6 reasons vouchers don’t help students, families, communities


Reader Comments

  1. Vouchers would mean more money per pupil in public schools. Let me explain. The average cost per pupil is $10,700. If a voucher of say $5,000 is offered, that would mean that the State would save $5,700 for every pupil who chose to attend a private school. The NEA objection is to the reduction in the total number of students under it’s direct control. This would lead to a reduced need for union public school teachers, even though the remaining teachers would have greater resources at their disposal.

    1. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the way economics works.

      1. Voucher programs do not cover the full cost of a private school education. Because of this, the vast majority of students who make use of voucher programs were already attending private schools (75% in Wisconsin, for example). This means that the public school budgets are being cut without losing the equivalent number of pupils to make up the difference.

      2. While your mathematical argument is compelling, it misrepresents what cost per pupil actually means. Even if 20 students left a public school to attend a private school and took the voucher money with them, this does not mean that the public school can reduce costs by the 20 student cost per pupil. You can’t reduce your electricity costs by 20 students, or your bus costs, or maintenance, or landscaping, or the salary of your principal. You can’t even reduce the number of teachers unless your class sizes are under 20 students and they all happen to leave from the same grade level.

      I completely understand the MATHEMATICS of your argument. But it simply doesn’t take into account real world ECONOMICS.

      1. Real world economics are being demonstrated all over the world. There are low cost schools for the poor all over the third world. http://www.educationinnovations.org/topics/low-cost-private-schools
        These are in countries that do not offer vouchers to the poor, but they are so desperate to get their children out of the failing public schools that they are sacrificing to afford the private option. I agree that vouchers initially help those that are already out of the government schools. As the program is expanded there would be an increase in options as more low cost schools open. The growth of homeschooling which I don’t believe would be eligible for the vouchers has exploded over the last decade, and I believe will continue. There has been an explosion of free or low cost curriculum made available over the last decade. (ITunesU, Librivox.org) What I don’t understand is with all the advances in technology, the public schools productivity has not changed from the original Prussian methodology of the last century. All I ever hear is complaints about class size and student to teacher ratios. We have as a society spent a fortune on technology in schools and have seen no gains in productivity.

        1. I don’t know exaclty how it is in the US, but I know why investments in technology rarely give good direct gains in German or Dutch schools: the money goes to gadgets, maybe into ipads for the children, a slick upgrade of the class rooms. Usually the school program is state proscribed, and not altered to incorporate the gadgets properly. And no money goes into time for teachers to learn to use these tools and use them. Often, teachers don’t get access to them even (iPad? no not for the teacher!) Also, not into maintainence of those tools, when they are buggy, or defect.

  2. The very wealthy can afford private schools without vouchers or can supplement the public school curriculum with trips and summer camps. Public schools are the most efficient way to educate all of our children. People only send their children to private schools because they want smaller class size. I think the best and most well educated teachers are in the public schools.

  3. We need competition to make our public schools better. Vouchers give parents & students a choice to create competition and better education for our children.

  4. Letter Editor Free Press
    Regarding the Free Press educators administrator’s kickback scandal, I have to agree with Attorney General Schuette’s comment, “The future of our state depends on the education of the next generation. School leaders have an inherent duty to provide and protect our students, not steal from them.” It is my hope Schuette would hold our lawmakers to the same principles.
    Unfortunately that is not happening in Michigan. Billions each year are taken out of our Public Schools Fund to support the privatization of public education through charter schools. In addition, Betsy DeVos, the new secretary of education, has no public education experience, yet she has campaigned to slash funding from public schools to support unaccountable for profit charters.
    Each new charter school has taken a toll on our communities’ public schools costing teachers jobs, promoting larger class size, less monies for the special needs students, encourages a negative work environment and is some instances forcing smaller rural schools to close due to lack of funding.
    It is time for our lawmakers to stop their attack on public education and support the proven programs that enhance our teacher’s ability to educate our youth. I understand it is hard to do what is right when GOP appointee’s must go against the wishes of their big money campaign donors and the lobbyist they support
    Jim Biondolillo

  5. Here, here, to those above for their thoughts and courage to put them to “paper”! I agree and wonder what more can be done. Since the Trump/DeVos team won’t listen to the NEA and other public educators, I wonder what might happen if they looked out their window and saw 1000s+ public school students, carrying signs questioning their qualifications? What if they had to walk through throngs of public school sudents to get to their sanctuaries, often referred to as the Senate and/or House floor? What if they had to explain and justify their choices to ignore their constitutional responsibility to provide public education to all students in the U.S.A.? I just wonder ….

