Strong support for vouchers in Georgia.

A poll of 1200 likely voters shows strong support for the idea of school choice in Georgia. Here are some highlights of the poll:

* Georgians strongly support school vouchers, both in general and in the context of special education. When asked about a bill currently being debated by the Georgia legislature that would provide school vouchers to special education students, 59 percent said they favored this policy, while only 20 percent were unfavorable. Questions about vouchers in general produced very similar results: 58 percent of Georgians favor school vouchers, while only 22 percent were unfavorable. In addition, if it were up to Georgians a strong majority would choose private and home schools for their children. Fifty-nine percent would select a private school or home school environment versus 27 percent who would choose a public school environment.

* Georgians believe that school choice improves K-12 education. A majority of Georgians (53 percent versus 29 percent) agree that school vouchers improve K-12 education by allowing parents the freedom to choose the best education for their child. In addition, when asked what appeals to them the most about school choice and vouchers, 38 percent cited parents choosing the best school for their children and 21 percent cited better education and curriculum.

* Georgians overwhelmingly believe that parents, not school administrators, are best prepared to make educational choices for children. A resounding 82 percent of Georgia voters think that parents are better able to make educational choices for their children than school administrators; only 12 percent say school administrators know better than parents.

* Georgia voters are more likely to vote for a state representative or senator who supports school vouchers. Four times as many poll respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who supports vouchers (54 percent) as said they would be less likely (13 percent).

* K-12 education is the top priority of Georgia voters. Thirty-three percent picked K-12 education as the most important issue facing Georgia, more than any other issue by a large margin (the next most common response was jobs and economic growth at 21 percent).

Visit Georgia Political Digest for the complete press release.

50 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Buzz, you and I both know that poll was bogus.

    They only surveyed people who were once children in school, parents with children in school, or people thinking of having children and putting them in school.

    Had this poll had an equal number those people, along with an equal number of education union officials, you’d see a much different result.

    🙂 for the sarcasm impaired.

  2. Paul Shuford says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think widespread school choice has a chance unless the politicians in this State start doing what their constituents want, instead of what the teachers’ unions want, even if that means missing out on some campaign donations.

  3. Holly says:

    Is that bill about school vouchers in regards to providing vouchers for special education students to attend private schools, or did I totally dream that up?

  4. Well who wouldn’t believe a poll paid for by the “Alliance For School Choice.”

    I’m sure the questions weren’t anything like:

    Q1: Do you support (rotate):
    A – Giving parents broad choice in their children’s education, including moving them to a different school if their public school is failing, teacher parent meetings to assess their children’s direction and in some cases vouchers if public schools continue to fail, particularly for special needs children

    or

    B – Allowing public school boards to make all decisions regardless of what parents may choose.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    Would it be more fair to ask.

    Q1: Do you support (rotate):
    A – An entitlement program for people with teaching certificates who babysit your children on a daily basis and prepare them for a life where their greatest achievement could be replacing the current Wal-mart greeter

    or

    B – Promoting accountability for schools and teachers to actually teach Georgia’s children.

  6. jaybird says:

    Given that GA scores in the lowest 2 or 3 states on the SAT, changes like this are needed to bring inovation and the private sector into the education monopoly.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    “inovation and the private sector ”

    Ignoring the misspelling, words like that will get you expelled from today’s public schools

  8. StevePerkins says:

    In fairness, Paul Shuford (I really should be checking with my sister on this since she’s a government-schoolteacher)… but doesn’t Georgia not even have teacher unions here? I’m not sure that there’s as much money and organization on the other side of the issue in Georgia as there is in other states… I’m not sure what holds our leaders back.

    As an aside, I think it’s wrong to blame teachers for the problems in public education. Sure, not every public schoolteacher is an Ivy League level educator… but the real problem facing failing schools are the PARENTS in those districts.

