Surprise attack on public schools today, in Texas Lege?


From the Texas Freedom Network (late last night — so where it says, “tomorrow,” think “today!”):

Voucher Lobby Launches Big Surprise Attack on Texas Public Schools

TELL YOUR LEGISLATOR NOW TO OPPOSE VOUCHER SCHEME THAT WOULD DRAIN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM OUR NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

We have just learned that advocates of private school voucher schemes are planning to offer legislation as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) that would drain billions of dollars from our neighborhood public schools to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools across Texas. A proposed amendment to important fiscal legislation in the Texas House of Representatives would allow the state to give so-called “Taxpayer Savings” grants – vouchers – to families that send their children to private or religious schools. The money would come directly from tax dollars originally intended for public education – even if recipients of these vouchers had never set foot in a public school!

This radical new voucher proposal is backed by a virtual “who’s who” of anti-public education groups, including the Texas Home School Coalition and Tea Party activists. They are dishonestly claiming that their voucher scheme will save the state money – but the loss in funding would be catastrophic for neighborhood public schools.

Legislators in 2007 and 2009 voted overwhelmingly to bar spending any taxpayer dollars on vouchers for private and religious schools. But now as lawmakers consider billions of dollars in cuts to the budget for public education, voucher advocates want to siphon off billions more in funding from our neighborhood schools.

TAKE ACTION

The Texas House of Representatives could vote on this reckless voucher amendment tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18). It’s critical that you CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR TODAY and TOMORROW MORNING and insist that he or she oppose this irresponsible effort to defund neighborhood public schools. Tell your legislator:

  • So-called “Taxpayer Savings” grants are nothing more than a radical and irresponsible private school voucher scheme. They could drain billions of dollars from neighborhood public schools on top of the billions in painful cuts to public education already in the current House and Senate budget bills.
  • These vouchers/grants would not cover the full cost of private school tuition and would therefore go mostly to tuition subsidies for high-income families – including families with children who were never in public schools to begin with.
  • This voucher scheme would send public tax dollars to private and religious schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. In fact, the proposed amendment includes no standards or regulations at all for recipients of these tax-funded vouchers – it’s simply a tax-dollar giveaway.

Click here to find out who represents you in the Texas House of Representatives and the contact information for his or her office.

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22 Responses to Surprise attack on public schools today, in Texas Lege?

  1. Nick K says:

    Just for Tim to chew on:
    (Since Tim seems to think that private for profit primary and secondary schools are such a good idea I’m sure he thinks for profit universities/colleges are a good idea too)

    For-profit colleges devote less than a third of what public universities spend on educating students, even though the for-profit institutions charge nearly twice as much as their public counterparts for tuition, according to new federal government data released Thursday.

    Students attending bachelor’s degree programs at for-profit schools are also much less likely to graduate than students who attend public universities or private non-profit schools, concludes the report from the National Center for Education Statistics. One in five students graduate from for-profit bachelor’s degree programs within six years, compared to more than half of students at public universities.

    The new federal data lands amid fierce debate over the practices of for-profit colleges, which confront the stiffest government scrutiny in decades. The Obama administration has been crafting new rules aimed at preventing schools from promising more than they can deliver, in response to reports that many tout their training programs as stepping stones to lucrative careers only to set up students up for jobs whose wages will rarely keep pace with their resulting debt burdens. The for-profit industry relies heavily on federal student aid as part of its business model, but the industry is responsible for an increasing number of defaults in the federal student loan program.

    The Department of Education is expected to finalize the new rules within the next few weeks. The rules could limit federal student aid money flowing to programs at for-profit schools and some non-profit vocational programs that yield too many graduates who are unable to pay off their debts.

    Congress requires the Department of Education to publish the “Condition of Education” report every year. But this year, the government took a closer look at trends in higher education, analyzing statistics pertaining to students across different college sectors.

    Undergraduate enrollment has skyrocketed overall throughout the past decade, but some of the fastest growth has occurred at for-profit schools. Publicly traded education companies such as Education Management Corp. and the Apollo Group, which owns University of Phoenix, have expanded online offerings and marketed aggressively to older students who may not have attended college in the past.

    “One thing that kept jumping out is that the universe of postsecondary education has really changed over the last decade,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. “We thought it was a good time to highlight it.”

