Vouchers: the solution to fixing public education

Vouchers: the solution to fixing public education
  • 661
  • 161
  • 10

The education status quo in this country is for each child, based on where he or she lives, to attend the designated public school.  Some charter schools exist, but those schools handle only a fraction of the total school-aged population.  An obvious alternative is private school, but few have the financial means to afford private schools.  So at the end of the day, most children attend the public school that is geographically the closest to where they live.  If the child happens to live in a wealthy suburb, the status quo might not be so bad.  However, if a child happens to live in a poor, urban neighborhood the education these institutions provide is terrible.  

 

A voucher system takes the money that would otherwise go to a child’s designated school as determined by georgraphy and gives it to the child, via the parents, to go to the school of choice.   Public schools hate this idea because they know, when given a choice; public schools would empty very quickly.  Assuming parents are interested in the best education for their children, a voucher simply makes school choice a reality. 

 

Politically, to provide the dream of school choice to children a terrible fight will need to take place amongst the adults.  On one side will be the defenders of the status quo.  It will include teachers unions and their enablers, the Democratic Party.  On the other side will be free-market types and their enablers.

 

The defenders of the status quo will say that public dollars should not fund private religious institutions as many students, armed with a voucher, will attend religious schools.  This argument fails the hypocrisy test as the Government spends a lot of money on things that may end up in the hand of a religious institutions.  After all, we allow Medicare patients to be treated at catholic hospitals, don’t we?

 

The other argument defenders of the status quote will bring up is the fairness argument.  Because private schools are free to have a rigorous admission policy, many students will not get in.  The result will be private schools full of the best students and other schools full of poor students.  That is the way the system works now, so the vouchers would only enhance the amount of students that get access to a superior education.  Besides, the public school system has exam schools, is that fair?  The simple math suggests that armed with vouchers students would be able to receive a superior education from a private institution.  Without a voucher, there is no choice, just the inferior public education.

 

As you can see, the arguments against vouchers are weak.  Adults; please put children above politics and put public schools out of business.

Comments

Bill H. Added Sep 15, 2017 - 11:12am
Many parents are actually schooling their children using K - 12 supposedly "accredited" online schools. I would question the wisdom of allowing vouchers to be applied to this type of schooling. We are seeing the many negatives of this type of education such as socially-deprived, withdrawn children, lack of interaction and the ability for children's questions to be answered quickly, or at all. Also, there is no priority or means to promote physical education or the stimulation of hands-on learning.
This type of schooling seems to be popular among the "Helicopter Parents" who's only priority is to protect their children from any negatives whatsoever that are a result of normal society. The end result is vegetated kids who's minds are simply crammed with facts and no practical "real" knowledge or social skills.
There is a lot of money behind the effort to siphon government money for this type of schooling by the many content providers that are coming out of the woodwork. I don't believe tax money should be allowed for this type of schooling.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 15, 2017 - 11:41am
I question the wisdom of using vouchers for kids to attend online schools, homeschooling too.  But let’s not get lost in the weeds, there are many ways to make sure this money is spent wisely.  The key is getting it out of the hands of the public school system and into the hands of a school that might educate these kids. 
Dave Volek Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:19pm
In Canada, there is a good competition between the public school system and the Catholic school system. The Catholic school system is more or less public curricula, with a little bit of catechism thrown in. And the Catholic system is still mostly public funded. Both systems have to be relevant to families or they lose students, which means they lose public funding. 
 
We already have a quasi-voucher system in place. I think it is working pretty good. Both systems send their fair share of students to universities.
Dave Volek Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:21pm
Another concept I would like to implement is that everyone submits a small percentage of their gross income directly to the schools that educated them. If the schools are doing a good job, they should be self-sustaining in 20 or 30 years.
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:36pm
I have experience teaching at private, charter and public schools.
I can say with certainty that the value of an individual school, and the education it provides its students, is representative of both the neighborhood in which it's in, and the combined values of the families that it serves.
Your article hinges on the old argument that new school curricula is better, and that poor education is the fault of the public schools. It isn't.
Poor education is largely the fault of lazy, alcoholic, drug addicted, white/black/hispanic trash parents that have no values, are fat as hell, and drive around with their babies in no car seat. They mooch the system, complain about everything, hang out on porches drinking 40oz malt liquor all day, and watch Dr. Phil.  
wsucram15 Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:57pm
Michael..
For once I agree with you.  Education and children must come first.  Its in all cultures and it goes back generations. I think people should be locked up instead of harassed for allowing their kids to just skate.
Parents just dont give a dan, the ones that do..put money into their kids.  I had very little and I did it. If I can do it..anyone can.
Dave Volek Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:02pm
Michael
Your comments are very noteworthy. I've been in education for 11 years. The most frustrating thing is seeing people with talent and no ambition. No GREAT teacher can fix that attitude. Nor can a GREAT school budget. If there is too much of that attitude in a school, the students who want to rise above their neighborhood face an immense social pressure not to do so.
 
I don't think there is a quick fix here because it speaks to a trashy culture. At least with the voucher system, some of those ambitious students can move into a better learning environment.
 
And maybe turn those run-down schools into work-experience schools where students can learn job skills and some pocket money--and not worry whether they move beyond Grade 10 academically.
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:06pm
The best way forward for education is to create a level playing field, make all schools properly funded and excellent. There shouldn't be first-class and second-class education. All our children are important. None should be written off and money should not buy privilege.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:24pm
The best way to garner quality public schools is to effectuate socioeconomic integration.  No school should have more than 30% of students in abject poverty. If the school is in a poor community, attract more affluent students by creating magnet and specialized schools.
 
Vouchers sound great. But consider Catholic parents sending their children to Catholic school, Muslim doing the same thing for their school, and Jews also. When that is done, where do children of different race, class, religion, and other factors meet to negotiate differences and to advance our nation's Democratic Ideals--public schools, of course? 
 
wsucram15 Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:30pm
there is a severe shortage of money with schools.  This should not be occurring at all and needs to be assessed and corrected.  All kids need to focus on education first, this should bea priority with government.
I think the year round model of education is outstanding.  My Grandson who is on the low end of the Autism Spectrum goes to Kennedy Kreiger. Its a year round program, they get the same time off as public schools, except is it smaller increments.  This way the first couple of weeks back is not spent on learning what they learned last year. He is doing the best I have ever seen him do.
I find the education he is getting to be far superior to public school and he had private teachers and even a calm down room. If someone could show me a model like Kennedy Kreiger or just year round,  for all children I think the US could jump out of 20th or whatever place we are in in education into the top ten. Again, adults have to stop putting their needs first.
As far as parents go, there needs to be stiffer penalties towards the parents for not providing children what they need for school, supporting the school, and helping their children remain in school.
 
 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:31pm
Dave
 
So basically you’re saying Canada pays for students to attend Catholic school or public school?  What if I’m a Muslim and want to attend a Muslim school, will Canada pay for that?
 
Michael
 
My argument has nothing about school curricula.  My point/argument is that the money should go with the child, not to the public school system where the child happens to reside.  I agree that parents are much to blame for poor education, but there is a way to make things better.  That way is to let the children escape the public school system. 
 
Opher
 
Crappy urban schools are spending more per child than many wealthy suburbs.  Many private schools cost less per child than public schools.  In other words, money is not the problem. 
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:33pm
I also think that shutting down all private education and religious schools would soon result in the state schools receiving the funding they need. Religious schools are an anathema. No kid deserves indoctrination.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:43pm
Your article is great. I hear everybody complaining about the teachers' union and the public schools. Something must change. The voucher idea is really all I hear as a proposal. I wouldn't know the details of the voucher policy (and as a European I don't need to know too much), but whatever gives you more choices has my support. Good luck advancing your cause!
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:05pm
Its a myth that schools are underfunded. If a school gets 10 million to educate minority children, in short spell the money would deplete and no improvement made. Go to poor countries and see 60 students siting of clean swept dirt or rickety benches and are obtaining education that would make them run rings around comparable Americans.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:13pm
Dr. Rupert Green
 
Rich suburban parents aren’t going to send their children to crappy urban public schools anytime soon.  Religious schools are but one type of private school.  There are plenty of non-religious private schools and just because one is of one religion doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t attend a school run by a different religion. 
 
Wsucram15
 
Once again money is not the problem.  Private schools and charter schools achieve far better results at a fraction of the cost.  The reason is that government run _______ (insert anything) is bound to cost too much and delver too little.  If it were true that the government was the more proficient provider of education than why not have the government make shoes, cell phones, amusement parks, etc. etc. etc.
 
Benjamin
 
The issues I raised in this article can’t only apply to the United States.  Certainly Europe is grappling with the very same issues.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:28pm
@Maureen one learns not to assert facts on WB without having a warrant for it.  Bronx is the poorest borough in NY. But look at the demographics of those who attend its elite specialized, Bronx High School of Science.
John G Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:46pm
As you can see, the arguments against vouchers are weak. 
You've only cited one minor one.
There are thousands.
Vouchers are a backdoor way of privatising what should be a public service and handing over government money to rent seeking corporations.
Little wonder it is Wall St and their political minions pushing this scam.
Bill H. Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:55pm
There is also a group that pushes vouchers so that they can "protect" their children from being exposed to such "corruptive" subjects such as Science and Evolution.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 15, 2017 - 4:58pm
Dr. Rupert Green
 
I don’t dispute the Bronx is poor.  The argument I’m putting forth is that the Bronx spends plenty of money on a per pupil basis on public education.  Between state aide and commercial property taxes, they have the money to spend.  The problem is that they squander it, see any test results. Those are the facts.
 