    When you have sorry parents that want schoolteachers to raise their kids, yet freak out when teachers apply boundaries or any of the other things necessary to raise a kid, you’re looking at a recipe for disaster. In districts where the parents are failing in their jobs, you either have a strong school administration or you don’t. Where the administration is strong enough to stand up to crappy parents and give their teachers cover, the school tends to do well. Where the administration is weak, only worried about lawsuits, and leaves the teachers out to dry… the result is generally a failing school. No teacher in the world can overcome the failures of both parents and administrators in combination.

    The central issue behind school choice is whether we’re better off being “all in this together”, or whether we are willing to accept inequality as the price for allowing more students to reach their full potential. By allowing students with better parents to “escape” failing schools, people think that’s terrible because it leaves the remaining students behind in an even worse situation (and they have a good point). However, the theory that “good parents” will help compensate for “bad parents” just doesn’t seem to pan out in practice… in reality, the bad parents just drag the good parents down and you hurt kids for no reason.

    I favor more school choice, but I’m not naive or callous enough to pretend that this is a simple or cut-n-dried issue.

  9. Federalist says:

    StevePerkins makes an excellent point, parents do need to be active in their child’s education. Being active does not mean voting on a referendum, or attending PTA meetings or School Board meetings…it means sitting down and taking an active interest in what their children are learning. This “voucher” poll is obviously bogus, I seriously doubt that the sample was random, and furthermore I seriously doubt that the individuals polled know the ins-and-outs of the program. We have a republican form of government for a reason. There are many problems with the current education system, but the voucher system has many more problems (structurally and philosophically) than what we are dealing with right now. Just because 59% of East Cobb county residents polled favor vouchers does not mean that anybody in south georgia even knows what a school voucher is. I would seriously like to see what methodology was employed when conducting this poll, and how they arrived at these conclusions. I smell a foul plot afoot, and the GOP is trying to use “public” support to coax the electorate into supporting a policy they do not even understand.

  10. Nicki says:

    Amen, Steve.

    Also, the poll is bogus. a sample of 1200, questioned by a pro-voucher think tank, and this is construed as broad support for vouchers? Whatever.

    but doesn’t Georgia not even have teacher unions here? I’m not sure that there’s as much money and organization on the other side of the issue in Georgia as there is in other states… I’m not sure what holds our leaders back.

    Completely correct. We don’t have tenure and we don’t have unions with any standing. So there are already fewer barriers to the free-market education ethos than elsewhere. And yet (or perhaps as a result) our stats suck. and always have.

  11. Federalist says:

    Free-market education is something that can be acheived without giving vouchers out, and without a child having to change schools. Here is an idea…get rid of locally elected school boards, they create extreme inefficiencies and insert local prejudices into their districts education. Local education authorities are necessary, but they should not be given the latitude of discretion that they currently exercise. Vouchers, well…they are not “choice” mechanisms. They are coupons for rich people that send their children to private schools. there has been this argument that parents who send their children to private school are being “double-taxed”, because they pay property taxes for the local public school district, and pay tuition at the private school. Then if you can not afford private schooling for your child, you will be given a $3000 check to help put your kid in a private school…yeah right. Does anyone here think for a second that the tuition costs will be the same if avoucher system is employed? The tuition will rise correspondingly (or more because of the increase in demand, and supply is limited). This “choice” being presented by the voucher system argument is a farce.

  12. jsm says:

    Georgia’s teacher union: http://www.gae.org

    If there are people in South Georgia who don’t know what vouchers are, they just might like the concept if someone were to explain it to them. How did we ever get to the place that the public pays a premium cost for status quo (sub-par when compared to the rest of the world) education with parents having no option outside of paying an additional tuition cost? We have a failing education system that needs to change. Government oversight has never produced excellence in education and it never will.

  13. Demonbeck says:

    Federalist,

    Private schools are non-profit organizations created by two things: belief structures and the horrible state of today’s public schools. When vouchers are implemented, you will see a rise in the tuition costs, because private schools will see an influx of new students and will have to accommodate them with new buildings. However, you will also see a rush from local public schools to improve the services they currently (don’t) provide to the children of Georgia.

