Vouchers and the "New" Black Leadership

Tom Grayman is a pollster, publisher of The Intelligence Squad website, and author of the book Ghosts of Florida: Making Elections Fair for Blacks.

An article in yesterday's New York Times tells of how school vouchers are a hot-button issue in the Newark, NJ mayoral race. Cory Booker, part of so-called "new" wave of black leadership is for them, while his chief opponent, Deputy Mayor and "old guard" candidate Ronald Rice, is against them.

Vouchers may be the policy issue generating the greatest schism within the black community today. Polls show something like 60% of blacks support private school vouchers in theory, though that support drops to a minority when respondents are forced to consider the ramifications (typically a decrease in public school funding)of a private school voucher program. Blacks living in districts in which the public schools underperform see such vouchers as a chance at an escape for their children. Others, particularly those without school-age children see them as an attack on public schools.

Old-schoolers like Newark's Rice and the Democratic Party establishment attack voucher-friendly candidates like Booker as tools of a white conservative movement to undermine public schools. That's an unfair jab (though not unexpected considering that Booker has shown a taste for associating with white conservative institutions): Booker almost certainly genuinely believes that vouchers will help the black children of Newark, whether they are backed by white conservatives or not. But out of deference to the feeling that vouchers suck funds out of the public schools in which the overwhelming majority of Newark's black students will continue to be educated, voucher program or no, Booker has dialed back his full-throated support. He now talks of a voucher program funded not with direct tax dollars, but with private contributions spurred by tax incentives. In his vision, this plan would not divert any funds away from Newark's public schools (guess the incentives will come from some other budget line). It's not clear, however, how stable a program like that can be if it is based entirely on private contributions.

Now look at what's happening in Omaha, Nebraska. The state legislature voted last week to divide the school system into 3 districts which will be heavily defined by race: one mostly white, one mostly black, one heavily Hispanic.

While this likely strikes most of us here as shockingly backward, it is worth noting that one of the strongest proponents of the plan was the legislature's sole black member, Ernie Chambers. And Chambers is an old-school ultra-liberal.

To him, the segregation plan will send greater financial resources to the black schools in his district (assuming each new subdistrict receives one-third of the city's funds) and allow for more localized control than the current citywide school board does.

In many municipalities around the US, blacks already attend de facto segregated public schools, as a result geography and/or personal finances. In many cases, the black schools in those locations do not receive funds equal to those of the predominantly white ones of the same city/county/state. In that context, some black community and government leaders are starting to decide that "seperate" -- as long it is financially "equal" -- may not be such a bad thing.

So in one case you have renegade black leaders lobbying for tax dollars to be used to send a handful of poor black kids to the same schools as wealthier whites, and on the other hand you have renegade black leaders looking to have the tax dollars flow to the black schools by deciding officially not to try to enter the more exclusive white school zones.

Escaping bad schools or grabbing more resources and control over them. Both approaches are "new" and at the same time, old. Both approaches are controversial. Both have severe limitations. And both approaches have African-American leaders as proponents.

I don't claim to have a definitive answer as to which, if either, is right for African-American schoolchildren. But I do know that we should always be willing to consider and evaluate sincere proposals for improving public education, regardless of the labels slapped on the proponents of such plans by their opponents or the media.

Tags: African-Americans, Cory Booker, Omaha, school vouchers, segregation (all tags)



Re: Vouchers

Good post, Tom.  I think vouchers are a terrible idea, but I think you're right to point out that the idea has good-faith supporters beyond the conservatives who simply want to destroy the public school system (the same way they want to destroy the UN, the judiciary, and every other institution that doesn't see things their way).

The fundamental point is that the state of our inner cities, and the state of inner-city education, is a huge problem in this country.  It is our solemn duty as progressives to make things better.  One part of this is getting rid of old-style urban machine politics that focuses more on graft and consolidating power than on good public policy solutions.  But you can have the most progressive mayor in the country, and you still won't be able to fix anything unless you have financial support at the state and federal levels.

