Education

More Children Escape from Public Schools!

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no bat boy left behind

The Wall Street Journal reports that 13 states have expanded school choice already this year, and 28 more have legislation pending. Many of the expansions are small spuds: A million or two in tax credits here, a few thousand more vouchers there. But each little escapee from a bad public school (or a bad educational fit at a perfectly decent school) counts: 

Last month alone, Louisiana enhanced its state income tax break for private school tuition; Ohio tripled the number of students eligible for school vouchers; and North Carolina passed a law letting parents of students with special needs claim a tax credit for expenses related to private school tuition and other educational services….

Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma have created or expanded tuition tax credit programs. North Carolina and Tennessee eliminated caps on the number of charter schools. Maine passed its first charter law. Colorado created a voucher program in Douglas County that will provide scholarships for private schools. In Utah, lawmakers passed the Statewide Online Education Program, which allows high school students to access course work on the Internet from public or private schools anywhere in the state.

Plus one more reason to mourn Mitch Daniels' aborted presidential candidacy:

School choice proponents may have had their biggest success in Indiana, where Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation that removes the charter cap, allows all universities to be charter authorizers, and creates a voucher program that enables about half the state's students to attend public or private schools.

Via Susan Meyers of the The Foundation for Educational Choice, who also notes that this month would be Milton Friedman's 99th birthday.

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  1. I hope the focus is on taxpayer choice (eg, in Arizona), rather than the giving-private-schools-a-pipeline-to-the-Treasury kind of choice. Letting taxpayers decide whether to pay for govt schools or a private school of their choice can be justified as fairness – if you’re supporting a private school (for your own kids or someone else’s), then why force you to pay for govt schools as well? This method avoids letting support for private schools pass through the treasury – the latter approach makes private schools vulnerable to “if we pay for it we can require them to have music therapy” -style arguments.

  2. Typo on the alt text. Unless you are saying that’s what Michael Bay’s kids look like.

    1. Actually, I thought it was a picture of Shrike.

    2. Michael Bay does not have human children. His children are his hideously deformed movies, and he plans on having many, many more, until their bloated, repulsive bulk outweighs all the good movies Hollywood ever made and the Dreamworks lot tumbles into the sea.

      1. Where did Michael Bay touch you?

        1. Either his bay or his bat …

      2. Did Michael Bay put sand in your vagina?

        1. He put sand in MINE. That’s why I’m so fucking grumpy all the time.

          1. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

  3. Lost Bricks in the Wall: Another Sign of Our Crumbling Infrastructure

  4. The more people are given a way to choose where to send their kids, the better. I’d be happy with simply getting a refund for the amount of my school taxes, if I choose not to send my kids to public schools. I pay for entirely too much that I don’t use, and any reduction in that, I’m in strong support of.

  5. I wonder if a second or third order effect of increased school choice would be the transformation of some High Schools athlete factories at the expense of substantive academic curriculum not unlike some Universities which I shall not name (cough– Ohio —
    cough— State– cough).

    Not that this possibility in anyway dissuades me from supporting school choice in any form.

    1. Would you care to demonstrate how Ohio State has sacrificed substantive academic curricula in favor of athletics? Last I checked, in the past 10 years, Ohio State has gone from “safety choice” and “big university that acts like a community college” to one with some of the highest retention rates in the state, raised its average ACT/SAT entrance score, and is consistently ranked at the top of public universities in the world. Even though about.com should not be taken at face value for a lot of things, the numbers it has at that link are accurate.

      You picked the wrong school for an example. As a matter of fact, I am hard-pressed to come up with a single example of a school where you could demonstrate that the alleged inverse correlation between athletics and academics even exists. It is a canard and a false dichotomy, usually one propounded by the same kind of hipster douches who “don’t own televisions” and “don’t know who celebrities are”.

      1. I just don’t like Ohio State football… my comment was entirely tongue in cheek. I am well aware that the vast majority of schools have at least some academic merit. A thicker skin would serve you well Rev.

        1. I just don’t like Ohio State football…

          Preach on, brother 35N4P2BYY.

      2. Osu is sill a safety school

    2. In addition, one of the main criticisms of Jim Tressel before his abrupt departure was that he did not run an “athlete factory” (that is, OSU players did not do well in the NFL draft) and that this might hurt future recruiting prospects.

  6. Not a fan of school vouchers ( though I like ending public school monopolies). Vouchers would just create a succubus school industry a la Lockheed dependent solely on government funding. These bitches can be hard to cut as they tend to extremely politically-connected.

    1. right, because tens of thousands of schools competing for millions of students is just like a giant defense contractor in a small (number of companies-wise not money-wise) industry which is solely dependent on government funding.

      1. Even if it did it would still be an improvement.

  7. This one is actually for Katherine – Have you seen any of the Rachel Tabachnick stuff at http://www.talk2action.org (no real reason to go there I know)? She has an on going series on how Libertarians, in their zeal to destroy anything state related, have been sucked into Betsy DeVos’ Christian nationalist campaign to bring us all under her man-and-dinosaur roamed the earth together, ain’t Jesus super campaign. Vouchers, according to her investigation, are a pig-in-a-poke with no real improved outcomes, and no grass-roots support anywhere without her billions. Before everyone jumps all over my shit as they usually do, I am not promoting this nit-wit, just curious as to a response to what are some really damming characterizations of the voucher movement and the players involved. Whole thing can be read here: http://www.alternet.org/teapar…..education/ .