    I don’t send my son to private school because of religious beliefs or because of safety reasons. I send him there because I want him to have the best education he can get. If I knew he could get that at public school, I’d save my $8,000 a year and put it towards a college fund for him. As it stands, though, public schools in Georgia are a joke – and a bad one at that.

    By offering vouchers, the state can actually increase the amount per student it spends and focus more on the students that need it – while at the same time enable middle and lower class families to send their children to private schools instead.

  14. StevePerkins says:

    Hey guys, don’t cherry-pick my quotes to make it sound like I support something 180-degrees opposite from what I said. I do favor increased choice in education. I’m skeptical of unions, and think that increased centralization of control is an absolutely horrible idea.

    At the same time, people do make a good point about vouchers getting swallowed up by the increases in tuition that would result. Look at how Georgia college tuition soared after the HOPE scholarship was created. Granted, I don’t think it’s fair to call vouchers a “subsidy” when really it’s the opposite of government intervention… but the result is still the same. Sending your kids to private school would likely be no cheaper with a voucher system than without (it would still be a boon to home-schoolers, though).

    JSM,the Ga. Assoc. of Educators is not a “union”… it’s an advocacy organization like the NRA or the AARP. They lobby for legislation, and might help a member find an attorney if he or she gets screwed over by a school district, but they’re not “going on strike” for anybody or anything. So far as I know, there is no collective bargaining in Georgia education.

  15. Federalist says:

    I agree, Ga schools are a joke, but vouchers are going to do nothing to improve them. The state can increase the amt per student if they get their priorities straight, there is not need to pander to the GOP elites that want discounts on private schooling. Furthermore, what makes you think that private schools will allow more students to attend? If a school is non-profit there is no economic incentive to allow more students to attend. I am sure I speak for a majority when I say that I am not “big” government, and the voucher proposition is the second biggest check writing scheme proposed by the GOP (#1 is the Fair Tax plan).

  16. Demonbeck says:

    Federalist,

    If you think that vouchers won’t increase the rolls at private schools considerably, then you are sorely mistaken.

    Vouchers will open opportunities for many families that cannot currently afford to send their children to private school – thereby decreasing these children from the public school rolls and the costs associated with those children. By continuing to spend the same amount for education overall, the state can actually increase the dollars going to the classroom and decrease class size. The teacher to student ratio would become much more manageable empowering teachers to focus on the children who need more time than what they currently get.

  17. Federalist says:

    This is all hypothetical. You can not use words like “will” and “actually.” I think if you paid teachers a good salary, intelligent and capable people will start looking for teaching jobs. My salary finally has gotten to the point were teaching is a well paying profession, but it takes a while. What incentive does a person have to teach when they only make $30k/yr, when they could get an entry level, low stress job earning the same? The same argument can be applied to many government jobs. Judgeships, public defenders, etc. The low pay that all of these government professionals earn is not attracting talent. What I am getting at is that there are so many problems with system, and vouchers will not fix any of them…they will just shift the problems elsewhere. Vouchers will not help lower income families from sending their kids to private school. I will repeat my previous statement, they will provide “coupons” for those who already send their children to private schools. In addition to this, private schools can deny entry to whomever they choose. In addition to this, I will never pay for your child to go to a school that endoctrinates any religion…ever.

  18. jsm says:

    Feder-socialist,
    Making $30k/yr for 9 months of work is a pretty good deal. Also, you pay for children to go to schools that indoctrinate humanism, a religion, right now. Since when do you have a right to say how every student gets taught due to your one little tax bill?

  19. jaybird says:

    Some are arguing that vouchers would drive the cost of private education up. This might happen, but only if the demand goes up. Remember the free market does respond to supply and demand pressures. If the public schools offered an adequate education, few would switch to the private schools, even with vouchers.

    Some are complaining that vouchers would just drive the cost of private education up, but what about the money that we are wasting now on public education. Does anyone believe that the current system gets us the best value for the dollars spent? By introducing some level of competition, public schools would be forced to be more productive or lose funds, jobs and power.