John G
 
You’re 100% right.  Vouchers essentially privatize education.  If students learn more under this scenario, what’s the problem?  Please keep in mind, I have no problem allowing them to use the money to attend a public school. 
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 15, 2017 - 5:05pm
@ Maureen. "Rich suburban parents aren’t going to send their children to crappy urban public schools anytime soon."
 
Above unwarranted statement prompt my response. 
I am disproving you in stating that in poor Bronx, wealthy parents send their children because of a super magnet school. Problem, hardly any of Bronx Latino and Black children gain a seat in the school.
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 15, 2017 - 5:28pm
I fully support vouchers.  I think schools should reflect the community, and they did when I was coming up.  Today, everyone one has their rights.  Religion can't be part of their education.  And, it is difficult to make the argument that public schools should favor one religion over another.  Vouchers solve that problem.  If the best school in town is a Catholic school, atheist parents will have to suck it up if they want the best education for their children.  In public schools, they just sue.  Public schools become the least common denominator education.  I'm a product of public education.  I didn't turn out half bad, IMHO.  It's more about motivation.
 
 
Dino Manalis Added Sep 15, 2017 - 5:35pm
Public school choice should be universal, while private schools ought to provide financial aid, like colleges, but public money is targeted specifically for public schools only. Pre-K has to be part of every elementary school system and high school graduation ought to be required in the 21st Century.
John G Added Sep 15, 2017 - 5:53pm
 Foster  If students learn more under this scenario, what’s the problem? 
The problem is corruption. Those profits either come from resources for students, wages for teachers or will be added to the real costs.
There is no reason to believe that students would 'learn more'.
Charter Schools have been an unmitigated disaster. 
Jeff Jackson Added Sep 15, 2017 - 6:00pm
Great article, Maureen. There have been public schools in Dayton Ohio that lied about attendance and did very little for the students while the "administrators" all related, of course, got rich. Accountability must go along with private schools. I'm for vouchers and private schools, but there have to be standards, just like public schools. From my anecdotal experience, private schools pay far, far less than public schools, though my experience is limited and that might not always be the case. I like what Michael wrote about the parents, and that could well be a source for poor students, poor in wealth as well as poor in academic performance. I did an internship at an inner-city school, and it opened my eyes a well as demonstrated a lot of reality that most citizens do not wish to face. School discipline starts with parents, and when they do not have it, the students don't either.
Nasty Added Sep 15, 2017 - 6:51pm
"There's got to be a simple solution to making kids into what we want them to be. There's just gotta be! Can't we just get good teachers? Can't we control educational spending? Can't we just giva a kid a Pill and make him smart??
NO DAMN IT!
Children and their needs are just as complex as society. There is no one idea fits all!
 
How the hell do you expect children to be educated, when society is stupid?
Turning kids into commodities with vouchers only replaces incompetence with GREED!
 
John G Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:00pm
Turning kids into commodities with vouchers only replaces incompetence with GREED!
The neoliberal way is to make previously well functioning government services into basket cases, usually be imposing junk economic tests on them, and then privatise them so the rich can make profit.
In education they;'ve white anted the system by imposing the standardised testing model.
You almost have to admire them.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:18pm
Let me start with a little history: "

In 1989,the Wisconsin legislature passed the nation’s first modern school voucher program targeting students from low income households in the Milwaukee School District.  [the teachers union took the voucher program to court.  The State Supreme Court] Voting 4 to 2 to overturn a lower-court ruling, the state's high court said the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program did not violate Wisconsin's existing ban on spending state money for religious seminaries or the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The court said the program ''has a secular purpose'' and ''will not have the primary effect of advancing religion.''
In 2001, Florida enacted the John M. McKay Scholarships Program for Students with Disabilities becoming the first state to offer private school vouchers to students with disabilities.
In2002 a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said the school voucher program does not constitute the establishment of religion. 
In 2004, the first federally funded and administered voucher program was enacted by Congress in Washington, D.C. It offered private school vouchers to low income students, giving priority to those attending low-performing public schools
In 2007, the Utah legislature passed legislation creating the first statewide universal school voucher program, meaning it was available to any student in state with no limitations on student eligibility. A petition effort successfully placed the legislation on the state ballot for voter approval. In November 2007, the ballot measure was voted down and the new voucher program was never implemented. Utah’s existing special needs voucher program was not affected by the vote.
In 2011, Indiana created the nation’s first state-wide school voucher program for low income students
Gov. Scott Walker signing into law the 2013-'15 state budget — and the provision for a statewide private-school voucher program — private schools are mobilizing to participate and meet a rapidly approaching set of deadlines.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:20pm
Sorry but the text that I saw had bullets that vanished when posted.
Saint George Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:23pm
Turning kids into commodities with vouchers only replaces incompetence with GREED!
 
LOLzZZz!
 
Vouchers give parents what leftists don't want them to have: choice.
 
Vouchers are a healthy and necessary reminder to us all that education is a commodity, and that like any commodity — especially any important commodity (healthcare, for example) — there are OPPORTUNITY COSTS attached to its provision: resources like time, labor, land, paper, ink, plastic, metal, bricks, concrete, etc. are directed toward education and away from some other alternative deployment. 
 
Leftists conveniently forget that absolutely nothing important is had for free or provided by nature without effort on the part of people.
 
The idea that choice turns "kids into commodities" is as incorrect as claiming that supermarkets with lots of choices of produce, meat, poultry, bread, etc., turn eaters into "commodities." Rubbish.
Nasty Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:33pm
John G. It looks like we agree on this one! I would add that charter schools can pick and choose their students to keep their rating high and attract vouchers/cash. They only accept able bodied A-B students, with a few tokens for appearance.
The difficult to educate, ADD, and kids with behavior problems, along with the C-F students are all left to the Public System to educate with less money, and the less qualified teachers, who couldn't get a private school job!
 
It is easy to have a high rating when you can pick and choose your students and teachers.
Stop the voucher bullshit, and educate ALL students to maximize their ability.
Saint George Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:45pm
with a few tokens for appearance.
 
A few "token" what? Token dummies? Lazy students? Non-able-bodied-able-minded students?
 
What? Clarify.
Saint George Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:52pm
It is easy to have a high rating when you can pick and choose your students and teachers.
 
And it's impossible to have a high rating when you commingle serious students with those who would rather not be there at all. I guess the attitude of pro-public-school fanatics is: "screw the able-minded, the talented, the serious, and the gifted. They'll make their way through the system somehow. I'm only concerned about the unmanageable discipline cases. We should pour endless quantities of tax revenue into ensuring they live up to our standard of being educated. And if they can't (or won't), no matter. Graduate them anyway. It's good for their self-esteem."
 
LOLzZ! The anti-voucher crowd is simply afraid of the market: they know that minority parents want better education for their children and would unquestionably choose a charter school or a private school over a public school if given the choice. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 15, 2017 - 9:01pm
Actually the Milwaukee voucher system the oldest in the nation does have schools the do not to better then the public schools.  Now what I do not know if they compared the school that the student would have attended in the public system.  
 
Iowa ~ 2012 obtained legislation that got the state out of home schooling but still the home school parents pay for public schools.  Money is why the democratic party and teachers union fight to not have a voucher or home schooling paid for by public funds that come from the education budget.  Walker in Wisconsin is the first state to make public jobs right to work.  The fight received national funding but the unions lost.  To day with the significant drop in funding the Democrats have not won a major election.  
 
The loss of money from teachers dues is a major unspoken part of vouchers. 
William Stockton Added Sep 15, 2017 - 9:35pm
Vouchers and parent's choice would do one very good thing . . .
Segregating the shitty parents from the good ones.  
 
If a parent cares enough to find a better school, they would also be the parent to care about their child's education.  
 
Education starts with the parents . . . not a government policy.  And quite frankly, the public education system has been converted, by the left, into a massive day-care for both the kids and the teachers union members.  Nobody is learning a stinking thing apart from social-political indoctrination and how to put a condom on a penis.
 
Good article Maureen.
Nasty Added Sep 15, 2017 - 10:09pm
William.
Segregating the shitty parents from the good ones.  
This is already the case. Good parents purchase a home in a GOOD school district, and participate in school functions.
But we are not talking about giving vouchers to them. That would only subsidize parochial schools.
The Inner City kids would benefit from vouchers if they could get into a good school. But availability and transportation are limiting factors. My comments to John G. were directed at the ghetto kids. And so are voucher programs, designed to remove responsibility from school administrators and shift it to Teenage Mothers without husbands.
William Stockton Added Sep 15, 2017 - 10:19pm
Nasty, "This is already the case. Good parents purchase a home in a GOOD school district, and participate in school functions."
LOL.  
So, according to you, only bad parents live in bad districts.  That is the most stupid comment I have read in a long, long time.  Thanks for the laugh.
Nasty Added Sep 15, 2017 - 10:57pm
OK shithead Stockton. I tried to be nice but you are an idiot! Don't you live in California? Did you ever buy a home? Wasn't the first thing the realtor asked you was what school district you want to live in?
Property values are determined largely by School District. Higher property values, the larger the school budget.
Keep laughing moron!
When I lived in Texas, they tried to change the laws so that richer districts like Plano, would have to share revenue with poorer districts like San Antonio, but failed.
YES! GOOD PARENTS MAKE GOOD SCHOOLS, you jackass!
Saint George Added Sep 15, 2017 - 11:36pm
YES! GOOD PARENTS MAKE GOOD SCHOOLS
 
Good parents choose good schools for their children. What are you afraid of, shit-head?
Nasty Added Sep 16, 2017 - 12:41am
Are you retarded Saint George?
 