    Although for-profit schools enroll about 10 percent of the nation’s college population, 45 percent of students who defaulted on their loans attended such institutions.

    Some of the most striking statistics in Thursday’s report dealt with the amount of money institutions spent on teaching students. On average, for-profit schools spent $2,659 per student on instructional costs during the 2008-09 school year, compared with $9,418 per student at public universities and $15,289 per student at private non-profit colleges.

    Meanwhile, the average cost for an undergraduate student at a for-profit college was nearly $31,000, after factoring in grants received. The average cost for private non-profit colleges was $26,600, while students at public universities paid on average $15,600.

    Graduation rates for four-year degree programs were markedly lower at for-profit colleges, 22 percent compared to 65 percent at private non-profit colleges and 55 percent at public schools.

    However, for-profit colleges had much higher graduation rates for two-year degrees, where 58 percent of students graduated compared to 21 percent of students at public two-year schools. But students at two-year public colleges borrowed much less to pay for school than students at two-year for-profit schools.

    On average, only 21 percent of students took out loans at two-year public colleges, while 78 percent of students at two-year for-profit schools took out loans — and at nearly twice the expense.

    The report also shed light on another fundamental difference between for-profit schools and other colleges: money directed toward research.

    On average, public universities and private non-profit schools spent about $6,000 per student toward research, compared to $8 per student at for-profit institutions.

    Many of the smaller career schools in the for-profit college sector offer classes in subjects ranging from cosmetology to auto repair to cooking, meaning a research faculty would not be practical. And at larger schools that grant degrees, such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University, adjunct professors spread out across the country teach many of the classes.

    From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/26/for-profit-colleges-spend_n_867175.html

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  2. Nick K says:

    Tim writes:
    and I think because of that, one day we will have vouchers.

    To translate that for him: I, Tim, believe that only the chosen few should get an education. The masses..especially the nonwhites, the white trash, the handicapped and those who just aren’t special enough to be chosen for private schools should have to suffer in ignorance and deal with public schools that are falling apart, where the teachers are at best third rate, and with no resources to actually learn or teach.

    Sorry, Tim, my taxes should go to pay for private schools why?

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Big Red 1, here, in the U.S.

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  4. There are 1st Airbornes in quite a few countries, apparently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Airborne

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, I meant 101st — typing too quickly on a very brief break! Thanks for the catch.

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  6. Jim says:

    Hi Ed,

    I think you were referring to the 101st Airborne.

    However, there may be a 1st Airborne. And I am sure you are correct…that they are better than the cowboys and yahoos employed by B’water.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, I am sending my kids to private school and it is my choice.

    I don’t understand why you wish to ruin schools for other kids. What’s your motive?

    However, as a tax paying, contributing member of society, I am one of many who say, let us have a voice in how our tax dollars are spent to educate our own children.

    You have a greater voice than 90% of Americans. You can vote, you can write to your school board, you can write to your state education officials, plus, you can afford to send your kids to private school. You have much more choice than almost anyone else.

    Why do you wish to take choices away from poor kids?

    We are truly the ones who want freedom in education. Freedom to choose the school for our kids.

    Wait a minute: First you say you choose to send your kids to private schools, then you claim you don’t have a choice.

    I know formal logic and argumentation isn’t taught until college, but I think anyone should be able to see the flaw there. Either you’re exercising your choice, or you are not. Which is it?

    I still don’t see why this is such a radical concept to you. It’s really just a common sense approach and I think because of that, one day we will have vouchers.

    It’s a common sense approach to keeping an uneducated underclass to exploit. It’s getting back to the same tactics used to exploit slaves and Native Americans — keep them from getting an education, keep them out of the high-paying jobs, and keep them from knowing they can get a better life — to hold their wages down.

    “Common sense” doesn’t mean “moral,” or “good for America.” In this case, your common sense approach is both immoral and bad for our nation.

    Are public grocery stores the only way to feed our nation? Are public restaurants the only way we can eat? Are public car companies the only way we can have cars? Of course not.

    Are private roads as good as public roads? Do they go as many places? Tell me about the grand vistas in Disneyland, as opposed to those cheap places, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Is Blackwater (or whatever they call themselves these days) as good as the 1st Airborne?

