Mike Thomas: Vouchers can revive budg...

Mike Thomas: Vouchers can revive budget, but make private schoo...

There are 106 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from Jan 6, 2009, titled Mike Thomas: Vouchers can revive budget, but make private schoo.... In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

The solution to Florida's budget crisis is in state report No. 08-68. Prepared by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability, it says we save $1.50 in education costs for every $1 we ...

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Al Gore

Boca Raton, FL

#1 Jan 6, 2009
I oppose vouchers but send my kids to private school.
Obama

Boca Raton, FL

#2 Jan 6, 2009
I too, oppose vouchers but send my children to private school.
Pooh Bah

Hopkinsville, KY

#3 Jan 6, 2009
Vouchers? Just say no.
Parent

United States

#4 Jan 6, 2009
Republicans will never demand that private schools give the FCAT and have the scores posted all over the headlines the way they do public schools.
steve

Orlando, FL

#5 Jan 6, 2009
Mike you are correct, it has been shown in numerous reports that for the lower kids, the scores are the same whether the child is in public or private school. It is not true that vouchers create a competitive atmosphere. Many studies have shown that vouchers do not create competition. The only researcher that I have found to back the competition theory is Jay Greene who is a proponent of vouchers and his team. Unfortunately, true research includes peer reviews and the ability to replicate the study. Jay Greene is more interested in publishing than substantiating. The Milwaukee school voucher system is the oldest and biggest. The cost of public schools went up, and the scores remained the same.
http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/book_vouchers

The property tax levy for Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is projected to soar 19% in two years, but the Department of Public Instruction is not proposing any relief for city of Milwaukee property taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost burden, according to the department's 2009-11 budget request.
http://www.bloggingmps.com/2008/09/more-on-ch...

February 27th 2008
A new study of the Milwaukee school voucher program shows that children receiving publicly financed tuition at religious and other private schools perform no better academically than their peers in public schools.
http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2008/02/mil...

http://www.weac.org/News/2007-08/oct07/vouche...
history repeating

Orlando, FL

#6 Jan 6, 2009
I sent my younger daughter to a private christian school for several years when she was in grade school. While costing less than public school would of spent she got a much better education there. They taught her study skills and held her more accountable . When she went to high school she wanted to go back to public school with her friends. The deal was you must keep your grades up or back you go. Well she is about to graduate UCF and her grades are still high. I didn't have a voucher and had to sacrifice to put her in the christian school. Why shouldn't we fund vouchers? They are cheaper and give the child a better education.
Delusionole

Longwood, FL

#7 Jan 6, 2009
Can we really say we are saving money if we don't know the quality of the education purchased with the vouchers?

Unfortunatly we know exactly what we are getting in public school. Why is having a choice only allowed if you agree it is public school?
Parent

United States

#8 Jan 6, 2009
I'll agree to vouchers when everyone allows the Hare Krishnas to open a school and radical Islamists to open a madrasa. Let's have a Hare Krishna school on every street corner.
Delusionole

Longwood, FL

#9 Jan 6, 2009
Parent wrote:
I'll agree to vouchers when everyone allows the Hare Krishnas to open a school and radical Islamists to open a madrasa. Let's have a Hare Krishna school on every street corner.
Wow. That was a show of intellect. You may want to rethink posting and crack use at the same time.

Since: Jul 07

Orlando

#10 Jan 6, 2009
Mike, now you will really confuse the moonbats who are convinced you are a firebrand liberal.
I would support vouchers ONLY if private schools are held to the same standard public schools are and religious schools are excluded in observance of the separation between church and state.

Since: Jul 07

Orlando

#11 Jan 6, 2009
Delusionole wrote:
<quoted text>
Wow. That was a show of intellect. You may want to rethink posting and crack use at the same time.
Actually, once the government allows Christian schools to receive vouchers there is nothing they can do to prevent madrassas from receive them. This is one of the reasons many Christians oppose vouchers. That, and it dilutes the acadamic integrity of the upper tier private schools.
SentinelBlather

Orlando, FL

#12 Jan 6, 2009
Private Catholic schools in NY State took the NY State Regents Jan and June exams in all subjects in the 50's, 60's and 70's. I have lost track of what they do since then. City of Rochester NY schools are 75% black and 15% Hispanic and they have a 60% dropout rate by mid-sophomore year in high school. The county schools with 6%-8% minority students and have at most a 6% dropout rate. Charter Schools and private schools in Rochester do much better. FCAT can be mandated in Orange County. However in Orange County very few students are held back. Attending Summer School even with no skill improvement allows poor students to pass to the next grade. Students learn quickly that there is no oversight. The writing exam does not take off points for poor spelling. Talk to a 7th grade teacher in Orange County and they can tell many stories of children who cannot spell, do not know the multiplication tables for even the numbers 2 or 3 and don't know a verb or noun. FCAT math, writing and language arts are so basic it doesn't matter if academic programs differ from public to private schools especially in elementary and middle school. Some Principals will not allow a grade of less than 50% even if students do nothing. Charter schools that allow lower grades will have trouble competing if they allow a grade of zero.
steve