    1. just curious as to a response to what are some really damming characterizations of the voucher movement

      Response: guilt by association and ad hominems are not logical or rational arguing positions. Even assuming that this movement is entirely funded by a Christian nutball, that says absolutely nothing about the pragmatic value of the programs.

      1. Yeah, but it kind of does matter though if there is a purposeful “master plan” behind this. I support the notion of allowing parents to take their kids out of a craptastic school, but I don’t want to trade off a generation being taught by left-wing unionists preaching Big Mamma Govmint is the solution to all their problems to right-wing religious zealots teaching them we live in an exclusively Christian nation on a 6000 year old planet.

        1. Just because Al-Qaeda says they want to re-establish the Muslim Caliphate does not mean we have to act as if they have the ability.

          Ditto DeVos (whoever she is).

        2. Logically, the worst that can happen in the latter scenario is that the percentage of society that believes in kooky shit like that stays similar from generation to generation (and that’s ignoring the fact that contact with the real world after age 18 will disabuse some of the affected of their mistaken notions). Normal people aren’t going to hand their kids over to bible-thumping lunatics even if you do pay for it.

          Government schools, on the other hand, can fuck up the vast majority of the population.

          Besides, since homeschooling is often legal, the kookiest of the kooks are already taking the opportunity to impress their views on their kids. They, along with the wealthy and well-connected, have school choice. Vouchers are about giving that choice to ordinary people — but that does cut into the profits and power of the ed unions.

          1. Both excellent points, and I suppose I do not have an immediate fear of a generation of crusaders being produced. The issue becomes the discussion and the merits of the argument. Since the New Yorker piece everyone who forwards the notion of limiting the state has to have their motives, associations and finances examined, and if there exists a tangential connection to the Kochtapus, then you a part of the conspiracy, you hold no legitimacy, because no rational person would want to limit or reform the power of the State. It is a marvelous device to stifle debate, everything is astro-turfing. Now, in this piece I referenced, an incredible narrative is created which paints the entire voucher movement in the same light. All the Libertarian think tanks and Rhee are portrayed as willing dupes to this “fake” movement. Now if you are a state Legislator or a community organization who has taken a plug nickel or a phone call from DeVos, well then you have no legitimacy, your opinion holds no validity. It is not a far fetched notion; how many times did you hear the name Koch on MSNBC before the New Yorker piece? The object of the exercise is to reframe the debate so you do not have to actually debate the merits of your position – just point and say “booger-man!” You can then list out all your positions and your data and say “see how things can improve” and the retort is always going to be “DeVos lackey”. Then you can talk about measuring performance and school accountability based on market forces, and a page from a Bob Jones U text book showing some horseshit Fred Flintstone antediluvian paradise is flashed on the screen and you really start to lose people. Now I probably give this lady far to much credit in her ability to affect the debate, I do not know anything about her, but my initial point was, and what I have been thinking on is, once entwined, how do you separate the merits of the argument after the notion is forwarded?

    2. Wow… and here I’ve failed to go to church for the last, what, six years?

    3. Rachel = stupid cunt.

  8. What is it with lefties and their conspiracy theories? First, the evil Kochtopus, now, a sinister campaign secretly coordinating the voucher movement.

    Are they just jealous? Do they wish they were part of a secret society controlling the destiny of billions? Can their collectivist minds simply not comprehend anything that isn’t centrally controlled by some cabal, so they make one up whenever needed?

    1. their collectivist minds

      One needn’t be a lefty to be a collectivist. Group-think is a collectivist trait. Where do we see group-think in practice?

      [Looks around]

      Hmmm…

      1. Yes. Horrible that the group think of this bunch is to leave people alone to live their lives as they see fit without intrusion from others. Horrible!

        1. Puppets are not individualists.

          1. You’re the puppet, man, you just don’t know who’s pulling the strings!

            I can play that game all day long…

  9. I was disappointed Louisiana wasn’t mentioned in the article. I guess we’ve been at it for longer than one year. The changes in the New Orleans public schools might break centuries of dependency racketeering.

  10. I’ll be curious whether the voucher programs affect home buying patterns. We paid a premium to buy a home in an “excellent” rated public school district, but if I knew for sure that I could get a $5K private school voucher, I’d almost prefer to live in an underperforming district. (I guess the risk is that the school might improve to mediocre).

    1. School choice should also mean – if you can only send your kids to public school – that you get to choose the school in your area, not just the one your kid is sentenced to due to location.

      Liberals scream about that, too.

  11. How bad would the world really be if there were no required school whatsoever? Think about it. Aside from engineering or chemistry courses at the university level, what did you actually learn from school? How to read? How to write? How to count or do basic arthimetic? No, if you are normal you learned all that shit by age 5, before ever setting foot in school. And you would have easily advanced these skills without the efforts of dumbshit teachers, and branched into things that interested you.

    Kids should do what they/their parents like. I doubt hanging out in a state-run daycare 8 hrs a day for 12 years is what a kid or a (decent) parent would like.

    1. This. Have you read Dumbing Us Down?

  12. One issue where Daniels messed up is by signing into law a bill that uses the number of students graduating in 4 years as a metric to determine funding. As in, if schools have a lot of students taking more than 4 years to get a degree, they don’t get as much funding.

    He didn’t think about schools like Purdue, that have more than a quarter of the student body involved in STEM fields, that would have large numbers of students involved in co-operative education programs and internships requiring the student to take more than 8 semesters to graduate.

  13. The Indiana law could be in some trouble though-it’s being challenged for providing state money to religious institutions and for not providing a “general and uniform” school system, both of which run against provisions of the Indiana Constitution.

    http://indianalawblog.com/arch…..fendi.html

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