    Children are not cabbages, nor meat in cellophane wrappers. Education is not a burger from McDonalds, nor a Yugo, nor a Cadillac. Your analogy is an insult to parents, children and teachers, and it demonstrates a great lack of understanding about what education is, how it works, and how people make this nation great.

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    If private schools can provide an education that parents are happy with at 60% of the cost of public schools, please tell me where the downside is in this.

    Generally, a good private school education runs 150% to 300% of the cost of public schools.

    Plus, they don’t take handicapped kids, kids who can’t read above grade level, or rambunctious kids.

    On cost and numbers, private schools can’t compete.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Why do you believe that? Are you saying private schools don’t provide an education? I don’t think so.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote that private education wasn’t cutting the mustard then, in 1781 and 1782 (see page 203, for example). Private education wasn’t cutting it in 1820 when the public school movement took off in earnest. Private education never really competed after that.

    I think I’ve noted in another comment that private education isn’t competing today, either. There are about 9 million students in private schools, compared to about 50 million in public schools. Private schools generally refuse to take some of our most important populations — handicapped and “troubled” or “troublesome” kids. Private schools offer no real hope of providing good education to so many people as public schools.

    Not only has private education never really done the job or competed well in the U.S., in almost all other nations in the industrialized world, we compete against public school systems that do a great job. Only in England is there a significant private school presence that is slightly competitive with the public schools (though, in England they reverse the names)– but England has a deep understanding that their government-operated school system props up their economy, and no one suggests that rich people should get special rights to take money from the schools.

    Private schools provide an education, the toney private schools provide a great education at very high cost for mostly rich people.

    But on the whole, private schools do not perform as well as public schools at preparing the vast number of students we have for college or work, nor can they ever hope to do so. Private schools cannot be competitive, and we should not siphon off money from our democracy-protecting public school system to allow rich kids to avoid associating with the hoi polloi.

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  10. Nick K says:

    Oh and my parents shouldn’t have to have paid taxes when I, their sole child, got out of school. And since I have no kids, at least not yet, I shouldn’t pay those taxes either right?

    See tim there’s one of the other problems with your idea. Your taxes would have to be raised sky high under your little idea.

    Quit whining about “its not fair that my taxes don’t go to my kids private school.” That’s a completely bullshit argument.

    Sorry, I’m not interested in turning the United States into some western hemisphere version of Afghanistan under the Taliban.

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  11. Nick K says:

    Tim writes:
    Your question — “Are public schools the only way to educate 300 million Americans” is an OUTSTANDING one.

    Since there are not enough private schools to do so..then yes public schools are the only way. Now I’m not saying that private schools should be banned..but there simply isn’t enough of them. They are a small part of the solution but they are not capable of being the only solution.

    As for homeschooling that is a very mixed bag between the few good examples and the far more prevalent bad examples of parents doing that out of rampant paranoia and bullshit conspiracy thinking.

    Tim writes:
    Yes, I am sending my kids to private school and it is my choice. However, as a tax paying, contributing member of society, I am one of many who say, let us have a voice in how our tax dollars are spent to educate our own children

    Again..you have no inherent right to send your kids to a private school. That option is a privlege and you have no grounds to expect your tax dollars or anyone elses to go to it. Your tax dollars aren’t paid to educate your own kids…they’re paid to educate everyone’s kids. If your tax money only went to pay for your kids then my uncle should have been allowed to stop paying taxes when his 15 kids got out of school. Sorry, I’m not seeing the benefit in setting up the massive bureaucracy necessary to pull off what you want.

    If you, me, Ed and Jim were all in the same town then under your desire it wouldn’t be your tax dollars paying for your kids private school..it would be mine, Ed’s, Jim’s and yours. Sorry, I’m not paying for your private school.

    The tuition for your kids’ private schools comes from your wallet…not your tax dollars.

    The consequence of your choice to send your kids to private school..is that you have to pay for it yourself without your tax money, or anyone else’s, contributing to it.

    Lastly most private schools are religious in nature. Under the constitution the government can not prop up religion or pay for religious education. In fact my state’s own constitution specifically forbids such a thing.

    If you want tax money to go to your private school then you are agreeing to the government taking control of it. Somehow I suspect you wouldn’t agree to that.

    Oh also…you have no problem with tax supported madrassas right?

    Again we all pay taxes for stuff we don’t like, agree with or use. Deal with it.