Orlando, FL

#13 Jan 6, 2009
Delusionole wrote:
Can we really say we are saving money if we don't know the quality of the education purchased with the vouchers?
Unfortunatly we know exactly what we are getting in public school. Why is having a choice only allowed if you agree it is public school?
How can you say we know what we are getting in the public school when the worst is all that is ever talked about. The bottom quartile of the private school is not the same as the bottom quartile of the public school but the top quartile matches. It is not fair to compare 2 teams when the worst player on one team is better than 50% of the players on the other team and they are not held to the same level of accountability. Just because a child goes to a private school does not mean they will do any better or worse than if they go to a public school.
Digs

Winter Haven, FL

#14 Jan 6, 2009
bad idea Mike
Comer

Oviedo, FL

#15 Jan 6, 2009
Steve the good schools like Lake Highland Prep (where my son attended school) and Trinity Prep don't and never would except vouchers. They do a much better job educating children without the state being involved.
Not all private schools will except vouchers, because they test their children and want the best.
duh

Tampa, FL

#16 Jan 6, 2009
Are you retarded? If you do this who ends up still in these under funded public schools? the poor...guess what happens to public schools when the fat cats in Tally no longer have kids, or friends with kids, or lobyists with kids in public schools? they stop getting funded. so guess what if you start with the waiver system you might as well shutdown the public schools and let the poor wander the street. Waivers favor no one but the rich. Public schools can be saved, but you need to get the geezers and the rip-offs out of the system otherwise it'll never get turned around.
Glock 40

Altamonte Springs, FL

#17 Jan 6, 2009
It goes to show you that teaching begins in the home. My wife has been teaching Pre-K in a private school for quite some time now and she can point out the students that receive help from mom and dad and those who don't.

She sends lessons home to help reinforce what the kids are learning in class every week. Those parents that take the time to go over this material with their children often outperform their peers by 2 to 1 of those that the parents could care less.

It is sad because these parents spend all that money for this private education and yet won't spend an hour a day to go over what the child has learned or try to keep them excited about school and learning.

You get out of it what you put into it, whether it be private or public. If you are not going to take the time to invest in your child then the least you could do is train your kid to correctly say "would you like fries with that" because your kid will be serving my kid lunch.
Delusionole

Longwood, FL

#18 Jan 6, 2009
steve wrote:
<quoted text>
How can you say we know what we are getting in the public school when the worst is all that is ever talked about. The bottom quartile of the private school is not the same as the bottom quartile of the public school but the top quartile matches. It is not fair to compare 2 teams when the worst player on one team is better than 50% of the players on the other team and they are not held to the same level of accountability. Just because a child goes to a private school does not mean they will do any better or worse than if they go to a public school.
Experience is how I can say it. Honestly; how many parents do you know that if money was not a factor would actually choose to send their children to Evans or Jones?
Harry Coverston

Sanford, FL

#19 Jan 6, 2009
Well, if nothing else, you’re consistent, Mike.

On its face, the argument that vouchers cost the state about 60% of what the state would spend on a child in public school sounds like a good deal, assuming that money is all that counts. Of course, that also presumes the services provided are commensurate because otherwise the comparison is not valid. As you note, there is no means of comparing these schools since the very basis of determining whether a school has been naughty or nice –standardized testing as the bottom line – is not required of the private schools. To argue that vouchers are somehow a better deal is a bit like buying a car on the internet sight unseen because it costs less than the car on the lot up the street.

Of course, this whole argument presumes that the primary reason for students attending private school is concern for their education. That might be more compelling if it weren’t for the fact that up to 85% of these “schools” are religious in nature. Religions are generally in the business of indoctrination, not education. Their concern is not that children think but rather what they think. As a taxpayer, I have a lot of trouble subsidizing such “schools” even as I recognize that within the private sector there are a small minority actually are at least as concerned about educating their students as indoctrinating them.

The argument also ignores a secondary, powerful motivation for private schools – white flight. Vouchers don’t guarantee access to any private school, they simply take tax moneys and allow private schools which will admit a given student to spend it. A nostalgia for segregation is the elephant in the room that has always been in the background of “school choice” as anyone old enough to remember that mantra from desegregation days knows.

I’d also have a lot more confidence in this study if it had come from an independent body rather than an arm of the Republican legislature which created the vouchers, those same wonderful people who brought us the current budget crisis our state faces by eviscerating our state’s revenue sources in letting the wealthy off the hook for taxes. This report is a bit like having George Bush’s Cabinet “study” his presidency and rendering a glowing report.

Finally, we get what we pay for. In a state that already is among the lowest in the country in support of public education with one of the lowest rates of educated citizenry to show for it, should we really be focusing on how to spend even less money on public education? Will our savings console us when our well indoctrinated but poorly educated children prove unable to compete in a global economy?

Since: May 08

Cocoa, FL

#20 Jan 6, 2009
Obama wrote:
I too, oppose vouchers but send my children to private school.
If I had kids and send them to private school, I'd probably oppose vouchers too.

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