Special Ed. voucher bill passes subcommittee….Oh The Humanity!

From the Dalton Daily Citizen:

“I’m generally on the record as being against vouchers, but this bill was sponsored by Eric Johnson, Senate President Pro Tem, and it’s hard to go against the Senate Pro Tem when he comes and asks you to support his legislation,” (Sen. Don Thomas, R-Dalton) said. “Parents should have the opportunity to send their children to another school if the special education student can be better served elsewhere. But I think this bill will have very little impact, if any, in our Northwest Georgia area.”

However, WEA member Ralph Noble of Eastbrook Elementary School said the No Child Left Behind law, which requires teachers such as special education teachers, to be “highly qualified” in their subject areas is leading good teachers to quit the profession.

“We believe this is bad public policy and a lack of oversight. This is a narrow vision on the part of our legislators,” Noble said. “We already don’t have enough special education teachers; they’re overloaded with work, and we’re using many long-term substitutes. Pay raises barely keep up with inflation; there are no incentives, and now you want to give families thousands of dollars to send students to school in Atlanta.”

Hold on a minute. Georgia’s teachers are among the highest paid in the S.E., yet asking them to be “highly qualified in their subject areas” is just too tough for them? Sorry, I don’t buy it.

Furthermore, giving Special Needs parents more educational choices is an insult to the teachers? Again, I’m not buying it.

Perhaps folks like Ralph Noble should focus on actually educating the kids instead of whining about parents who want the best for those kids.

17 comments

  1. Dawgfan says:

    If we don’t have enough Special Ed teachers and the ones we have are overloaded with work isn’t that an argument FOR vouchers. It sounds like if more special needs children had the option of going to private facilities then that would reduce the workload on the current Special Ed teachers.

    If I were cynical I’d think Mr Nobel doesn’t want the students just the money.

  2. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Wow. Another story about whining teachers. They always find something to bitch and whine about. And yet, the General Assembly insists on giving them a raise every year. What they should do is pull a Reagan, and fire them all…I mean really, how much worse can public education in GA get?

  3. Bull Moose says:

    At face value, I agree with the idea of the scholarships for special needs students, however, I think it’s a stalking horse for a court test on public monies for private schools, in particular religious schools.

  4. Demonbeck says:

    I don’t think he’s saying that giving Special Needs parents more educational choices is an insult to the teachers, buzz. What he’s saying is that giving Special Needs parents more educational choices is an insult to the teachers union.

    Geez, get it straight.

  5. Nicki says:

    There are a lot of reasons NOT to pass this bill, actually. Like a complete lack of accountability, like subsidizing private educations for temporary conditions permanently. I just blogged on it — I’m nto entirely decided, but at this point I don’t think the case is good enough for me to support the bill.

  6. Demonbeck says:

    complete lack of accountability? COMPLETE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY!!!!!!??????

    Last time I checked, it wasn’t the private schools in this state that were having problems educating our children.

    If there is any “complete lack of accountability” anywhere, it rests solely at the feet of our public schools.

    God would certainly forbid we send public money to schools that actually achieve their mission of educating the children of this state. That is if He were allowed in the public schools in the first place.

  7. Nicki says:

    “Complete” is probably an overstatement. But I don’t buy the “give me $9K and my special-needs child will live happily ever after with a good education” b.s. because the major factor characterizing a private school is that it isn’t accountable to the public. It’s a business or a non-profit, and it is responsible to its accrediting board — which could be something like SACS, or could be something like a religious authority. So it might be better, it might be worse — but in any case the public will be paying schools which are not required to establish that they actually do what they’re being asked to do.

    Furthermore, I attended prep school and my mother’s a semi-retired public school teacher. My school ruled, and it was an alternative to a public school which lost its accreditation. My mother’s school also rules. So I know what good schools on both sides of the coin can do. But a) I’m not convinced this bill will help educate our children, b) I don’t see adequate safeguards to ensure that it will, or that it won’t be a public boondoggle, and c) I don’t believe that we as the taxpayers should be subsidizing private education.

  8. buzzbrockway says:

    The free market keeps private schools accountable. Just who is holding the public schools accountable?
    Their funding increases by leaps and bounds every year and kids learn less and less every year. While there are a few good public schools out there most private schools in the main perform better.

  9. Demonbeck says:

    Nicki,

    If the public schools were doing their jobs, this bill wouldn’t be necessary or of any concern to anyone. Since the public schools are not working properly and the teacher’s unions know it, they are raising holy hell about the bill. Anything to keep their members from being held accountable to actually performing the task they are paid to do is opposed vehemently.

    I WISH I could send my son to public school knowing that he would receive a good education – but I cannot. I am fortunate that my wife and I can afford to send him to private school. Not everyone is that fortunate though and if this step needs to be taken to hold our state’s schools accountable for their results, then I wholeheartedly support it.

  10. Jeff Emanuel says:

    If the public schools are oh-so-good, then please, do tell — why is it that these “champions of the teachers unions” send their chilluns to the private skrools?

    “Do as I say, not as I….”

  11. Bull Moose says:

    The solution to “fixing” our public schools is not to send all the kids to private schools. You’ve go to think a little bit harder, longer, and in greater scope about the problem with public schools.

  12. Nicki says:

    Actually, the free market does not keep schools accountable. It concentrates poor children in the public schools, which means that the task of educating the entire public becomes a lot harder and more expensive. Public schools, meanwhile, are made accountable by 85 million rules and regulations, the usual standardized testing, etc. I would argue that there is actually more oversight than is useful, but there’s very little (and its nature varies) for private schools.

    The Georgia public schools serve a group of students that are more mobile, from a less educated family, poorer, less likely to be part of a traditional family, less likely to speak english, and in general harder to educate every year. Blaming the schools as a whole for the failures of some, or for the schools’ inability to solve our societal shortcomings, is ridiculous and ineffective. In general it bears noting that private schools get to game their systems such that their student body excludes cases they find challenging, expensive, or just plain futile. The public schools cannot do that.

  13. Demonbeck says:

    So the public schools don’t work because poor kids from dumb families are the only ones that go there?

    I don’t think I would have said that.

    Anyway, if that’s the case, why do you think these children dominate the population of our public schools? Because their parents can’t afford to send them elsewhere.

    Why would their parents want to send them elsewhere if they could afford it? Because public schools – on average – don’t do as good a job as private schools do.

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