    You choose to send your kids to a private school…therefor it is your responsibility to pay for it and not the governments. Your choice, accept the consequences of that choice..or well..simply stop sending your kids to a private school. But quit bitching about something that you knew about full well going in.

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  12. Jim says:

    Hi there Tim!

    Kudos to you for coming back and engaging in dialogue. That’s somewhat uncommon and I respect it.

    In fairness however, you dodged the question. No one has said private schools are bad or don’t educate kids. If I thought that, I wouldn’t have attended one in high school and I wouldn’t now be sending my daughter to one.

    Your question — “Are public schools the only way to educate 300 million Americans” is an OUTSTANDING one.

    And the answer is yes.

    Private schools, and in a few rare cases, homeschooling, are a good way to educate a few of those 300 million. But what of the rest? What is your alternative?

    I will tell you what I have heard from Rand Paul, Pat Toomey and Michelle Bachmann. They have said that we need to go back to what they consider were “the days of rugged individualism” where individuals carved a life out of the wilderness, not depending on anyone but themselves and the Lord. And where “children were educated at mother’s knee by fireside”.

    Of course, this is a pitifully flawed understanding of what actually took place in the formation of this country. And any such ideas, as I have proven here over and over again, are totally contrary to the ideals set forth in the Preamble.

    But really — is THAT your vision? Children educated at home, by Mom or Dad? Again — I am not saying there are not a few circumstances where homeschooling makes sense. Nor am I suggesting we deny the right to homeschool to qualified parents.

    But based on what I witnessed, having interviewed dozens of homeschooling families and intersecting with hundreds of homeschooled children during my years in Christian radio —

    If THAT became the norm or the status quo, within a single generation, our nation would be in tatters. These kids mostly (again, there are exceptions) cannot think independantly, hold diametrically opposed ideas in their minds or grasp ideas foundational to our democratic republic.

    Have you seen what passes for history curriculum in most homeschool settings? It’s an intellectual abortion.

    Are you aware of the bizarre claptrap that most homeschools (and sadly, far too many private Christian schools) consider “Science” curriculum?

    What I found most chilling in the lives of the many homeschool families I knew went beyond sheer academics. Here are a few examples…

    *Homeschooled girls I knew (most of them, not all) were taught that their role was one of submission and subservience to men.

    *Homeschooled kids I encountered (most of them) were brainwashed to believe bizarre and freakish conspiracy theories about President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, the United Nations and so on.

    *Homeschooled children I met (almost without fail) were forced to memorize numerous passages from the Bible about Hell, Satan and demons, damnation and God’s wrath…but comparatively few about Jesus, His relentless tenderness and God’s abiding love for all.

    *Homeschooled kids I knew (again, almost without fail) were trained to believe that the African slaves were “lucky” and “blessed” to have been brought to America in chains…that they were mostly very well-treated and happy on their southern plantations…and that the Confederacy had every right to enslave human beings and secede from the Union. They were taught similarly heinous truths about First Americans.

    Is this the sort of alternative you propose, Tim?

    Cheers!
    Jim

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  13. Tim says:

    Nick says, “the public schools are the only viable means to keep a country of 300+ million people educated.”

    Why do you believe that? Are you saying private schools don’t provide an education? I don’t think so. But I really don’t get your point. Why can’t private schools be a part of the equation? If private schools can provide an education that parents are happy with at 60% of the cost of public schools, please tell me where the downside is in this.

    Nick also says: “You want to send your kids to a private school go right ahead…but you are the one paying for that privilege. It’s your choice…now deal with the consequences of that choice.”

    Yes, I am sending my kids to private school and it is my choice. However, as a tax paying, contributing member of society, I am one of many who say, let us have a voice in how our tax dollars are spent to educate our own children. We are truly the ones who want freedom in education. Freedom to choose the school for our kids. I still don’t see why this is such a radical concept to you. It’s really just a common sense approach and I think because of that, one day we will have vouchers.

    Are public grocery stores the only way to feed our nation? Are public restaurants the only way we can eat? Are public car companies the only way we can have cars? Of course not.

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  14. Nick K says:

    To quote:
    You query, “What makes the public schools such a sacred cow to you guys?”

    Because the public schools are the only viable means to keep a country of 300+ million people educated. You want to send your kids to a private school go right ahead…but you are the one paying for that privilege. It’s your choice…now deal with the consequences of that choice.

