GUEST ESSAY: School voucher proposal ...

GUEST ESSAY: School voucher proposal raises many questions

There are 51 comments on the Public Opinion story from Feb 7, 2011, titled GUEST ESSAY: School voucher proposal raises many questions. In it, Public Opinion reports that:

Recently, there has been a lot of attention paid to Senate Bill 1, which would for the first time create a system of taxpayer-funded vouchers which parents could allegedly use to "choose" what school their child can go to if their current school is inadequate.

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Since: Feb 11

Allison Park, PA

#43 Feb 8, 2011
Local Roofer wrote:
Are there any ghetto schools in CASD?
What is CASD?

Since: Feb 11

Allison Park, PA

#44 Feb 8, 2011
Why Worry wrote:
When you hand out school vouchers, and allow those dollars to go to private, or religious schools, you can't discriminate as to where those dollars are going.
If PAN(Pa. Nonbelievers) wishes to open up a private or an anti-religious school funded by school vouchers, then it is within their rights to do so.
Take it a step further. If a Satanic religous School wishes to teach the concepts of Satanism, funded with your tax money, You just have to grinn and bare it.
Vouchers are not all rosey, and there are numerous groups who will try to milk the system--just too much juicy money out there to grab.
Ya know, I've thought of the same thing. Vouchers would up the door for any religion as well as non-religion.

My only fear of vouchers would be government interference in the school. One of the main arguments against vouchers is accountability back to the government. IMHO, I should be the one determining that accountability. First, I will see it in the course work. Second, I will see it in the standardized test scores. If I don't like the way my private school is working for my child, I would opt out and send them to a different public or private school.
Blah

Chambersburg, PA

#45 Feb 8, 2011
If bad, underpeforming kids are the fault of the teachers are the top notch over achieving kids also a result of those teachers? Face it people, parents are the difference. Teachers and schools can only do so much when they have no support from home, mom and dad. Private schools can pick and choose who they educate unlike public schools. I think some teachers and schools would gladly pay some kids tuition to get them out of the public schools so they can get back to educating the kids.
Dave

Shippensburg, PA

#46 Feb 8, 2011
cletus slack jawed yocal wrote:
<quoted text>Oh Dave so now you are a school expert too? wow you are just sooooo well versed in everything! guess that is why you call eveyone u dont agree with stupid :-o
I've served on a school board. What about you?
Really

Orrtanna, PA

#48 Feb 9, 2011
cletus slack jawed yocal wrote:
I think school vouchers are a good thing take away some of the power of these schools who think they answer to no one, lets see how many of you teachers are working when there are no students left :-)
oh cletus your a school expert now to?!
Iftikhar Ahmad

Redruth, UK

#49 Feb 9, 2011
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
IA
http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
huh

Spring Grove, PA

#50 Feb 9, 2011
How much does your child's teacher make?$25 -$30K? That's what a lot of the wonderful private schools pay their teachers. They could make more anywhere.

How much do you make?
morewoodroad wrote:
My child attends a parochial school. I just received the contract for next year. Tuition is $3,280. Additional money of $1,720 comes from the parish. According to the letter from the principal of the school, the total cost is $5,000 to educate my child.
The per pupil cost in my school district is $14,000. All I need is a voucher of $5,000. I'm saving my school district $9,000 by opting out of the public school system.
Have you ever truly looked at a school budget? The greatest percentage of a schoold budget is salaries for teachers and administrators. With less students, you will have less teachers. With less students, you will not need as many classrooms. You can save money by consolidating the schools and by closing the empty schools.
$5,000 < $14,000
Common senator, think about it. All you need to do is give a voucher of $5,000 and in the process, the taxpayers of this commonwealth will save allot of money.
I don't buy what you are selling here.

Since: Feb 11

Homestead, PA

#51 Feb 9, 2011
huh wrote:
How much does your child's teacher make?$25 -$30K? That's what a lot of the wonderful private schools pay their teachers. They could make more anywhere.
How much do you make?
<quoted text>
You have to look at a typical school budget. My school district spends 60% on instruction, 30% on support services and 10% on other items. Public schools have mandates from the state and federal government that drive up the cost of education. As a result, the problem in public schools are bloated payrolls with 6 figure administrators and support personnel that are NOT in the classroom. Take a good look at an organizational chart in a public school.

In private schools, I can attest that salaries make up much more than 60% of the operating budget. Other than the fixed costs (heating, electrical, etc.), most money is spent in the classroom.

Having said that, salaries for private school teachers lags their public counter-parts. To answer your question, instead of a cost of $5,000 in a parochial school (see my earlier post), put the cost at $7,000. With twenty (20) students in a classroom, typical size, the salaries in a private school would start to match their counter-parts in the public schools.