    As for using vouchers for home schooling, this is a great idea. If there are less students going to traditional schools, there will be less need for additional school infrastructure (i.e. buildings, etc.). It is like the utility companies paying us to conserve electricity so they don’t need to build more power plants.

  20. Demonbeck says:

    According to the US Census, in 2005 there were:

    2,358,870 persons under the age of 18 living in Georgia.

    689,516 persons under the age of 5 in Georgia.

    Giving us a total of 1,669,354 elementary through high school age children.

    $7,595,084,428 was budgeted for the State Department of Education.

    If a modest 7% of all of Georgia’s students went to private school in 2005 (past figures back this percentage up), then the State of Georgia spent just over $4900 per student in 2005.

    If an extra 10% left the state rolls because of a $3000 voucher and the 120,000 current private school students took advantage of the vouchers as well. then the state would have paid $870,000,000 in vouchers (based upon the round figure of 290,000 students.)

    This would leave the state with $6,725,084,428 for 1,379,354 students or approximately $4875 in state and federal funds per student.

  21. Demonbeck says:

    The above numbers do not factor in dropouts under the age of 18, nor does it factor in funds provided by local governments either. A 10% decrease in students at the local level would decrease the costs there, while a state-supported voucher system would give them $27 less per student.

    This would give local governments the ability to spend more per student with the reduced class sizes or to reduce taxes in congruence with reduced costs.

  22. Nicki says:

    Here is an idea…get rid of locally elected school boards, they create extreme inefficiencies and insert local prejudices into their districts education.

    Great idea.

    Other potential disadvantages of vouchers:

    They skim the cream from the public schools since only the middle-class can afford to use them. Which means the public schools are left with the students who need more intensive instruction and few high-achieving students.

    They incentivize the creation of private schools, which are less accountable to the public and vary wildly in quality. Particularly the lesser class of private school, since even most mainline religious schools have tuition significantly above $3,000/annum. You will see some fraud as entrepreneurs “educate” kids with an eye more on the bottom line than on the education.

  23. Holly says:

    First of all, Georgia does have GAE, but it doesn’t function as a true union. Teachers cannot strike in this state, and GAE doesn’t have the teeth that a true union would have in things like negotiating contracts.

    Secondly, about the SAT scores. . . I really hate to poke a hole in your balloon, folks, but we give everyone the opportunity to take the SAT and participate in the college prep program in this state. And Georgia reports all the scores, whereas states like South Dakota have high scores by only allowing the top 5% of their high school students to take the SAT. Everyone else must take the ACT. Therefore, South Dakota has a far higher score than Georgia. If Georgia only reported the top 5% of its students’ SAT scores, we’d be far higher in the rankings.

    Georgia’s public education has many problems. It also has many strengths. This state is the leader in gifted education, and we have one of the best pre-K programs in the country. Individual Georgia public schools have made US News & World Report‘s top schools lits. To flat out say Georgia education is a joke is unfair.

    School districts, and even schools within the same district, are all different. Some are really good, some are really bad, and most are somewhere in the middle. Even the best schools can work to improve, and they should. But don’t write off kids in this state in the public education system. There are bright spots!

  24. Demonbeck says:

    There are far too few bright spots to create much light Holly.

    It is going to take a little sunshine and lifting the veil off of some people’s heads before we all see the light. This bill begins that process.

  25. Doug Deal says:

    Holly,

    Even if the ACT is used, Georgia still ranks 40th. The same logic you use to explain why other states have inflated SAT’s, should work in Georgia’s favor here, but doesn’t.

    Also, SD does not forbid students from taking the SAT that fall outside of the top 5 percent, that you claim. The ACT is the test of choice of Midwestern schools, and that is why few kids take the SAT.

    I went to high school in Ohio, and I was appalled by the horrible education given the supposed elite Georgia students when I can to tech.