  6. Here, here, to the truths as stated above! If the Trump/DeVos team (of non-public school attendees, as are their “silver-spooned privileged” children) won’t listen to the NEA and other public school educators, perhaps 1000s+ of students in front of the Senate building, House, official’s’ individual office, ( including the White House), local offices (in their home states) and/or anyplace they visit, just might catch their attention?! Hard to ignore. I think of Helen Reddy’s song, and with a few minor change becomes … ” We are students, hear us roar. In numbers too big to ignore ” ……

  7. It’s very difficult to find anyone who knows what to do to improve the public schools let alone the private or voucher schools. They may say they do but do they really? Have they had experience teaching in private or public schools? I attended private (Catholic) schools and colleges (one public college) for 18 years after which I was certified as an elementary school teacher and reading teacher with a masters degree in education and reading specialist certification. I taught as a certified teacher in public schools in Indiana and Florida for 38 years. I retired in 2001 as I could see public education and private education was going down hill as state school systems became too political, with no surprise to me, that politicians know very little about how to improve education. One must have work experience in the public or private schools to get a taste of what could be done to improve them. All schools need to focus on real world experiences to get pupils ready for the real work world from k-college level. Let’s get real. An education that doesn’t prepare students for their future will continue to be a failure.

  8. Neither Trump or DeVos know anything about public schools. They never went to one, sent their kids to one and until recently I doubt that DeVos had ever even been in one. That fact alone should scare the heck out of you. Now we have a lady who doesn’t know aything about the public schools running them. Big mistake!

    What are her credentials that she gave a couple of million dollars to Trump to run his campaign? Unfortunately, I believe that is exacly how she got the job. When congress reviewed her before she got the job was a joke. She had no idea which end was up and the fact that she got the job really makes me question the logic of the whole thing. Trump is surrounding himself with yes men and women and if they get appointed and then they dare to disagree with him he fires them. Trump is just a big bully that might be a good businessman but not a very good President. He doesn’t inspire me with confidence. He scares the heck out of me.

  9. We have s great public school system. Fund. Public schools adequately for dedicated public service teachers. Stop diverting funds into the hands of Politicans . Pay the teachers who have served in the system for combat pay for being on the front lines fighting poverty, and discrimination against the handicapped and disadvantaged! What a slap in the face and disrespect this gives to thousands of dedicated people. Shame on you!

  10. My husband and I are senior citizens. We do not believe in our tax money to be spent on rich private schools. What can we do to stop this terrible ideas ? Is there any group movement willing to fight ? Is there any organization we can join ? We must stop them from taking our tax money to enrich private schools. Public school needs more money to up grade quality of education for today’s students, Teacher’s needs more help, the school’s need computers for all students. Today’s young people, especially students of public school needs to be ready to meet the demands of their job qualifications by good education. The public school need to be the exciting learning place for the young people. Our tax money should only be used toward education for the public schools. Not for the rich private school.

  11. While I went to a private preprtory school for several years as a teen, I kept my kids in public schools right through High School.

  12. Public education is for everyone. Tax payers money used for public schools is for providing our children with a free education to benefit our society as well as the individual.
    Private and religious schools are choice and should not be supported by taxes.
    And will tax payers have a choice which schools receive their tax money.
    Will my tax money be used to support Catholic Schools if I’m an atheist?
    Will my tax money be used to support private schools whose curriculum I disagree without?
    Will my tax money support schools sponsored by the Muslim community,the Jewish community, Fundamentalist Christian ? I will have no say in what is taught in those schools and yet my money will be used to support those ideas being taught…no thank you. Give my taxes to public education that educates all children who attend and schools systems that are accountable to me.

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