Charter schools can pick and choose their students to keep their rating high and attract vouchers/cash. They only accept able bodied A-B students, with a few tokens for appearance.
The difficult to educate, ADD, and kids with behavior problems, along with the C-F students are all left to the Public System to educate with less money, and the less qualified teachers, who couldn't get a private school job!
 
It is easy to have a high rating when you can pick and choose your students and teachers.
Stop the voucher bullshit, and educate ALL students to maximize their ability.
Nasty Added Sep 16, 2017 - 1:04am
You have nothing to fear, but your own stupidity Georgie boy.! I still question the ability of a teenage HS dropout mother to: "....choose good schools for their children."
A voucher for the majority of ghetto kids, would be a ticket to nowhere!
Saint George Added Sep 16, 2017 - 1:09am
I still question the ability of a teenage HS dropout mother to: "....choosegood schools for their children."
 
Really? But you're a teenage dropout, too, yet you claim the ability to choose "good schools" (i.e., schools of which you personally approve) for someone else's child? I don't think so.
 
Your contempt for parents' ability and right to make choices for their own children without first getting your approval has earned you a gold star "Fuck you." That iconic "teenage HS dropout mother" you assume is the usual case, smiles wryly and agrees.
Flying Junior Added Sep 16, 2017 - 1:40am
Poor education is largely the fault of lazy, alcoholic, drug addicted, white/black/hispanic trash parents that have no values, are fat as hell, and drive around with their babies in no car seat. They mooch the system, complain about everything, hang out on porches drinking 40oz malt liquor all day, and watch Dr. Phil.  
 
You are one sick puppy.  I hope you get better.
 
wsucram,
 
Your approval of this vapid comment speaks volumes about you.
Flying Junior Added Sep 16, 2017 - 1:42am
Okay, public schools out of business.  I more or less guessed this was what you were talking about.
 
I thought the point of vouchers was to level the playing field.  Take some of the revenues designated for public education and use them to help parents pay for private education.  That idea does not seem quite so distasteful compared to yours.
 
Your idea is so ridiculous it does not merit commentary.
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 2:26am
The goal of libertarian 'argument' isn't to make sense. It is to frustrate and ensure that no real rational debate can take place.
Wittingly or not, these brain dead ultra right wingers are agents of the .1%. Everything they believe leads to more gains for the oligarchs.
One only has to look at the vast inequality that has emerged in the neoliberal era to figure it out.
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:14am
Money is the problem. Of course it costs more to educate children who come from socially deprived backgrounds, lack home support, have numerous educational disadvantages and problems - they require extra support and care. If that support is there they can prosper. If it isn't they won't.
Choice is crap. It separates the rich from the poor. It merely a means for affluent parents to take care of their kids and leave the others to languish. All kids deserve quality. Education is the future of the country. You cannot write whole swathes of kids off.
Religious education - whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever is merely indoctrination tarted up - it is child abuse and should be banned.
The answer is to fund education properly, employ great teachers and pay them well and provide a uniformly brilliant service. Doing it on the cheap does not work.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:16am
BTW - those failures who are churned out in the wake of poor education are the disaffected criminals and gang members, the druggies and violent types with chips on their shoulders, the ones who make life dangerous and miserable for everyone else and cost a fortune dealing with down the line.
No child should be a failure.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 16, 2017 - 6:10am
Thanks for all the comment activity!  I'm going to break-up my responses in two parts.
 
Dr. Rupert Green
 
I don’t dispute the fact there may be a great public school in the Bronx.  I’ll even concede that wealthy parents send their kids to one of these schools and that blacks are not permitted in.  However, I’m quite confident that’s the exception. The norm is for urban schools to suck and for wealthy parents to escape to the suburbs to avoid having to send their kids to one of these schools.
 
Leroy
 
I don’t know what you mean when you say “I think schools should reflect the community, and they did when I was coming up.”
 
John & Nasty
 
Profit is how we reward those that provide good products and services.  So I have no problem with a school making a profit, as it means they’re doing something right.  If they weren’t performing well, parents would take their vouchers elsewhere and the school would cease to make a profit.  Having said that, most private schools are not for profit.  So please quit it with your accusations of greed.  It’s greedy teacher unions and administrators that share much of the blame for the mess we currently have. 
 
Jeff
 
If crappy schools have more to do with bad parenting than anything else, than it shouldn’t matter to you if students get a voucher to attend a private school.  After all, the voucher doesn’t replace their parents. 
 
Thomas
 
What’s was your point of copying and pasting that passage?  Next time, I advise offering your thoughts and sharing the link at the end of those thoughts.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 16, 2017 - 6:28am
William
 
I couldn’t agree more.  The Left is far more concerned about the teachers union than the kids.  I think this business about parents being better in the better school districts does have some merit to it.  However, assume you’re a parent whose kids is forced to attend a crappy school, how engaged would you be in the school system?  However, assume the same parent likes the school, there would be a much greater incentive to get involved and become a good parent.   
 
Saint George
 
I agree with most of what you write.  One place where I was confused was in your comment on Sep 15, 2017 - 7:23pm.  You seemed to contradict yourself because at first you said education was a commodity and then you said it wasn’t.
 
Flying Junior
 
The point of vouchers is not to level the playing field.  It’s to let market forces determine which schools grow and which schools shrink.  I send my kids to public schools because they’re pretty good where I live.  However, I moved specifically to escape a bad public school system.  Also keep in mind, any voucher program can be means tested so that we don’t give them to affluent parents. 
 
Opher
 
How can money be the problem if public schools cost more on a per pupil basis than the average private school?
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:05am
Maureen - because some children, particularly from deprived backgrounds, require much more support. The main costs for a school are the staff. To attract in good staff in poor areas with difficult children you have to pay more. To give the support to disadvantaged children you need smaller class sizes and more classroom support, teaching aides and equipment.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:11am
Maureen - so what happens to all the kids stuck in the failing schools as the voucher system and market forces suck the lucky kids out?
If a child has parents that don't care is it just doomed?
What happens to all of these drop-outs that are churned out feeling that nobody cares, that they have no place in society and despise the system and everyone in it?
Aren't we just breeding another generation of antisocial outcasts?
I taught in LA in a difficult gang area. The kids were great but they felt they had no future. They opted out and got stoned. How would a voucher system help them?
Glenn Verasco Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:44am
Well said!
 
I'm a teacher myself, and strong supporter of just about all education reforms on the table.
 
Vouchers would force schools to improve via competition.
Charters would improve education through innovation.
Automation and video education would give more students access to the best teachers and lessons.
 
I also think homeschooling should become more widespread. Communities can learn to work together and teach their children on their own. It would be a beautiful thing to see.
 
You know the difference between ISIS and the teachers unions? If you stay out of Syria, ISIS won't abduct your children.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:44am
Milwaukee voucher system was an experiment that only served the poor inner city children.  Those children exceeded the public school children.  The poor demanded more vouchers and got them and the number of schools increased.  The program grew over the 26 years.  I suspect it covers everyone today and thus it covers parents of all types also.  Thus parents that actually do not care about their child's education are using vouchers.  Thus the performance level dropped.  Parents are the key.  That simple.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 16, 2017 - 9:07am
Opher
 
Teacher pay is a product of seniority, not quality of teaching.  So the suggestion that in order to obtain good teachers one must pay must pay more defies the current system of payment.  For the record, I propose all kids receive a voucher, not just a lucky few.  So are you really suggesting that we shouldn’t help a bunch of kids because of all the kids whose parents choose not to make the most of their vouchers?
 
Glenn
 
“Communities can learn to work together and teach their children on their own. It would be a beautiful thing to see.”
 
That’s how the system currently works.
 
“I'm a teacher myself, and strong supporter of just about all education reforms on the table.”
 
I caution any school reform advocated by the teachers union, as it’s probably mostly about benefiting the teachers. 
 
Thomas
 
I think your example proves it’s all about the vouchers and not the parents.  After all, for the poor, the only way to escape the public school system and improve your child’s lot in life is with a voucher.  Given the better results, parents that waste their voucher on the public school system are likely few and far between. 
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 9:30am
Maureen - you are only partially right. Seniority does play a part but it is not the main thing. As a Headteacher of a Secondary School in Britain I know the value of paying teachers well. When teachers are well paid it attracts in a higher calibre of graduates. When they are paid badly graduates choose higher paying professions and the quality goes down. Inner city schools have difficulty in recruiting quality staff. Therefore there needs to be an inducement to attract quality teachers. Inner city kids tend to have more problems so you need more staff - hence you need to fund inner city schools at a higher rate.
I cannot see the point of a voucher system. Surely the object of the exercise is to teach every single one of our children to the highest level?
I taught for thirty six years including one year in Los Angeles. I do not think that education in Britain or the States is valued highly enough or financed properly. Education is the most important thing of all. It is the future for the economy - the future of the country. We need to properly invest across the board. All too often politicians look to cut corners, cut investment and look for gimmicks and short-cuts. They hide up the problems behind a range of initiatives and continue the same policies of short-changing our students.
All schools should be great schools.
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 9:54am
Maureen,  "I think this business about parents being better in the better school districts does have some merit to it.  "
Adding to this:  
 
Wealth and poverty have little direct impact on a child's ability to learn (apart from nutrition).  This is why no amount of money thrown at inner city schools is going to fix those underperformers.
 
There are three primary factors that drive the learning process: (1) The parent's expectation for the child and their participation in the child's learning process; (2) The child's natural ability; (3) The learning environment.
 