In general, private schools don't have the mandates associated with the public schools, which leads me to believe, do we really need those mandates in the public schools? I don't think so.
Fordguy

Harrisburg, PA

#52 Feb 9, 2011
Dave wrote:
<quoted text>
Gee I did not know that all education dollars are just funneled into the pockets of administrators & teachers.
That was the rationale you gave to oppose this bill, so, if you have an objection to this argument, I would suggest not making it in the first place.
Dave wrote:
<quoted text>
When you pay private schools, your money goes into this magical place & presto chango the kids tare educated. I wonder, just how they do that without any administrators, teachers or buildings.
Studies have conclusively shown that when parents are more involved in their children's education, student achievement improves.

Here in Harrisburg the Harrisburg School School District spends more per pupil than the private schools. Guess which one has the better student achievement rate.
Dave wrote:
<quoted text>
The law says Pennsylvania has to educate kids. We, as tax payers, provide such a education. Its called the public school system. Take it or pay to go elsewhere yourself. School vouchers is not new.
If these parents "take their children elsewhere," then I'm sure that you won't mind if they take their tax money, too. Fair is fair. And whether vouchers are "new" is irrelevant. Whether we have enacted them on a statewide basis is the relevant question, and so far, we haven't.

huh

Spring Grove, PA

#53 Feb 10, 2011
Do your really believe that the private, non-union schools will raise teacher salaries out of the goodness of their heart? They basically pay them warehouse wages right now so I don't see that happening. More and more of these private schools will become these new "non-profit" education corportaions that are out to make tons of money from the new laws.

Most of the people working at private schools only do it because they can afford to (translates to "their spouse or family has money) and they like the fact that there are no serious discipline problems. The unruly students aren't allowed in the building. Act up at a private school and you are out the door.

As for the mandates, they are mostly special education related. If you believe we should go back to the days of warehousing special ed students, then I must strongly disagree. Is there some excessive spending in some cases? Sure, but as a whole, Special Ed has come light years in providing a quality education compared to when I was in school.

Public Education benefits everybody and is the backbone of our country. It is expensive, but it is well worth the cost. Vouchers will do nothing to help strengthen Public Education and will only add to the financial stress that most school districts find themselves in over the last five years.
morewoodroad wrote:
<quoted text>
You have to look at a typical school budget. My school district spends 60% on instruction, 30% on support services and 10% on other items. Public schools have mandates from the state and federal government that drive up the cost of education. As a result, the problem in public schools are bloated payrolls with 6 figure administrators and support personnel that are NOT in the classroom. Take a good look at an organizational chart in a public school.
In private schools, I can attest that salaries make up much more than 60% of the operating budget. Other than the fixed costs (heating, electrical, etc.), most money is spent in the classroom.
Having said that, salaries for private school teachers lags their public counter-parts. To answer your question, instead of a cost of $5,000 in a parochial school (see my earlier post), put the cost at $7,000. With twenty (20) students in a classroom, typical size, the salaries in a private school would start to match their counter-parts in the public schools.
In general, private schools don't have the mandates associated with the public schools, which leads me to believe, do we really need those mandates in the public schools? I don't think so.

Since: Feb 11

Homestead, PA

#54 Feb 10, 2011
huh wrote:
Do your really believe that the private, non-union schools will raise teacher salaries out of the goodness of their heart? They basically pay them warehouse wages right now so I don't see that happening. More and more of these private schools will become these new "non-profit" education corportaions that are out to make tons of money from the new laws.
Most of the people working at private schools only do it because they can afford to (translates to "their spouse or family has money) and they like the fact that there are no serious discipline problems. The unruly students aren't allowed in the building. Act up at a private school and you are out the door.
As for the mandates, they are mostly special education related. If you believe we should go back to the days of warehousing special ed students, then I must strongly disagree. Is there some excessive spending in some cases? Sure, but as a whole, Special Ed has come light years in providing a quality education compared to when I was in school.
Public Education benefits everybody and is the backbone of our country. It is expensive, but it is well worth the cost. Vouchers will do nothing to help strengthen Public Education and will only add to the financial stress that most school districts find themselves in over the last five years.
<quoted text>
First things first, that backbone is broken and is in need of serious rehab. Our educational system is ranked alongside third world countries. "Well worth the cost". Oh. Please. We are spending more and more and getting substandard results. What don't you understand here?

You have no understanding of private education. None. Trust me, private education operates on tight budgets. There is no fat. Any money is poured back into the school. They are not in it to make money.

Mandates. Not all mandates are pointed towards spec. ed. They've been in force. The results speak for themselves. They don't work. Wake up buddy.

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