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  15. Nick K says:

    Whoever wrote:
    But if I LOVE my private school, why do you want to stop me from getting the same monetary benefit you enjoy just because I happen to prefer a different school. What makes the public schools such a sacred cow to you guys?

    Because you have no intrinsic right to send your kids to a private school. It is a privilege, nothing more. And if you want my tax dollars to go to your private school via the government then you will agree to grant the government control over it.

    Somehow I don’t think you’ll agree to that.

    But your tax money doesn’t go to educate your kids…your tax money goes to pay for an educated populace.

    And please don’t bandy about the term “elite” because you’re the one demanding special rights for yourself.

    We all have to pay taxes for things we don’t necessarily like or agree with. So to be blunt, get over yourself you elitist little jerk.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Tim wrote:

    My children have “never set foot in a public school” so even though I have paid more than $30,000 to my local school district through my property taxes, according to you elites, I should have NO say in how my tax dollars are spent on the education of MY OWN CHILDREN.

    No one said that. Obviously you had a powerful say in how your tax dollars were spent on the education of your own children — you chose not to use them at all. Let me applaud your decision.

    You seem to think that public schools are there to give you a free ride on education. That’s not their purpose. Public schools exist to perpetuate our democratic republic, which requires that we have an educated populace. Our nation depends on the public schools.

    So, while none of us have said you can’t have a say, I would note that so far I don’t detect any willingness to support the engine that drives our republic, and that does concern me some.

    No one has said you can’t vote. No one has said you can’t show up to complain to the school board about any issue. No one has said you can’t call your public school and demand that they come kiss your rear end.

    But I think that anyone who loves America should be happy to pay the taxes that support education, which makes this nation as good as it is.

    Where do you get off making these decision for me and refusing to allow me to have a say in something as important as the education of my own children.

    Once again, no one has challenged your decision. You put your kids in private school. Bully for you.

    Where has anyone interfered with your decision?

    If you love your public school, GREAT! Go there! I don’t care. I’m not trying to stop you.

    Nor are you trying to stop anyone else, of course. So you also do not support stealing money from the public schools, right?

    But if I LOVE my private school, why do you want to stop me from getting the same monetary benefit you enjoy just because I happen to prefer a different school. What makes the public schools such a sacred cow to you guys?

    The benefits you get from public schools are a working democratic republic, through the education of the kids who attend the public schools.

    It appears to me you’re asking for a free ride for your kids only, to attend a private school which excludes a lot of kids we need to have educated.

    Who are you to demand special rights, and to demand we hammer at the foundations of our democracy to do it?

    What makes your private school a sacred cow, more sacred than our nation?

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  17. Jim says:

    Good Evening, Tim!

    Is this your first visit to MFB? If so, welcome! I know Ed is delighted you are here. If you’ll permit me, I’d very much like to interact with a number of the comments you have made. (I’m going to try to cut and paste them but, in the past, I have done rather poorly with that — Word Press and I do not always “play nice” together!) :-)

    Okay. First off, you make this declaration: “My children have “never set foot in a public school” so even though I have paid more than $30,000 to my local school district through my property taxes, according to you elites, I should have NO say in how my tax dollars are spent on the education of MY OWN CHILDREN. ”

    Let’s see if we can unpack this a bit, okay? Your kids have never attended public school, right? Fair enough. One of the wonderful things about this country is the freedom to choose private or public education. (I attended both and found strengths and weaknesses in both. My daughter now attends private school, but will go to one of the best public schools in the country next year, when we move.) So, I’m not quite sure why you are insisting you have no say over how your tax dollars are spent on your child’s education. If your children attend private school, or if they are homeschooled, that’s the choice you have made. You pay taxes because other people in this union have chosen to publicly educate their children. You and I help pay for that, because we know (I hope!) that it’s not “all about me”. It’s about “us”. You and yours are greatly helped by making sure we have an educated and literate society. This is why many of us fight so passionately for public education. Without an intelligent, competent workforce…our private and public sectors fall to shreds. Do you want your automobile built by idiots or by literate, capable people? Would you prefer your pharmacist understand all those “big words” or is that not important? I’m not trying to be a smartass here. It’s a matter of deciding what we want for the WHOLE of us. Yes, for those who privately educate. And certainly, for the vast majority who do not.