Chaotic environments are terrible for learning.
Bad parenting has nothing to do with wealth.  Bad parents do not teach constructive values nor enforce discipline in their homes.  This translates directly to a school's culture and the school's learning environment.  Chaos at home = chaos in the school.  Chaos in the school = chaotic learning environment.   
 
Segregating the bad parents from the good parents will drastically improve the learning environment.  Merely having the choice of a school will improve the situation for schools without ever having to increase taxes or education costs. 
Dave Volek Added Sep 16, 2017 - 10:32am
Maureen:
For some historical reason, the Catholics in Canada somehow got charter to run their own schools, yet have the government pay for most of it. The public and Catholic schools compete for students as grants are given on a per-student basis. Parents of Catholic students pay a little more in property tax--and that difference goes to the school. So the Catholic school gets a little more funding, but there is no question most of the money comes from the government.
 
And the Catholic schools more or less follow the government curricula. They are allowed for some catechism and Catholic principles. 
 
Non-Catholic families sometimes send their kids to Catholic school. And Catholic families sometimes send their kids to the public school. This happens usually when there is a disagreement between the family and the school.
 
I believe that there is enough competition between the two systems that school boards will ask good questions when their student numbers drop.
 
Maybe even 30 years ago, private schools had to be totally private. They received no government funding at all. However, they are now funded to a lesser degree than the Catholic and public schools, with the families paying whatever fees are necessary to keep the schools operating.
 
All this will vary from province to province as K-12 education is in the provincial jurisdiction.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 11:02am
William - as I have proved in my career - chaos at home does not have to translate to chaos in school.
I agree largely with your three criteria for achievement. The learning environment is a complex one - a mixture of great teaching, good resources, adequate support, a positive ethos, appropriate curriculum, sound classroom management, good discipline systems, great aims, a wide child centred approach, varied teaching styles, excitement, creativity, investigation, freedom and relationship.
That costs money and requires expertise. Education is a difficult art. Poor teachers destroy children.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 16, 2017 - 12:13pm
If a good, for-profit school can't put the fear of corporations into a child, the CHILD  isn't worth educating.  Ask Betsy DeVos... Remember, all the money and sweating over tests became vogue when Geo W Bush remembered the only thing he learned in school was how to take a test, so????
Billy Roper Added Sep 16, 2017 - 12:23pm
Vouchers are not allowed in many areas because they represent choice for parents. Federal government ordered racial integration dictates can't allow that. It would quickly expose certain inequalities which are genetic in nature.
John Minehan Added Sep 16, 2017 - 1:54pm
This is one of the big questions facing the country.
 
Charters are interesting creatures, essentially private for some purposes and public for others.  NYS recently changed its law to require the organization holding a Charter to be not-for-profit, although there are still some for-profit entities that hold Charters. 
 
These Charters have to be reviewed annually and there are only a limited number that can be granted.  The legislative Intent is that Charter Schools are intended to serve underserved communities; English as a Second Language Kids: and kids at risk of academic failure.  The basic idea is to substitute a "rules-based " orientation for a "results-based" one.
 
This is still a developing process, it has only been going for around 20 years in NYS.
 
I have a sense that what we really need to improved VO-Tech . . . and not in the old "Shop Class" kind of way.  A computer data consultant who ran for Mayor in Albany, NY back in '09 suggested that kids who were interested could probably be certified as Microsoft network managers while still in HS.  That kind of thing would be a start.  It's what they do particularly well in the FRG.   
 
 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 16, 2017 - 2:18pm
Opher
 
A public school teaching job in America is a really good deal.  Summers off, a short school day (compared to the typical 9 to 5 job), a pension, etc. etc.  There is no problem finding good people willing to take that gig.  It’s also totally true (not partially) that seniority is what determines pay, as well as job security.  Perhaps it’s a little hard to find entry level teachers, that’s only because they pay them diddly compared to the older ones. 
 
William
 
The data speaks for itself, the wealthier the area the higher performing student body.  However, I’m not going to throw all poor parents and poor children under the bus by saying they bring chaos.  I don’t profess to know exactly why that’s the case, but it sounds like we both agree that vouchers will make things better.
 
Dave
 
That is an interesting system.  I believe in separation of church and state so I much prefer the system we have here. 
 
Billy
 
I see a lot of blacks using their voucher to attend schools outside of their neighborhood.  So I’d argue a voucher would make schools more diverse, not less as you assert. 
 
John
 
Let me be clear, I’m for vouchers and not necessarily for charters or any other type of school.  With a voucher a student can attend a charter school, a traditional public school or a private school.  Let’s let the free market determine what type of schools people prefer. 
Tamara Wilhite Added Sep 16, 2017 - 3:44pm
Vouchers in general are for less than what the public schools are spending per child. For example, schools spending $10-12,000 per kid are only giving vouchers for a fraction of that amount. More money left per child remaining in public schools.
The issue is public school teacher union's power, not what is best for the children.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 3:50pm
Maureen - my experience in Los Angeles showed a slightly different picture to that. Admittedly it was 1979/80. The quality of staff was not at all high. The funding was bums on seats and we had probably a 60% absentee student situation. They preferred getting stoned and surfing and did not see the point of education.
The American system is very different to the British one. Parents are fined for absenteeism in Britain.
George N Romey Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:08pm
Naturally the better schools are in areas where parents have the desire and usually the time to actively participate in the school system. Ask an teacher teaching in a poor area what their job is like and they will tell you social worker.  So do we throw away all of the children that come from poor homes? 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:26pm
Tamara
 
I think the main reason it costs so much to educate children with anemic results in the public school system is pensions.  No private schools pays teachers not to teach.  All the money spent on education goes straight to the classroom.
 
Opher
 
I have nothing to say regarding public education in Los Angeles 40 years ago or Britain today.  As it relates to the here and now, it’s time to join the voucher band wagon. 
 
George
 
Has someone suggested we throw away all the children than come from poor homes?  Did you even read this article?
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:03pm
Foster; Profit is how we reward those that provide good products and services.  
The love of money is the root of all evil. Your god clearly is Mammon.
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:05pm
 Foster No private schools pays teachers not to teach.  All the money spent on education goes straight to the classroom.
Oh so they're not making a profit?
John G Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:09pm
Foster :Let me be clear, I’m for vouchers and not necessarily for charters or any other type of school.  With a voucher a student can attend a charter school, a traditional public school or a private school.  Let’s let the free market determine what type of schools people prefer. 
Up thread you said it WAS about privatising education.
There's no such thing as a free market and education is far too important to leave to the whims of the investor class. 
Financial markets are made of people with profit motives.
Believing that their actions will end in the best interests of children or society in general is beyond naive.
It is indoctrination.
Charles Frankhauser Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:14pm
I think we should put public education on a par with the Defense Dept. budget with the guideline of provide as much funding as needed to accomplish the purpose of making it clear to students that education is their primary responsibility because the future is in their hands both in the private (personal sense) and the public good. How I got mine see kindle memoir, Miss Williams.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:27pm
John - I'm right with you.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 5:29pm
Charles - I think we should put public education on a par with the Defense Dept. budget with the guideline of provide as much funding as needed to accomplish the purpose of making it clear to students that education is their primary responsibility - I used to have a T-shirt which read - The day the Airforce have to hold a bake-sale to buy a bomber and every kid has a great teacher, is the day I'm a happy man.
Bill Caciene Added Sep 16, 2017 - 10:38pm
Vouchers will never work because it’s a falsehood to suggest the public school budget is linked to the quantity of kids it educates.  You could stop teaching all children in public school right now and you might only erase half the cost.  The reason has mostly to do with the pension program because they're a legal obligation that must be honored.  
William Stockton Added Sep 16, 2017 - 11:07pm
According to the NCES, the average, per child costs (direct costs) is around $12k.  This includes pension costs . . . $1k.
 
Having a parent choose what institution to give that $11k (school aid fund) won't make a difference?  What kind of logic is that?
What are your sources that would support your claims that half the budget goes toward retirement plans?
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 12:28am
I think the main reason it costs so much to educate children with anemic results in the public school system is pensions. 
 
As this chart shows, there has been no correlation over the 40-year period from 1970 to 2010 between spending (federal, state, local, inclusive) and academic achievement measured in the form of test scores.
 
See this chart by Andrew J. Coulson:
 
https://danieljmitchell.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/cato-education-chart.jpg
 
For more background on these data, see:
 
http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/04/07/study-no-link-between-school-spending-student-achievement/
Study: No Link Between School Spending, Student Achievement
"WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Decades of increased taxpayer spending per student in U.S. public schools has not improved student or school outcomes from that education, and a new study finds that throwing money at the system is simply not tied to academic improvements.
 
The study from the CATO Institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.
 
“The takeaway from this study is that what we’ve done over the past 40 years hasn’t worked,” Andrew Coulson, director of the Center For Educational Freedom at the CATO Institute, told Watchdog.org. “The average performance change nationwide has declined 3 percent in mathematical and verbal skills. Moreover, there’s been no relationship, effectively, between spending and academic outcomes.”
 
https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa746.pdf
State Education Trends:
Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years
 
https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/articles/andrew-coulson-on-the-way-to-school.pdf
On the Way to School: Why and How to Make a Market in Education
 
https://fee.org/articles/the-failure-of-public-schooling-in-one-chart/
The Failure of Public Schooling in One Chart
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 1:42am
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:26am
Clarification of New Rule — No communication between Saint George and John G has occurred. No "specific addressing of the other or quote of the other's words" has occurred.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:01am
William and Bill
 
While I’m not sure where either of you get your numbers (please share a link) the point is well-made.  The public school system in every municipality has operating and non-operating costs.  Pensions and interest expenses are examples of non-operating costs and they can’t be easily cut.  I imagine some administrative costs can’t be easily cut either.  William also makes a good point in showing how we could still implement a voucher program without it costing one additional dollar of tax money.  By way of example, my neighbor attends a private catholic school at a cost of $6,000 a year.  That's well shy of what it costs to educate kids in the public school system.   
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:24am
 Vouchers improves education by making teacher accountable to parents and the administration of the school that give them their pay check.  Reduce the number of children means teachers loose their jobs.  Thus parents also give them their pay check.
 