But the bottom line is, progressives simply need to get things done, or we can't blame people if they turn to someone else's flawed solutions.

by Steve M 2006-04-18 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers and the "New" Black

It's the Cory campaign worker again, Tom. Great post. I thought the Times did a good job describing Cory's take on vouchers, and the valid reasons both for and against vouchers in a place like Newark, and how a sort of deeper and broader evaluation of the state of the city's education system has led to the agenda items Cory' currently emphasizes (as he's de-emphasized vouchers). FWIW, this go-round, he's really been doing his homework on all the options and ideas out there in an effort to come up with the most broadly effective solutions.

BTW, the focus on safety is a result of a kind of "bottom up" theory that a foundational component to learning is a learning-friendly environment; clearly, safety is critical. I think other physical infrastructure issues also would be addressed.

by jamfan 2006-04-18 03:08PM | 0 recs
Education, Vouchers, and the Free Market

If we could fully fund our schools and still give vouchers I wouldn't have a problem with them. Government spending is bad because it's less efficient than free-market spending, but spending on education is so worthwhile, such a good investment over the long term, we shouldn't worry about any increases in taxes or government spending that go directly to education.

On the other hand, vouchers for private schools that lower the real cost to consumers, while partially effective at increasing consumption of private schools (that's the goal) will also -- depending on price elasticity of private school demand -- increase the fair price of private schools (that's the waste). So the GOP's problem with government involvement in the free market is fully functional in the case of school vouchers, suggesting that government funds are more efficiently spent on public schools.

by msnook 2006-04-18 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Education, Vouchers, and the Free Market

"Government spending is bad because it's less efficient than free-market spending"

This is just false.  Corporatists have a complaint with the systems required in a democracy that provide accountability and transparency, and use the word "inefficient" to describe such systems.  But even with "inefficient" democracy, once you start looking at specific examples like Medicare you find that government is vastly more efficient. Perhaps this is because democracy really is a better system

"effective at increasing consumption of private schools (that's the goal)"

The public, when given an honest choice instead of linguistic trickery, told that the goal of the "voucher" movement is getting rid of public education, always chooses to keep public education.  That is why voucher ballot initiatives always lose.

by davej 2006-04-18 04:53PM | 0 recs
Instead of vouchers

In VT (admittedly tiny), Dean essentially grabbed all school funds and split them up equitably based on school population.

I really believe the only solution to the imbalances in our education system is to do the same at a federal level -- the Feds should collect all school tax monies and then divide them up on a per pupil basis across the country.

I do see the risks of national politics messing with all of the education money, but it seems to me that, if we can get it together to make Social Security and Medicare work, we should be able to do this, too.

by Bill Rehm 2006-04-18 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Instead of vouchers

Bill, the only way I support a non voucher system is if they do what you propose.,

by Pravin 2006-04-18 11:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

I don't understand how vouchers work. Here in the Atlanta area, a good private school will run $8,000-$11,000 per year and as I understand it the vouchers are usually only for about $2500. You can't even get the worst private school for that amount of money. It seems to me that vouchers wouldn't really make much of a difference since the family would still have to come up with tuition money.

by Ga6thDem 2006-04-18 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Well, exactly.  It would help some middle-class families, who are at the threshold of being able to afford to do it.

The whole idea is the the free market will solve it all, and that schools will pop up that will serve the market at a cost of whatever the voucher is.  It is beyond absurd, for a whole host of reasons.

by DanielUA 2006-04-18 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

In my opinion the underlying goal isn't about helping poor families escape failing school systems, it is about securing another tax break for the wealthy.  You are right, how many poor folk are going to be able to take a $2500 voucher and pay for a private school costing more than $10,000.  In addition to the cash, they also need to get their children to these schools.  For folks that are scraping by with several jobs, and need to rely on public transportation, this responsibility typically proves unmanageable.  The vast majority of the poor are not going to be able to, or have the wherewithal to take advantage of a voucher.

But as a tactic it makes sense.  Go ahead and start with vouchers for the poor folk.  Not that many of them are going to be able to use them anyway.  The primary objective is simply helping vouchers become acceptable and commonplace.  Once they are acceptable it is not a stretch to extend that benefit to all families.  