    If your argument is that you should receive government subsidies because you have, like me, make the choice to send your children to a private school, that’s a particularly self-centered point of view. There is a limited pot of money for education. More, when Democrats are in power and less — usually — when Republicans rule. But either way, shall we punish the majority by siphoning their limited funds so you and I can make our choices? The Golden Rule seems to be quite forgotten these days.

    Of course, there is another problem with vouchers. In every case I have studied and reported on, vouchers have — at best — helped the middle class afford private school a bit more comfortably. They have done nothing to aid the truly poor. A 500 dollar voucher on a four thousand dollar annual tuition bill might help you and I send our kids to St. Swithen’s Academy and still afford movies and two cars and our nice, three bedroom house. But that same “break” for the poor, ghetto family is like trying to put out a roaring house fire with a squirt gun. After vouchers, they STILL can’t afford private school. So let’s be honest. The voucher makes your comfy life and mine that much more comfortable. That’s all. And it does so at the expense of those who most need and depend on public education — the poor.

    On another note, you employed a bit of invective in referring to people as “elites”. I’m not entirely certain who that is aimed at, but in my experience as a journalist and a theologian, I have found that people generally use that term when they feel, within themselves, a sense of inadequacy. Who are the elites, Tim? What makes one elite? Where do I go to apply for the job?

    You query, “What makes the public schools such a sacred cow to you guys?”

    Oh, that’s easy. We the people. Life in the United States was originally meant to be about US, not *I*. It was about we and they…not me and mine. The vast majority of Americans cannot afford private school. So we — in order to form our more perfect union — help as many of those folks as possible. Especially if we can afford private school ourselves. We are blessed for a reason. (If you’re a person of faith, the Abrahamic Covenant might be informative for you.) And should you be in a position where you just can no longer afford private school, you’d better damn well hope there are people like Ed out there pitching for public education. You may need it someday.

    You continue, “What’s better: a private beach, or a public beach? Public Transportation, or private transportation?”

    It depends, doesn’t it? I’ll always prefer a public beach to a private beach, if the latter excludes the poor, people of color or anyone the owners deem undesirable. In Chicago, where I lived for five years, public transportation — for all its flaws — was infinitely preferable to private. I got home at a decent hour when I rode the CTA. When I drove a car, I could be on the Eisehower for hours and hours. I was mugged once, while waiting for a city bus. That had me thinking private transportation was preferable. Until a good friend got carjacked and another was killed in an accident. It’s six or a half dozen, don’t you think? And again, Tim, the larger question here is — “who do we want to be as a nation”? Do we want to be selfish, me-firsters who say, “I’ve got mine, Jack. Now root, hog or die”? Or do we want to cast our lot with those who say (speaking of our Founders) we are a society…a union…a collective…mutually pledging our lives, our fortunes, etc. I know I am conflating founding documents here, but so much the better. It only proves how passionate our forebears were about the “US” idea. It was a new thing in the world, more or less. And it turned the world upside down.

    You state, “I LOVE where I live, but I do not like the schools.”

    I hear you, Tim. My wife and I are in precisely the same position. That’s why we cheerfully pay for private school, while recognizing our obligation to pay taxes so other people — who make a different choice — can educate their kids. Most of them can’t afford what we can afford, so helping them is part of what it means to be a good American.

    You add, “Why not allow me to use the tax dollars that have been allocated by the state to educate my children to send them to a school of my choosing, at a cost LESS than what the state is paying? Where’s the downside in that?”

    I addressed this earlier. Suffice it to say, the downside is that the money given to you — when you can already (obviously) afford private school — is siphoned away from the schools that meet the needs of other people…people who cannot afford to make the choice you and I have with regard to education.

    Continuing, you declare…”I’m not telling you where you have to send your kids to school, so why do you so arrogantly get to tell me where to send mine? Why are you opposed to my freedom?”

    Not one person has told you where to send your children to school. You have already said you made the choice for private school. Where did anyone tell you you MUST use public schools? I’m sorry, friend. But you can’t have it both ways. No one is opposed to your freedom. But your freedom should be restrained if it impinges on the freedom of someone else. Why should you receive money to help you make a more extravagant choice than someone in the inner city makes? Why would you wish to intrude on their freedom, by taking funds that help their children? I’m not following…

    You opine, “You say the charter schools are accountable to no one. BS. They are accountable to the parents.”