We know the shelves of stores are filled by the choices of customers.  When management makes poor choices the number of customers decreases.  The employees realize that they to can reduce the number of customers.   Businesses with lots of competition focus on the customers more then businesses with few competitors.
 
A totally voucher education system would result in all schools focusing on the students and their parents because their is significant competition, lots of schools near where the parents live and normally shop in daily.    
 
How many schools are in the area that you normally shop it?  If you just expand the area a little how many more schools would you pick up.  That defines the level of competitions they would face.
 
Fix cost called sunk costs determine when a business must close its doors because they have to few customers purchasing their goods.   The teachers unions and the local government know these numbers and are fighting to keep there advantage.  Why do you think the teachers unions donate so much money almost exclusively to Democrats.  Because they believe that government has experts that make better decisions then people and thus they speak for the needs of the people.  Socialism's first principle.  And a symbiotic relationship has developed of raising benefits of government employees in exchange for significant help in getting them elected.   That is why the cost per teacher has goes up faster then the  average individual income and other cost by their employer of the public that they serve.   The Republican candidates are fully aware of this and say I can and will do the same thing if you elect me.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:56am
Michael
 
Poor education is largely the fault of lazy, alcoholic, drug addicted, white/black/hispanic trash parents that have no values, are fat as hell, and drive around with their babies in no car seat. They mooch the system, complain about everything, hang out on porches drinking 40oz malt liquor all day, and watch Dr. Phil.  
 
Bravo. Goes for Europe too.
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:10am
First and foremost, the federal government needs to get out of education and leave it to the states.  Any voucher program should be at the state and local levels.  Whatever we are doing today is not working.  I'm all for thinking outside the box and trying different things.  We can't make it worse.  With fifty different states trying different or similar approaches, we are bound to come up with something better.  Vouchers are the best idea I have heard yet.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:11am
It's for sure that poor parenting is responsible for poor child performance. That goes for middle class parents too -
letting them stay up too late
letting them watch TV too much
Letting them play on their tablets too much
not engaging in homework
not taking them places
not discussing things with them
not listening to them read
not helping with numeracy
not giving them quality
feeding them junk
giving them crap toys
 
Dave Volek Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:45am
Opher:
I have to say that you have added greatly to this discussion. All children deserve a quality education. And it makes sense that children who come from a disadvantaged background are going to need more resources.
 
The voucher system will not fix anything for them. None of its supporters have offered a solution.
 
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:10am
No Dave.  What opher (and you) are really saying is that kids deserve better parents.  This is the reason you both push for a larger government-sponsored education . . . to replace the parent.  
 
I tutor kids online regularly with the parents also in attendance.  I choose to educate the kids as well as their parents because I believe education starts with the parents.  Privately, the parents always tell me how the school systems will make it very difficult for them to have a say in their child's education.  Once a parent signs their child over to the government's day-care system, they lose all control.  
And this is the left's goal . . . replacing the child's parent with political bureaucracy.
It is the most frightening thing to see this occurring.  Our only hope for future generations is to get politics out of K12 education.  That means providing another alternative.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:15am
Dave - thank you.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:21am
William - what I am saying is that poor parenting has to be compensated for. We can't, unfortunately, manufacture better parents for kids.
What you are suggesting is putting children's futures in the hands of political and religious nutcases, incompetent idiots and any Joe Soap. I want them properly educated without indoctrination by trained professionals. The vast majority of parents are totally incapable of educating their children or even understanding the complex psychology involved. Professional teachers are trained in learning styles, skills, qualities and learning levels. Teaching is a very complex profession. It is tantamount to saying that you can have anybody doing brain surgery.
Bill H. Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:46am
 
Many parents I know literally spend most of their time being distracted by their phones and other devices, along with TV. They also give their kids devices at a way too early age in an attempt to keep them occupied. Attention or interaction given to the child by the parent is at a bare minimum, and guidance and discipline is almost non-existent.
 
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:46am
opher, "What you are suggesting is putting children's futures in the hands of political and religious nutcases, incompetent idiots and any Joe Soap."
 
No.  Wrong again.  
 
I advocate a future where kids are educated online, away from brick & mortar indoctrination centers.  These modern bastions of "education" now advocate a political cult religion.  I am not sure how you can seriously claim the "nutcase" argument while ignoring the institutionalized cult religion called "the left" which currently controls 95% of education today.
 
 Online, kids will get a standard curriculum that is unbiased politically.  Online programs can adjust for competency and learning potential specifically tailored for the student (which a human could never do in a classroom of 100 students).
The child's education can be supplemented through free-market tutors for specific subjects.
 
Having a viable online alternative would reduce education costs by 1/10 of what it is today.  And quite frankly, kids are already teaching themselves online.  It is the old brick-n-mortar diehards that are unwilling to challenge the status-quo and provide parents better choices.
Bill H. Added Sep 17, 2017 - 12:52pm
No real physical interaction as most children would receive in a "brick and mortar" school will result in social vegetables as we are now seeing with many who's life has been little more than staring at a computer or phone during all waking hours.
Charles Frankhauser Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:17pm
Like most complex issues, money is involved. The end-result is the success of a student in terms of the contribution they can make to the country in times of need, the contribution they can make to their own family if they choose to have one, and the contribution they can make to those next generation kids that are the future for the country, the companies that employ them, their social interaction skills, and the lives that these school age kids make for themselves.  
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:28pm
Bill - not in all cases - but in far too many. Parenting has certainly declined.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:33pm
William - get real - education controlled by the left. You must be joking. In the UK it's never been more right-wing and boring.
Education on line is a second-rate education. What you need is human interaction in order to nurture skills, qualities and humanity. Education by robots is pathetic.
All you guys on the right consider is money and how to get things on the cheap. Let me tell you - cheap is always second best. You can't replace people. Children need human contact.
There is far more to education than simply feeding in knowledge.
Your vision is Orwellian - take the kids away and plug 'em into machines. A nightmare.
You'll be replacing parents with lactating robots next.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:35pm
Bill - exactly - but some people don't value human qualities such as empathy, caring, tolerance, respect and responsibility; they think education is merely feeding in facts. Education is about expanding minds, teasing people into thinking and making them human.
I despair.
The future world of William's robots, incapable of interacting or feeling is a nightmare.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 2:38pm
Charles - the success of education is to maximise the potential of a human being in all facets of their personality - to develop positive qualities and attributes so that they can lead a positive fulfilling life and contribute and interact with society. It's not merely feeding in crap to pass tests and get a job.
Bill H. Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:10pm
 
I remember from school that the good teachers (who were then the majority) taught us how to learn by stimulation, not by just trying to cram our heads full of data.
William Stockton Added Sep 17, 2017 - 3:16pm
Well, opher & Bill.   Whether you like it or not, online K12 curriculums are springing up all over the US.  These online courses are, in fact, created and sponsored by state education specifically to offset the teacher's workload & costs.  Do the research yourself on this topic.  Who's greedy opher?  
 
In less than 10 years, 90% of state-funded K12 education will happen online.  The teacher's 1:1 interaction with a student is forecasted to increase from 5 minutes per day (30 mins per week) to a full 2 hours per week.  This 400% increase in 1:1 time is because of lecture and assignment preparation, lecture time, and grading account for 90% of an educator's day.  All this is supplemented through online curriculums freeing the educator to participate 1:1 directly with students.
 
Fortunately, this model for the future will more easily transition into more independent education sources for parents.  Better choices.
As well, it gets the kids out of those cultural (in)appropriation centers that actually damaging children . . . not helping them.
 