    In my Freshmen english classes, I had to double check that it wasn’t English as a Second Language, as the peer review process was painful.

    When Georgia parents stop equating a quality football team with academic excellence, perhaps then things will get better. Until then, they will mire in the 50’s on all the rankings.

  26. Holly says:

    I’m a terrible pessimist when it comes to legislation about education. I think legislators are well-meaning, but I think few actually understand education well enough to write legislation that will help the system. The proof is in the fact that public education isn’t “improving”, no matter what bills are passed. This is why I’m so skeptical of the bill regarding special education vouchers.

    However, I still think it’s wrong to write off all students in public schools in Georgia or to call the state’s education a “joke”. It’s not as bad overall as it’s made out to be.

  27. jsm says:

    “However, I still think it’s wrong to write off all students in public schools in Georgia or to call the state’s education a ‘joke’. It’s not as bad overall as it’s made out to be.”

    That’s a nice statement and all, but you need something to back it up.

  28. Holly says:

    jsm, the last paragraph of my first post should do just that, but here are some other examples that Georgia education isn’t completely terrible:

    1. Georgia was the only state to receive an A ranking by Education Week‘s 2007 State Technology Grades. (If you click on the state, you get a PDF explaining the state’s score.)

    2. The College Board’s recent Report to the Nation states that over a quarter of all Georgia public school students in the class of 2006 participated in at least one Advanced Placement test. 14.8% of all Georgia public school students in the class of 2006 scored a 3 or better on these exams. Some statistical data can be found here.

    3. The graduation rate, while only 70.8% (which I readily admit isn’t great), is the highest it’s ever been for the state.

    4. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave Georgia’s public school curriculum at B+ in their 2006 rankings, which gives the state a ranking of the fifth best curriculum in the United States.

    5. In 2004, a Georgia public school – John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School – was named the Grammy School of Distinction.

    That’s just what I could drum up in a short bit of time, but as a Georgia public school product, I tend to think I am a testament to how the school system does work for those who appreciate and utilize the resources available.

    Also, Doug, can you get me a link to where you’re getting that information? I’ve never seen it before, so I’d like to read the findings.

    “When Georgia parents stop equating a quality football team with academic excellence, perhaps then things will get better. Until then, they will mire in the 50’s on all the rankings.”

    I think you’re right that priorities are screwed up, and that parental involvement is the only thing that will truly improve the overall education rankings in this state. However, I do think that a good education is offered in the public schools for those who want it, want being the key.

  29. Doug Deal says:

    Holly,

    11 alive story

    Here they actually act as if being “ahead of 11 other states” is something to be proud of. It actually means GA is 39 when using ACT. That means when GA is using it’s best and brightest (the few that take the ACT) they are still bottom quartile.

  30. Doug Deal says:

    Holly,

    Also, I too think a good education is definitely there for anyone who wants it. Sadly, few want to take control of their own education. People want to be handed everything, and not have to expend individual effort.

  31. Demonbeck says:

    Holly,

    You should stop talking while your head is stuck in the sand.

    You’ll get sand all in your mouth.

  32. Holly says:

    Dear Demonbeck,

    I can see you disagree with me. However, I’m going to respect your decision to hold a different opinion and not resort to snide remarks, as it doesn’t help further either side of the debate and only serves to make the person who does so look petty.

    Yours,

    Holly Croft

  33. Federalist says:

    Humanism is not a religion, it is not even real. It is a made up “ism” that you cons use to make yourselves look pious. Schools teach science, and science is no religion, science ends religion.

  34. jsm says:

    From http://www.humanists.org/hum_lamont.htm:

    “Humanism, having its ultimate faith in humankind, believes that human beings possess the power or potentiality of solving their own problems, through reliance primarily upon reason and scientific method applied with courage and vision.”

    Not a religion? It involves FAITH in the human race. Call it what you want to, but children are being indoctrinated in this faith in our public schools.