    I cannot speak to Texas, though Ed has admirably and sufficiently demonstrated that charter schools there are monumental failures. I can speak to Indiana, where the same is true. The parents have virtually no voice whatsoever. Certainly much less so than with an elected school board serving the public system. As to private schools, I can only speak to the one where we send our daughter. My wife and I are generally pleased, but when we have expressed concerns — particularly about the content of science classes — we have been told to go pound sand. We are Christians, but not the right sort of Christians. (Read: Not Missouri Synod Lutherans) So our opinion counts for nothing. Again let me stress, we generally love the school and the teachers — but we recognize our voices are almost entirely unheard because we are of a different denomination. That is the school’s right. We recognize that and we live with that reality. But don’t tell me parents have a greater say. The parents who make major donations do, maybe. And the parents who attend the “right” church do, certainly.

    You kvetch, “If you don’t want God taught in school, fine, send them to a secular school. However, why do you get to force your anti-religion stance on me.”

    Oh yes! Let’s DO have THIS discussion, Tim. First of all, “God” cannot be taught in any school. As Evagrius Ponticus famously said, “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If He could be, He would certainly not be God.” God is unwieldy and beyond knowing. He is transcendent and must be know by heart. What feeble attempts we make to “tell the old, old story” must be made in our homes, in our churches and in our synagogues and mosques. To attempt to “teach God” in school should be insulting to any serious Christian. Too, any parent relegating such a vitally important matter to an elementary school teacher, a principal or a track coach is a failure as a parent. It is MY job to teach my child about God. And as part of that, I work as a team with my priest and our family of faith at church to make God and His love a daily reality to our child.

    Further, I must insist that no one is forcing “anti-religion” on you. If you think about it, the contrary is actually the truth. We are “forcing” (though that’s a poor word) religion on you. It is religion, after all, that gives us The Golden Rule. “Do unto others, as you would have done unto you”. By ensuring that all people — Atheists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Muslims, Jews and others — can receive a specifically non-Christian education, we are simply treating others as we would wish to be treated if we lived in a majority Muslim or majority Buddhist nation.

    You add, “As to Pat, you don’t know anything about “radical conservatives.” I suspect that anyone who disagrees with you is “radical” so that you can marginalize them without actually having to think about what you believe.”

    Well Tim, I can’t address Pat because I don’t know him. I do know radical conservatives. I know them all too well, because for the first 24 years of my life, I was one. I worked from 1980 to 2000 in Christian broadcasting. I attended an extremely conservative Bible College. My extended family remains radically conservative, though I have been — since about 1990 — the “black sheep”. So I know my tinfoil hatters.

    You say, “What we “radicals” don’t want is propaganda that runs counter to our family values shoved down the throats of our children by people we are forced to pay taxes to support.”

    It would be helpful if you offered specific examples, Tim, rather than engaging in extreme hyperbole. Just a friendly suggestion! :-)

    As you wind down, you insist, “Your reference to a “living wage” only goes to show that you don’t know anything about a “free” market.'”

    As the kids on the intertubes say, “LOLWUT”? Since when are a living wage and a free market diametric opposites? False choices and either-or propositions are — not always, but almost always — bad business, Tim. I suspect you are more intelligent and compassionate than that, in reality.

    You conclude, “You want central planning which has NEVER worked and NEVER will. Liberals always promise a government manged utopia which has been tried many times and FAILED every single time.”

    How are things going in Norway these days?

    Like

  18. Tim says:

    My children have “never set foot in a public school” so even though I have paid more than $30,000 to my local school district through my property taxes, according to you elites, I should have NO say in how my tax dollars are spent on the education of MY OWN CHILDREN. Where do you get off making these decision for me and refusing to allow me to have a say in something as important as the education of my own children. If you love your public school, GREAT! Go there! I don’t care. I’m not trying to stop you. But if I LOVE my private school, why do you want to stop me from getting the same monetary benefit you enjoy just because I happen to prefer a different school. What makes the public schools such a sacred cow to you guys?

    What’s better: a private beach, or a public beach? Public Transportation, or private transportation? A public bathroom, or a private bathroom? Am I saying public is always worse? Nope, but in general, there is a lot to be said for privately run businesses.