You both are completely out of touch with reality.
Charles Frankhauser Added Sep 17, 2017 - 4:02pm
What if computers could not be used in the schools until the basics have been mastered and certified as such by the use of tests -- How many kids can solve a math problem (e.g., square root) with only a pencil and paper?  With self-driving cars and AI doing all the thinking will all the backup skills be lost forever?  The danger of all this molding of perfectly skilled social robots with finely honed computer skills is the loss of creativity across the board in many disciplines including the arts.  We need monetary support for nearly all sources of education to produce high quality results for most endeavors.  Why do so many foreign students apply to US colleges and universities when they could just type-away on websites?  The professors draw the students because of human interactions.  Students that can find the best teachers usually try to join the classes for those profs.
Bill H. Added Sep 17, 2017 - 4:47pm
 
Many College courses can certainly be offered online, but during a child's development and important social interaction years (thru High School), I don't believe strictly online schooling would be healthy nor would provide the real hand's on stimulation that nurtures the ability to learn.
I simply believe the product will be socially-starved, unstimulated robo-vegetables, lost with their parents in a world of devices.
John Minehan Added Sep 17, 2017 - 5:29pm
The Stockton-Goodwin debate reminds me of this.
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 6:14pm
I don't believe strictly online schooling would be healthy
 
We'll leave that decision to the parents; not to the government.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 6:31pm
William - with thirty six years teaching experience and over half of that in Senior Management or as a Head I think I know what I'm talking about - humans interacting with humans is education - cramming kids with 'facts' via a machine is something else. One produces educated, well-rounded kids - the other produces test results and fodder for industry. I know which society I'd prefer to live in.
Saint - it should not be a parent choice - most parents are too stupid or ill-informed and we are all affected by the products of an education system. Education is for professionals who know what they are doing. That is a government province.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 6:32pm
Bill - interacting with fellow students is an essential part of education.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 6:34pm
Charles - creativity, understanding basics and lateral thinking are part of the equation. Teamwork, social skills and qualities are another. You can't get those from a screen.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 6:35pm
William - we did lots of on-line work at our school - very valuable it was too - it augmented the work done in the classroom - not replacing it.
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 7:12pm
it should not be a parent choice - most parents are too stupid
 
Not you, of course.
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:36pm
Little Willy I tutor kids online regularly with the parents also in attendance.  I choose to educate the kids as well as their parents because I believe education starts with the parents. 
There's a case for government intervention right there.
Leaving education in the hands of violent, paranoid, fascist extremists like L'il Willy would be national suicide.
He vehemnetly hates most of the population and thinks that there is a communist insurgency in the USA.
Clearly bonkers and possibly postal.
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 8:59pm
Letter from economist Don Boudreaux to The Washington Post:
 
"Fairfax County School Board member, Jane Strauss, claims that (as you summarize her position) 'the board's work, in theory, should not be political' . . .  Such a claim makes no more sense than does one that insists that the army's work, in theory, should not be military: it denies the very nature of institution.
 
In practice and theory, the rote of a government school board is to make blanket decisions for many different families about how their children are schooled. The rules enacted by the Fairfax County School Board apply to each of nearly 100,000 households with children enrolled in Fairfax County schools. Therefore ,an unavoidable part of the Board's role is to decide which of the countless different, and often conflicting, parental preferences regarding schooling are satisfied and which are rejected - all while dealing also with the demands of teachers. Making such collective decisions is inherently political.
 
If Ms. Strauss really wishes to de-politicize K-12 education, she should advocate the separation of school and state. Only with completely
privatized education can each family choose the kind of schooling it believes is best for its children without having either first to convince (or to force) tens of thousands of other families with different preferences to go along, or to have its children constantly at risk of being subjected to schooling that it believes to be ineffective or, worse, ethically objectionable."
 
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:26pm
"Education is for professionals who know what they are doing. That is a government province."
 
Hi.  I am from the government and I'm here to help.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 17, 2017 - 9:33pm
Thomas
 
“The Republican candidates are fully aware of this and say I can and will do the same thing if you elect me.”
 
Correct me if I’m wrong but are you suggesting Republicans would stand on the side of the teacher’s union if the teacher’s union supported them?  If so, why doesn’t the teacher’s union support them now?
 
Leroy
 
With the exception of school loans, very little of the money spent on education is spent by the Federal Government.  They do impose regulations, but private schools are under no obligations to follow those regulations.
 
Opher, Dave & Bill
 
I agree that there are some terrible parents out there.  However, terrible or not, all the voucher does is provide choice.  What do you have against the good parents looking for a way out of the crappy public school system?  How do vouchers make things worse for disadvantaged children?
 
William & Saint George
 
I don’t think online education is very helpful for young kids.  They need personal attention and adult supervision to learn.  I know when my kids were little they would do nothing if nobody was watching over them.  The good news about vouchers is that you and I can disagree on this matter and send our kids to schools that cater to our preferred learning environment. 
 
Charles
 
We spend oodles of money on education.  Money is clearly not the problem.
John G Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:33pm
The market fairies will fix it.
Saint George Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:46pm
A citizen is incomplete until government educates him. Then he's finished.
John Minehan Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:53pm
I'm leery of anything deemed to be THE ANSWER, for most things, there are "Answers."
Leroy Added Sep 17, 2017 - 10:55pm
"With the exception of school loans, very little of the money spent on education is spent by the Federal Government.  They do impose regulations, but private schools are under no obligations to follow those regulations."
 
May I conclude that you are not proposing vouchers on a federal level?
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 2:55am
It doesn't matter. The market fairies will make it perfect.
And everyone will live happily ever after and all children will get a pony from Wall St.
And when it doesn't you can blame the left and the unions for spoiling your perfect plan.
 
Saint George Added Sep 18, 2017 - 2:59am
We believe the socialist education cadre officers and their gendarmes can fix the problem.
 
Coercion fixes any problem, especially if it's done by the right kind of people.
 
Remember:
 
A citizen is incomplete until government coerces him into its educational system. Then he's no longer incomplete: he's finished.
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:17am
"Libertarians" burning straw since '44.
Saint George Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:22am
Socialist culture warriors and concern trolls wrecking economies since 1859.
Saint George Added Sep 18, 2017 - 3:26am
most parents are too stupid
 
Too stupid to decide by themselves how their own children should be educated, yet smart enough to vote for politicians who claim they can do a great job at it.
 
I don't think so.
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 5:22am
A new investigation published by The Intercept exposes how a libertarian think tank called the Atlas Network is remaking Latin American politics with the help of powerful conservative institutions and funders in the United States, some of whom you may recognize, such as the Koch brothers. The Intercept reports the Atlas Network is behind dozens of prominent groups that have supported right-wing forces in the antigovernment movement in Venezuela, as well as those who ousted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
 
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/11/lee_fang_on_how_a_little
Maureen Foster Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:41am
John Minehan and John G
 
I recognize that some schools will still do a terrible job at educating children.  The point of vouchers is that it will make it more difficult for those schools to exist. 
 
Leroy
 
That’s correct, I’m not proposing the Federal Government take our property tax money and spend as they deem necessary.  So long as the Federal Government doesn’t, the decision to move to a voucher education system is something each municipality has got to make on its own.  Perhaps there is legislation the Federal Government could enact that forces communities to offer vouchers or public school.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 18, 2017 - 9:20am
Maureen F.  Teddy Roosevelt was a GOP progressive and I would say that McConnell and Ryan are also progressive GOP members as are the majority of Congress. They want bigger government and government making some decisions education would be one.  And they want a class society.
Ryan and McConnell broke their promise and put forth a bill that did not repeal Obama Care.   That is opposite their campaign and previous votes including both houses passing a repeal only bill and having Obama VETO it ~1/2-8/2016  and on ~8th Speaker Ryan speaking for all Senators and Representatives say we will work to get a GOP President and he will sign this bill.  Did not happen.
 
So yes Maureen Republicans will do what they think is in their best interest.  They are just a human as Democrats.  Not all but some.  “The Republican candidates are fully aware of this and say I can and will do the same thing if you elect me.”
Mike Haluska Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:14am
opher - your suggestion:
 
"I also think that shutting down all private education and religious schools would soon result in the state schools receiving the funding they need. Religious schools are an anathema. No kid deserves indoctrination."
 
is nonsensical AND contradictory - that's tough to do!  You just have a fundamental belief that the more central authority and control over our lives the government has, the better.  I get the impression that you (and others like you) would be perfectly content to sit in your government furnished home all day, eat your government supplied food, watch government TV programs and never be bothered with actually pulling your own weight and EARNING A LIVING! 
 
Also - isn't the opposite true that "if all state schools were shut down the private and religious schools would receive the funding they need."??? Again - NOBODY is FORCED to send their kids to a religious or private school.  They are FORCED to pay for everyone else's kid to go to a public school AND pay for the religious/private school out of their own pocket! 
 
Finally - if you think schools are no place for "indoctrination", the you haven't been to a PUBLIC school lately!
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:36am
Maureen,  "I don’t think online education is very helpful for young kids.  They need personal attention and adult supervision to learn."
 
This is a typical reaction by those who have never participated in online learning programs.  I understand it.
 
Online K12 education actually enables educators to have more 1:1 time with students.  Currently, the 5 minutes a student gets with their teachers per day is rather pathetic.  I am baffled how you can use the argument that 100% human to human teaching is currently the best model.
 
The hybrid education model, where online instruction & online homework is combined with human education/instruction, provides a new efficiency for state and private education.   Moreso, these new tools allow the educator to focus on students who need more help.
 
It amazes me how both retired professional and establishment educators refuse to take advantage of modern tech in education.
I think it comes from a fear that education jobs may be compromised . . . yet this fear couldnt be a more incorrect.
Leroy Added Sep 18, 2017 - 12:05pm
I'm with William on this.   I've used online learning.  It works.  It takes motivation for sure, but it works.  Generally, it is not just someone out there in web world lecturing.  There are exercises which must be completed before you move to the next stage.  I think it is better than having a teacher in the classroom.  I can tell you that as an adult, classroom learning just doesn't cut for me anymore.  We do need human contact, but that can be solved in many ways.  Just because a kid might be homeschooled doesn't mean that he can't participate in team sports and clubs.  There are negative consequences to socializing.  That can be better controlled.
Dave Volek Added Sep 18, 2017 - 12:41pm
I think the future is online education where each student progresses at his or her speed; not moving too far ahead of their abilities until they master the basics. Teachers will become more pathfinders rather than lecturers.
 
Like Leroy, I too prefer a more independent line of study. But too many learners just can't handle this independence. There is something about being put together with peers, a definite curriculum, and deadlines to complete tasks that motivates learners through the material and pass the exam to prove they have acquired knowledge..
 
The main obstacle to this change is not traditional educators, but the lack of self-motivation inherent in most of us. The failure (or incompletion) rate of non-traditional education is much higher than traditional education.  Until we somehow address how to put "grit" into learners so that they can move themselves forward, online education is a long way away.
 