  35. Demonbeck says:

    Yes, I certainly do have a different opinion than you. It is backed up by many sources that have shown time and again that Georgia’s public school system in in a state of disarray and is not doing a proper job of educating the youth of this state.

    To argue otherwise or to argue against the need for drastic changes is ridiculous. To expect anyone to respond those arguments seriously is asinine.

    I’ll stop making snide remarks about your position when you stop wasting our time.

    I’m sure the GAE will tell you to respond with a survey of their own showing that 93% of Georgians believe that our state’s public schools are doing good. While the remaining 7% – being private school graduates – will correct their grammar.

  36. Holly says:

    Have you ever needed to correct my grammar? I’m sorry, Demonbeck, I can’t recall that happening.

    My point was not that we are a glowing example of a great education system, but simply that writing off all students in the system was wrong. I took offense to education here being labeled as a “joke”, and I provided examples of positive things that the state is doing.

    As I said to Doug, the education provided is solid for those who take the opportunity to get it. Parental involvement is key – which I’ve already stated above. That’s what makes the difference in how a child is educated, not whether the child went to a private or public school. Parents who are involved in their children’s public education are just as likely to groom well-spoken adults as those parents involved in their children’s private school education. The reason that I believe that private school students fare better academically than public school students is not in the quality of instruction available, but rather in the students’ attitudes toward education overall – attitudes that are reinforced at home. Private school students are far more likely to have parents who encourage them academically than public school students, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t parents of public school students who do.

    I attended great public schools in this state. I had two involved parents. I feel as though my education was as good as any private institution could offer.

    What’s the difference in me and someone who can barely write or spell? My parents valued education and made sure I did as well.

  37. Federalist says:

    jsm,
    you just described Cartesianism, humanism is a made up idea used to rile you and your kind up, to get you to the polls and putting dollars in the offering plate. The enlightenment, from which America was born, gave way to human thought and reason, which are requisite of an education. What do you propose? Orders and Obedience? You know, the Nazi’s were opposed to enlightened reasoning, and rational thought…you aren’t a Nazi are you?

  38. Demonbeck says:

    Holly,

    I never said the failing students in Georgia’s public school system are the problem. The system is failing the students.

    It’s the system as a whole that is a joke and if you are a teacher, a legislator or an administrator – then you are part of that system and are failing the children of this state.

    As a teacher, your hands are bound by the administrators and the legislators and there is not much you can do about it – aside from telling your union to stick it where the sun does not shine.

    Administrators are apparently in bed with the teacher’s unions and the legislators are afraid of the teachers. Good parents are too busy teaching their children the stuff they need to know to succeed in life. Bad parents are too lazy to care.

    At some point, someone has got to move some effective changes through or this state is going to go down the toilet. This private school parent applauds Senator Eric Johnson for having the cajones to stand up for the children of this state.

  39. jsm says:

    Feder-socialist, that came from a HUMANIST web site. Go debate it with them. As for the other mumbo-jumbo about the enlightenment–I have no idea how that relates to this thread. America was not born out of the Enlightenment. I don’t deny its affect on some of the Founding Fathers, but it did not birth America.

  40. Holly says:

    Demonbeck,

    I’m going to say something horrible politically incorrect, but as someone who used to teach in a Georgia public classroom, I stand by it wholeheartedly:

    Until we get rid of the sad notion that public schools are the afternoon nanny / parent / guidance counselor / psychiatrist / moral compass / romper room in addition to the education system, it will be difficult for any legislation to help, regardless if it’s vouchers or NCLB or end of course tests. The most well-meaning, well-written ideas will fall flat until parents step up and take responsibility for their children’s education.

    Now, clearly, many parents do this, such as yourself. I’m grateful to see that. But you’re becoming an exception, Demonbeck, rather than the norm.

    To many of my students when I was teaching, there was this entitlement attitude: “You should give me something for nothing.” In this case, it was them expecting at least a B when they didn’t study, didn’t complete assignments, and didn’t do well on tests, so that they could still qualify for HOPE. And when I tried to get in touch with their parents, I’d get few who wanted to work with me to help their children improve. These same parents were the ones who were crying foul to the administration when their child failed for the six weeks about how unfair I was and how my class was too hard for their child.