    I LOVE where I live, but I do not like the schools. Why do I have to move to send my kids to a different school? Why not allow me to use the tax dollars that have been allocated by the state to educate my children to send them to a school of my choosing, at a cost LESS than what the state is paying? Where’s the downside in that? I’m not telling you where you have to send your kids to school, so why do you so arrogantly get to tell me where to send mine? Why are you opposed to my freedom? You call yourselves the Texas Freedom Network. What an out and out deception and lie that is!!!! How is school choice a bad thing? You say the charter schools are accountable to no one. BS. They are accountable to the parents. With a voucher system, schools that don’t cut it will be put out of business by parents voting with their dollars and their feet. If you don’t want God taught in school, fine, send them to a secular school. However, why do you get to force your anti-religion stance on me.

    As to Pat, you don’t know anything about “radical conservatives.” I suspect that anyone who disagrees with you is “radical” so that you can marginalize them without actually having to think about what you believe. What we “radicals” don’t want is propaganda that runs counter to our family values shoved down the throats of our children by people we are forced to pay taxes to support. That is offensive and immoral. I have an MBA and yet you would consider me a “radical” conservative if you knew me. Your statement is just hate mongering slander. Your reference to a “living wage” only goes to show that you don’t know anything about a “free” market. You want central planning which has NEVER worked and NEVER will. Liberals always promise a government manged utopia which has been tried many times and FAILED every single time.

    Like

  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Here in Texas, charter schools and other private schools have provided a wealth of scandal (more than 20 of the schools have gone bankrupt leaving huge debts and illegally ambiguous accounting sheets), and no boost at all to Texas education.

    Look at this article in the Texas Tribune, by Reeve Hamilton, a crack reporter:

    http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/is-poverty-the-key-factor-in-student-outcomes/

    See especially these charts in this video interview with Dr. Marder:

    Texas’s public schools are outperforming the charters and most other private schools. Vouchers won’t get poverty kids into Hockaday, because the parents can’t afford the rest of the tuition (and the vouchers won’t cover it). Charter schools and voucherized schools steal money from schools in poor neighborhoods that are giving poor kids a decent education and working to overcome the disadvantages of poverty — where is Robin Hood when we really need him?

    In the Texas Lege, the lobbyists from the near-Nazi wing have been quite up front that they hope vouchers will kill public schooling. Anyone, or any program, that is so anti-Jefferson, is on my fecal material list.

    I know Milton Friedman was a great advocate of vouchers. We went to public schools in the U.S. because the private model was a great failure, especially for the needs of a powerful, large democratic republic. Neither Friedman nor anyone else since has produced an iota of evidence that a free market model works in education. Every nation that “beats” U.S. students in student achievement has a powerful and well-supported, public education system that is modeled on the U.S., and which uses the U.S. as a bench mark.

    As Philip Crosby, Dr. Juran and Dr. Deming might ask, “Not even a successful pilot project?” No, not even a successful pilot project.

    There are several morals there, none of them that we should take money from schools that educate poor kids, to give the money to private schools.

    I’m not sure the model works in colleges, either. Many of our “best” colleges and universities are private, but many are not. I think there is a preselection bias on students, and I think that colleges tell us that we can’t cut corners to get to excellence. In any case, until Perry’s cuts start decimating and shrinking the University of Texas and Texas A&M, I won’t tell a poor Texas student not to attend those public universities in favor of a good private school like Trinity in San Antonio, or Austin College in Sherman. I don’t think there is evidence that private schools are inherently superior in all cases.

    Like

  20. James Hanley says:

    Ed, I’m torn on the subject of vouchers (although I think we should have some experiments with them just because I always favor policy experimentation). It’s clear to me that some goods are very well produced by the market (pens, pencils), some goods are only produced well by the state (national defense), and some goods seem to be produced very well via state-private partnerships, where the state funds and the private sector does the actual production (i.e., roads, collegiate education).

    So without implying any argument either for or against vouchers myself, I’m curious as to what are the particular attributes of the good called K-12 education that makes the public funding/private production model inappropriate? How does it differ from privately produced goods? How does it differ from collegiate education?

    Like

  21. [...] Mr Darrell at the Bathtub announces that billions of dollars will be lost to public schools if vouchers get passed.  [...]

    Like

  22. Pat says:

    Radical conservatives positively hate educated people. Not only is impossible to con them into voting Republican, you end up have to actually pay them a living wage.

    Like

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