 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 18, 2017 - 12:54pm
Thomas
 
You completely dodged my question.
 
William
 
Your response is typical to one that thinks they’re smarter and more experienced than everyone else.  Besides, what makes you think I have no experience with online learning programs?
 
William and Leroy
 
I believe it’s completely ridiculous to think you could plop an 8-year old in front of a computer without adult supervision and expect him to learn more than by going to school.  Let alone the added complication of it being completely inappropriate for him to be home alone.  At least we agree on the larger point, all of us should be free to educate our kids outside of the public school system.  You two can select the best online school out there, I’ll be sending my kids to private school. 
 
Dave
 
For the right student and class, online learning has already proven itself to be the superior form of education.  It’s simply way too expensive to send kids to some $50,000 a year school, to take non-degree oriented classes, when the online school provides the same thing at a fraction of the cost. 
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:00pm
Dave,  "Until we somehow address how to put "grit" into learners so that they can move themselves forward, online education is a long way away."
 
Uh, ya Dave.  That would be the parent's job!  What you are pointing out is that many bad parents are using state-funded, brick-n-mortar institutions as daycare . . . so they can focus on their own careers.  
As well, educators are shielding the child's education from the parents . . . because the customer is the state and not the parent.
 
 Furthermore, educators cannot apply pressure to compel students to learn.  Those days are long gone.  At best, the educator may be there to encourage the student.  However, this is not more effective motivation over good parenting.
Do you know the best motivation for students to learn?  I bet you had never even considered it.  Yep, it is their peers.
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:05pm
Maureen,  "I believe it’s completely ridiculous to think you could plop an 8-year old in front of a computer without adult supervision and expect him to learn more than by going to school. "
 
You are 100% correct.  
Now . . . may we get back to a more reasonable assessment of the online curriculums currently making standard education models archaic?  You are taking an extreme position which would never be the case.
Charles Frankhauser Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:06pm
Maureen -- If money is not the problem then don't vouchers represent money?  If a kid on the poor side of the tracks has a voucher to attend a great school on the rich side of the tracks but no money for transportation, no breakfast, a free lunch, and perhaps some dinner, clothes that signal rag-bag origins, and a home with parents not what they should be, what if all the schools were in the great school category. 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:08pm
William
 
I don’t know what you’re talking about.  It’s extreme to think an 8-year old needs adult supervision and a classroom?
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:12pm
It is extreme to think that "you could plop an 8-year old in front of a computer without adult supervision".  This is what YOU said!
 
Why do you think that having no adult supervision is the recommended model for online education?  I'm not saying that and neither are state schools which are adopting these new models.  Adult supervision is ALWAYS required for the student to be successful.
 
Why are you taking the extreme here?  That's a little weird.
 
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:16pm
Oh, by the way Maureen . . . a student does not need a classroom to learn.  That assumption is also very wrong.  Define a "classroom".
Charles Frankhauser Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:38pm
Maureen, as mentioned in my Amazon/Kindle memoir (Miss Williams) to encourage disadvantaged youth to pursue education, after Miss Williams on her last day before retirement informed me, "Charles, you have not done well this year.  You will have to repeat the 5th grade.  I know you will hate me for doing this, but mark my words, someday you will thank me."  Note that my "classroom" was a freight elevator in an apartment building and my mentor was the janitor.  I was only allowed to read the dictionary while sitting on a stack of discarded newspapers and magazines.  My mentor drilled me everyday on math using 3x5 cards and we talked about little else other than what I planned to do as a vocation.  I give the book away free whenever I am allowed free days.  The "look inside" click is always free on Amazon.     
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 18, 2017 - 1:54pm
Maureen, the teachers union do support a few republicans.  There are always more then just the school board seats open for elections.  The state seats also effect school funding.  The unions provide door to door efforts, registration and getting people to the polling place, etc. and it is much easier to do these things for a party then for a candidate.  
 
So they will support a democrat candidate over a republican candidate that offers the same things because the parties offer different things.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 18, 2017 - 4:46pm
William
 
I don’t know what you’re saying anymore or what type of school you have in mind.  As it relates this article, it doesn’t matter.  We all should be able to take our vouchers and enroll our kids in a school we think will achieve the best results.  Even bad parents are unlikely to do worse than the status quo. 
 
Charles
 
As William demonstrated above, a voucher system will not cost any more than the current system. 
 
Thomas
 
A moment ago you said the teacher’s union donates almost “exclusively to the Democrats” and now your backtracking.  The fact of the matter is that if one is a public school teacher one is also likely to be a Democrat as the Democratic Party support the status quo.  It’s why the appointment of Betsy DeVos garnered such strong opposition from Democrats/teachers, they know Republicans are not on their side in this debate.  I suggest you figure out which team you’re on and stop straddling the fence. 
William Stockton Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:33pm
Thanks, Maureen, for responding and listening to different ideas.  I'm sorry I wasn't precise.  I will try to provide some examples later.  
And of course, we agree that having new choices for parents is the only way for real progress in K12 education.
Cheers
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 7:08pm
Mike - I retired as a Headteacher six years ago. I have written books on education. My school was rated one of the best in the country - it was a fully comprehensive State school without selection and with the full range of abilities.
As I have said my experience in the American system is limited to one year. But discussions with colleagues on the same year exchange showed that it was not much different to most.
I want a dynamic, well-funded, child-centred education that enables children to fully participate in society. I would, of course, augment classroom teaching (innovative and creative) with on-line but not replace it. Children need humans. All children deserve that - free from indoctrination.
I pulled my weight thanks. I've worked for over forty years and contributed in a wide range of jobs at many levels.
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:23pm
The state education system in the USA has been white anted by the neoliberal RIGHT for years.
That's what they do. They wreck a public system with the sole intent of privatising it to extract rent for the investor class.
They've done it over and over again but nobody seems to notice.
Look over there!!!!! Unions!!
To the voucher proponents.
Where does the profit come from if not from diminished resources for students and teachers?
Saint George Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:15pm
LOLzZz! A big, family-sized box of Troll Flakes. One needn't add milk; just put some in a bowl and they make their own cream.
 
To "extract a rent" does not mean "making a good or service available on the private market and asking a price for it." Just plain moonbattish to think so. Anytime a shopper buys a tomato, the grocer is "extracting a rent" from her? Duh. Wrong. So it's no different shopping for educational services and buying them on a private market. That's simply a "price paid for a service", not a "rent extracted."
John G Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:54pm
Now, though this state of affairs would be quite compatible with some measure of individualism, yet it would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital. Interest today rewards no genuine sacrifice, any more than does the rent of land. The owner of capital can obtain interest because capital is scarce, just as the owner of land can obtain rent because land is scarce. But whilst there may be intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of land, there are no intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of capital....
 
WEEKEND READING: JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES ON THE "EUTHANASIA OF THE RENTIER"
Mike Haluska Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:07am
opher -
 
Thank you for your efforts and accomplishments as an educator.  I would have no problem entrusting my child's education to you.  I am confident we both want the same objectives for our children's education, but may differ on the means to achieving them.
 
Since you have limited experience with the education system in America, I would like to point out the primary of my concern - equal access for ALL children to a good education.  Our public schools in conjunction with Teachers Union Officials (NOT teachers) openly admit they want monopolistic control of the public schools.  I can see no justification for mandating that children living in a certain geographical area MUST attend the public school in that area - EVEN IF IT IS DANGEROUS AND NOT DOING A PROPER JOB! 
 
The rationale used by the Teachers Union and Public School Officials that:
"If Vouchers are allowed, then under-performing schools will see children fleeing for better schools and be forced to close."
is purely self-serving and does not serve the interests of school children.  The Public Schools exist for the purpose of EDUCATING CHILDREN - not for keeping teachers employed!
 
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 19, 2017 - 1:01pm
Maureen  on an old comment " I advise offering your thoughts and sharing the link at the end of those thoughts. "  How many people read the link?   I have seen links that seem to be on different subject and may contain an interesting paragraph or two but I am not going to look for them.  And the Citation does not aim me to them.  So If you think something is important then post it.  Now the link provided support.  The history of Vouchers was that important.
 
Now your asked me, " I suggest you figure out which team you’re on and stop straddling the fence."  Actually the team I am on has never change.  I am not a registered Democrat or Republican.  I realized that I am a conservative.  I am for individual making their own decisions  over government treating them as a member of a group and making a group decision.  I am for individual taking responsibility for their actions over blaming someone else, Hillary Clinton is a prime example and Trump is just behind her.   You said parents are responsible for the education of their children is no many words, do not place the blame on the teachers.   So if the parents are responsible then they should have a voice.  
 
As a shopper you go into a store and what you purchase is your voice.  If someone gives you a present then you are not responsible for that choice.   In the first case the money goes directly through your hands.  In the second case the money does not go through your hands.
 
Public education the money which determines the decisions made do not go through the parents hands.  Someone else has the power of the purse strings.   A Voucher puts the money in the parents hands in effect.  They gain a voice by their ability to provide or deny money.    Maureen I have always been on the side of the fence where the purse string resides with the consumer, in this case the parent and the student.  The more control the better.
Dave Volek Added Sep 19, 2017 - 1:26pm
William:
 
I would have to agree that peer pressure is a contributor force for students to learn. But this works for both positive and negative learning. Put some average kids in group of high achievers, they usually rise. Put average learners in a classroom of losers, they will likely flounder.
 
