how many kids attend public school, the pensioners are owed about the same amount of money every year. 
It’s actually worse than that, the pensioners are owed more money every year and more people retire every year qualifying themselves for a pension.  This money is owed even if every single student received a voucher and used that voucher at a private school.  In other words, the public school system could teach zero children and still require oodles of our money.  
Brian Baker Added May 22, 2017 - 6:40pm
Tough shit for them, then. All the more incentive to retain students rather than lose them to their competition then, right?
Their option at the state level is to let the LOCAL school districts control the schools in the hope that fewer parents will yank their students. And stop treating teachers like some special class that doesn't have to be treated like anyone else.
Do you realize that out here in Commiefornia there's actually a bill working its way through the legislature that would immunize teachers from having to pay any state taxes? That's insane!
Ari Silverstein Added May 22, 2017 - 8:16pm
For the second time, I’m on your side in this debate.  I’m just informing you of the realities of your suggestion.  One of those realities is that you’re not allowed to say “tough shit” to the pensioners and stiff them of money the state is legally obligated to pay.  Actually, you could stiff them but the state or municipality would have to file for bankruptcy and then fight them in court.  I know of no politician willing to run on the platform of filing for bankruptcy in order to stiff pensioners.  But that’s what would have to be done to reform the public school system so that you save the kind of money necessary so that you can afford to provide vouchers. 
Brian Baker Added May 22, 2017 - 8:55pm
I understand we're not in dispute. I'm fully aware of the legalities involved in the pension system, and again say tough shit.
But you're so focused on one bit of minutiae that you're missing the bigger picture.
First of all, there are many successful voucher programs already in effect in the country ( So the system works as expected.
You wrote: "I know of no politician willing to run on the platform of filing for bankruptcy in order to stiff pensioners". Well, I live in Commiefornia where no non-GOP politician would dream of voting in opposition to ANYTHING the teachers union (or any other union, for that matter) wants.
But here's a further reality. The teacher's pension system is going bankrupt WHETHER OR NOT a voucher system is put into effect. The Marxists running this state have created an unsustainable fiscal nightmare in the various state employee pension funds. In fact, the only route out for them, as far as I can see, is to do what a private-sector pension fund does that's folding: buy an annuity to provide benefits for those already vested in a pension, and don't add any new members.
So here's the bottom line of the Bigger Picture: to put a voucher system in place, ESPECIALLY in a die-hard socialist state like Commiefornia, would require a radical political shift that's not going to happen until this state totally tanks. Which it will. It's following an unsustainable economic model; it's the Venezuela of North America.
And UNTIL that happens, parents and students will remain the victims of a public education system that for a very long time has ranked in the bottom 10 state systems nationwide.
Mike Haluska Added May 23, 2017 - 9:09am
Ari - your statement:
"the public school system is mostly a fixed cost."
is true, but only half of the story.  The revenue the school gets is based on daily attendance.  If one less student shows up, they lose the revenue for that day.  If a student doesn't show up for a school year, they lose the revenue for the entire year.
This perverted policy is the reason that public schools are failing so badly.  The LAST thing the School Superintendent wants is for students to MISS school - they couldn't care less if the student doesn't LEARN anything while he's there.  That's why kids can't read their diplomas - if a kid is struggling in the classroom, rather than hold him back (and risk him dropping out) they pass him to the next grade.  The same thing for discipline problems - a kid has to practically kill someone before they suspend him . . . all because the schools see kids as revenue streams - not CUSTOMERS to be services properly!!!  
Bill H. Added May 23, 2017 - 11:14am
The proposed voucher system would be a bonanza for private religious schools and create a host of thorny political problems and potential church-and-state issues. Much of the push for the voucher system is coming from the Christian Right, who would prefer children to be indoctrinated into the creation theory, rather than be exposed to the evolution theory. It would also result in minimal education in the Sciences. Take a close look at how the voucher schools in Indiana performed under Mike Pence's school voucher program. Not very well at all!
This is the real reason behind the voucher systems
Brian Baker Added May 23, 2017 - 11:17am
Thank you, John G., for your rote recitation of American Socialist talking points. I always enjoy a good chuckle in the morning.
Brian Baker Added May 23, 2017 - 11:22am
Bill H., that's nonsense. There aren't any "church-and-state" problems. The vouchers are issued to the parents, so it's the PARENTS making the decision if they want their kid in a "religious" school, not the state.
That's just another leftist talking point based on nothing with any real substance. Like most of your dogma.
Bill H. Added May 23, 2017 - 9:04pm
Of course, we all realize that the education system began going down the drain when it was decided to eliminate shop classes and other hands-on curriculum. Education is not really defined as making kids memorize stuff simply to pass a test. Just as you will never really understand mathematics when you let a calculator perform all of the functions.
Mike Haluska Added May 24, 2017 - 9:50am
Bill H - you just ramble to ramble, don't you?  First of all, there are no "Voucher Schools" - you can send your kid to any school you want!  Second, it is the tax dollars paid by the parents, not "government money"! 
The ONLY way the public schools will improve is if the parents have a choice to take their kids elsewhere.  You rail against "Big Oil" and other monopolies, yet you cheer on the "Public School Monopoly" and the "Teachers Union Monopoly".  Your attempt to divert attention from the argument with "no more shop classes is the cause of public school failure" won't work.  As far as crappy math skills, you have the Left to thank for that as well with their "New Math" - math that doesn't have a "correct" answer and it's OK if a kid thinks 2 + 2 = 5!  If we correct him, it could damage his "self-image" permanently!!! 
Brian Baker Added May 28, 2017 - 10:18am
I couldn't care less whether or not you laugh; you're simply laughABLE.