    Contrast that to the far fewer parents of my students who actually called me – one of whom was worried when her daughter made an 81 on a test and wanted to know what they could work on at home to help her get back to an A. Of those students, none failed my class.

    I certainly didn’t give the students with involved parents easier tasks than the others. All were provided with the same material, and I stayed late everyday, making myself available for extra help, which was open to all my students.

    My point is that those who took the opportunity to learn did so and performed well. I have to believe that even with vouchers, the students with parents who don’t care to be involved won’t do well in the private schools. The only difference, of course, in the public and private schools at that point will be that the private schools will have the option of kicking the low performers and troublemakers out.

    Will vouchers work for some students? Of course. Will it fix the core attitudes of the ones dragging down the public system now? Not likely.

  41. Demonbeck says:

    I applaud your willingness to work overtime to help your students. However, until the Legislature finds a way to outlaw stupidity and bad parenting, we cannot change either.

    Vouchers will get a good number of students who want to excel out of the public schools and into the private schools – where parents can be forced to get involved.

    The core students who are dragging down the system will then have more individual time with their teachers because public school rolls will decrease. More money will be able to make it to the classroom, because expenses will decrease as a result of the decline in students at our public schools.

    Public schools will have to compete for funding so they will be forced to provide a better product than they currently offer.

    And if it doesn’t work, then people simply won’t use the vouchers and send their kids to public schools – like they do now.

    At worst, vouchers will enable some kids to get a better education than they currently do, while none will receive anything worse than what is currently offered. No one seems to be arguing that point – yet nothing is happening.

  42. Holly says:

    I am not disagreeing with your “at worst” comment, because I think you’re right. I do believe that vouchers will help get some students to better situations, but again, I’m going to say that vouchers are only going to go so far.

    The point where I think you’re too optimistic is the “private schools – where parents can be forced to get involved”. If that happens, and I’m wrong, hooray! You have no idea how much I’d like to be wrong. But somehow I don’t think lazy parents are going to get involved, no matter where their children are in school. I think what you’re going to see is lots of students being asked to leave the private schools for not cutting it. Call it me being a pessimist, but that’s my prediction.

    Sadly, no, we cannot outlaw stupidity. This is America; we’re free to be a dumb as we want!

    One thing that I do think we should be looking at in the different school districts is the model of Charlotte, NC. They’ve made all of their public high schools into magnet schools, each with a different specialization that interests the students who attend. Students and parents are required to sign a contract upon entering the schools, placing responsibility on them. However, the schools are still publicly funded, so it’s not quite the same as vouchers for private schools. I’d like to see it tried here in Georgia, since it’s helped improve the Charlotte school system. Several counties here have some magnet schools now, but the concept of turning every last one of them into such has not happened as of yet.

  43. Demonbeck says:

    Magnet schools are an excellent option that I would not be opposed to.

    “I do believe that vouchers will help get some students to better situations, but again, I’m going to say that vouchers are only going to go so far.”

    They may not be the final answer, but at least they are better than what we’ve got right now. Anything is a step in the right direction.

  44. Holly says:

    “Anything is a step in the right direction.”

    Hm. . . I’m not so sure about that, but I’ll agree with you on the vouchers. Deal?

  45. GOPeach says:

    “Having served as a public school teacher in Colorado and as the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Regional Representative, I have earned real world knowledge of how to best educate America’s children. Control over the education of our children must be in the hands of the parents. I believe in the ability of parents to choose the educational path best suited for their children. I support tax credits for families who choose to allow their children to attend any other institution whether it be a private, parochial, or home school. I oppose increased federal involvement in education, and broke ranks with my party to oppose the No Child Left Behind Act for that reason.”

    Congressman [President] Tom Tancredo
    http://www.teamtancredo.com/default.asp

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