I would still like to get your take on what should we do with kids that come from families where education is not a high value. With the voucher system, wiser parents will move their kids out of bad school. This leaves the school with less positive influence to raise the peer pressure for lower learner to find some degree of success. In other words, the schools become worse than before.
 
Should we just shut these schools down and put these kids on the street? It unlikely they are learn much in this environment.
 
 
 
John G Added Sep 19, 2017 - 6:09pm
Who will plan and build the schools and the infrastructure into the future with such a chaotic piecemeal system in place?
'The Market!!!!!!' (tm) doesn't do long term investment. Especially social investment.
 
Glenn Verasco Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:24pm
Maureen,
 
“Communities can learn to work together and teach their children on their own. It would be a beautiful thing to see.”
 
That’s how the system currently works.
 
“I'm a teacher myself, and strong supporter of just about all education reforms on the table.”
 
I caution any school reform advocated by the teachers union, as it’s probably mostly about benefiting the teachers. 
 
I disagree with your first response. In the current system, standards come from above, both at the federal and state levels. I was referring to more church-like or homeschool-like school systems.
 
And I am not a union teacher. As I am hampered with self-respect and dignity, I will never associate myself with organizations that hold children hostage in exchange for security.
 
I currently live and teach abroad. I fly solo and welcome competition from technology, better teachers, and better systems. But not from politics.
Maureen Foster Added Sep 20, 2017 - 9:28am
Thomas
 
If you have always been on the side of the fence where the purse string resides with the consumer, than you are against the status quo and teacher’s union.  In being against those things and not supporting Republicans, I don’t think you have any idea what you are. 
 
Glenn
 
Standards coming from above aren’t all that onerous.  Between the Federal Government issuing standards, to the state, to the municipality, to the school, to the classroom, each teacher is very far removed from the above.  Accordingly, they have the latitude to teach pretty much however they please.  The standards from above are mostly about testing and finding a standard way to measure learning.  That being said, a non-union teacher is even more removed from any standards from above and that’s a good thing. 
William Stockton Added Sep 20, 2017 - 10:49am
"Put some average kids in group of high achievers, they usually rise. Put average learners in a classroom of losers, they will likely flounder."
 
I agree, Dave.  Future schools will/should leverage this fact.
 
". . . what should we do with kids that come from families where education is not a high value."
 
I dont know why you are compelled to do anything about these parents who don't value education.  At best, we should attempt to educate the parents, as a priority, on the value of education.  Oddly, we don't ever see the education system campaigning to these parents.  In most cases, the education is shielding themselves from all parents.  
 
We have to assume there will always be groups of people who are not compelled to participate in education.  There are no solutions for these parents if learning is not important . . . and if learning is not important to them, teaching these parents new values seems improbable.
This is a problem that should not form policy nor is it solvable.  I do think some segregation would be a positive step forward in separating the troublemakers with the studious.
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 20, 2017 - 11:07am
Such an attempt to spin, "you are against the status quo and teacher’s union.  In being against those things and not supporting Republicans, I don’t think you have any idea what you are."  I told you that I am a conservative.  CONSERVE THE CONSTITUTION, Congress, the House is responsible for bills involving purse string.  And the House representative are elected by the people.  Thus the founders put the responsibility for the purse string close to the people.  That means the people know how to use purse string.   Patents know how to use purse string.
 
Teachers Unions only have to give their teaches the power to assign the money they give to political parties to each teacher.  This money is theirs and not given to them by the school district.  It is taken out of the salary of the teacher.   That works since it is what Sundstrand Aerospace did for its employees that put money from their salaries into a pact.  I personally chose the candidates and amounts of money distributed along with hundreds of other people.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 20, 2017 - 11:21am
Parents not patents.  sorry
Dave Volek Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:41pm
William
 
It seems we are in agreement that vouchers will have tendency to segregate the troubled learners from the average to excellent learners.
 
And I think we are in agreement that putting resources into the parents of troubled learners is not going to be that effective.
 
Then the questions arises: Should we put resources into the troubled learners? If all we are offering is a kind of baby-sitting service, we could probably do this much cheaper with day care workers than teachers, right?
 
I think we should. And as Orpher has suggested we probably need to spend more money on these learners than on the regular learners.
 
In Canada, it costs about $6,000 a year per elementary student (or at least that is about what the governments give to the school boards). It costs about $100,000 a year to keep a person in prison. This does not include the damages caused by the convict before he got to prison. Some simple math says that educating 17 poor performers enough that the education keeps one of them out of jail is a break even investment (actually the math is more complicated than that, but I think you get my point). 
 
If we don't put some education into these poor performers, the chances of them ending up in jail or on permanent social assistance is much greater. I think nearly all sociological studies have led to this conclusion.
Lord Jim Added Sep 21, 2017 - 12:34am
From what I read, charter schools are filled to the max, and turn away hundreds of applicants.
What is a student supposed to do with a voucher?
Will this not lead to for profit schools, that cut corners any way they can, just like for profit prisons? Teaching to the test, in order to maintain high ratings, and expelling problem children!
That means that public schools will be filled with undesirables, and require even more taxpayer money, and Charter schools will play to the ratings.
Not a desirable result. Better teachers and politicians do their job and be paid a good wage for doing so!
Lord Jim Added Sep 21, 2017 - 12:37am
How about giving Federal bonuses to high performing teachers who go to lower rated schools?
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 21, 2017 - 8:35am
Maureen,
You write (with my emphasis): 
My point/argument is that the money should go with the child, not to the public school system where the child happens to reside. I agree that parents are much to blame for poor education, but there is a way to make things better. That way is to let the children escape the public school system.
You're looking at the public schools like they are some kind of prison! Do you also think people need to escape their public library? That's ridiculous!
The schools (and libraries) are a part of the community, and in essence you shouldn't live in a community you don't like. If you don't like the community, move. If you are unable to move, charter schools are a viable option, there is nothing wrong with the concept. 
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 21, 2017 - 8:46am
Lord Jim the reason schools that accept voucher are full is that the teachers union worked hard to limit the number of vouchers given out.  They reason that the public schools would be abandoned and there is not enough private schools.  This is a circular argument that is self fulfilling and they sweeten the pot by giving money to the public officials to get elected. 
Maureen Foster Added Sep 21, 2017 - 9:14am
Thomas
 
There is no need to complicate our discussion with a Constitutional diatribe or a lesson on how unions are funded.  I’m well aware of both without your arrogance.  This is very simple, one group of politicians is protecting the teachers union and another group wishes to harm them by forcing them to face competition.  The first group of politicians are called Democrats, the latter are called Republicans.  What side are you on? 
 
Jim
 
With a voucher a student can attend a private school.  Charter Schools are quasi-public schools and the fact they’re turning away kids, is proof the traditional public school system is a failing system.  As for profit, what do you care how much profit some school makes if it does a better job than a public school?  That’s how capitalism works, you do good work, and you get to reap the rewards.  Having said that, most private schools are non-profits. 
 
Michael
 
If we agree all children must attend school and charter schools are turning away kids in mass, then public school is very much like a prison.  What is so terrible about providing parents a choice?  Most likely they’ll use their vouchers to attend a private school that’s located in the community as well.  Over time, if the system becomes more widely adopted, more private schools will open and more kids will have more choices. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 21, 2017 - 12:22pm
John G - in response to your statement:
 
"'The Market!!!!!!' (tm) doesn't do long term investment. Especially social investment."
 
The "Market" doesn't produce lousy public schools that have a monopoly on education - the government does!  The "Market" produces private schools that are better, cheaper, more responsive, produce better results and are completely VOLUNTARY.  It is a testament to the success of Private Schools that parents will actually PAY for Private School rather than accept "free" Public School (they have already paid for through their taxes)!!! 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 21, 2017 - 1:13pm
I am just responding the the spin that you put out.  Stop this crap: "Constitutional diatribe or a lesson on how unions are funded."  The fact that they have a conflict of interest is a very important fact.   If you recall  FDR a Modern Liberal also stated that public employee unions are illegal due to the conflict of interest.  He could only talk about Federal employees.  That is why federal employees do not have unions. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 21, 2017 - 2:16pm
Thomas - if only your statement:
 
"That is why federal employees do not have unions."
 
 was true!  Here's a brief list:
 
AFGE (American Federation of Gov't Employees) 700,000 members
NFFE (National Federation of Federal Employees) 110,000 members
NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union)  
NALC  (National Association of Letter Carriers) 
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 21, 2017 - 3:01pm
Hey Maureen, 
No, I'm all about the choice, that's fine. I said charter schools were a viable option! 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 21, 2017 - 5:59pm
I guess we live in Ameritopia instead of the land of free and home of the brave.  Sad state of being.   Bureaucrats fund one party and the Business Cartal funds the other party, both do not want competition so we the people are screwed.  
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 23, 2017 - 7:56am
As we fight over what schooling is best, the gov and colleges know they can import youth from Third World countries to be the scientist, engineers, and STEM workers we need to advance our nation.  They can provide the American dunce who graduate with a diploma they cannot read the opportunity to be prison warden and law enforcement personnel of those it channeled to become criminals. Yes schools are designed to perform social sorting.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 24, 2017 - 11:23am
Lord Jim sez: How about giving Federal bonuses to high performing teachers who go to lower rated schools? - The rightists would insist on paying those teachers less, since they're teaching inferior product, so don't have to work very hard.  The same crowd may also wonder why teachers are paid at all since they don't put the fear of corporations into kids any more.  In fact, those awful teachers should pay the school districts to teach.  Geezus, you people...

Recent Articles by Writers Maureen Foster follows.