In the end who takes advantage of vouchers?  It will be the wealthy that already send their children to private school.  Is it fair that the wealthy should have to pay for the local public school, when they don't send their children to one?  Why should they not get a voucher to help offset the tax money they contribute towards a school system they are not using?

School vouchers to help poor kids escape failing schools is a red herring.  This is about the wealthy.

by lbashaw 2006-04-18 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Such systems can already be fixed by putting an upper limit on the income. Or simply, any school that accepts public voucher funds can be mandated to show a diversity of student body makeup.

Whatever reason the rich may have, it is irrelevant for what ails the poor students right now. All the preaching about how the conservatives want to raid the public school system is not going to fix what ails the neighborhood public schools of poor black kids. I do not see liberal leaders of any significance pushing for a strong solution with decent ideas.

Some reader pointed out Dean taking state funds and dividing it equally. I would be down with sucha plan. Otherwise, liberal leaders are letting their heart rule over their head on this matter because you are still not addressing how you can improve public school education in poor communities RIGHT NOW.

by Pravin 2006-04-18 11:11PM | 0 recs
The liberal side of me screams for vouchers

THe idea behind vouchers is to help those who feel strong enough to leave the public school system to go seek another alternative. The idea is not to let people who want to move kids on a whim. So I see the logic in not giving a voucher equal to the per student cost in the public school. I personally think 5000 is a more appropriate amount than 2500. Also it will not drain local public school funds as much as you think. The costs for the public school will go down a little bit because of lower student enrollment. The fixed costs will still be the same, but the variable costs will go down.

As far as some black leaders wanting vouchers, it makes perfect sense. While I am libertarian on some issues, it is the liberal side of me that cries out for vouchers. We can dicker around trying to propose improvements in public school system, and in the meantime another ENTIRE GENERATION WILL BE STUCK in their neighborhood school. You may propose why the parent of this potential voucher kid doenst get on the school board and improve education. Here is my answer. The school board system is for communities which have parents with the freaking spare time to take an interest in their kids. A lot of parents in the lower income communities are battling many problems, even the ones with good intentions. They barely are able to feed their kids. A voucher system will help those who can save a little to get into a private school catering to lower income students. You introduce vouchers and this niche will be formed for those who can only afford to pay less than 10,000. Another variation would be to require schools that accept vouchers to give a certain percentage of their lower income students financial aid. It is the same concept that works in private colleges.

Will this cure our system? NO. But the parents who desperately need to give their kids a decent education will be able to without waiting for their neighborhood school board to figure things out. I have seen this work in India very well. Private schools compete ferociously with each other and poor families save enough to send their kids to this school and while it may be inconvenient for them to do so in the short term, it pays off fabulously for the family. Over in teh US, education is so expensive, poor and middle class families will need the vouchers.

THey could also put an income limit on vouchers to prevent the almost certain draining of the system by rich parents. But then again, go to a community like Belmont, MA and the rich parents have no inclination to leave their public school system because it is so fabulous thanks to the community being so educated and prosperous. A luxury lacking in lower income communities.

by Pravin 2006-04-18 10:57PM | 0 recs
Re: The liberal side of me screams for vouchers

So vouchers are about getting around that pesky democracy and community thing, for a more corporatist approach?

by davej 2006-04-19 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The liberal side of me screams for vouchers

Show me where it is a constitutional requirement or a necessary part of defining a democracy that a school has to be a neighborhood publicly RUN thing. Using the word corporate is such a straw man argument. The problem with a typical solution is the presence of entrenched interests. It could be corporate. It could be school board members who are religious wackos. Read up on what is going on with Upper St Clair and the IB program. I put up a diary, none of you anti voucher people even gave a shit.

Oh, why don't you apply the community spirit to immigrants - legal or illegal- and ask them all to stay in their communities and improving them without coming to the US for better opportunities. Sometimes, school districts are so messed up, it takes a few people to seek solutions outside the district to give people left behind a perspective of what can or cannot be done.

LIke I said, are you all willing to accept my challenge. Fight for legislation where all your kids will be sent to a random public school where you have no say in the choice.

Davej, your disinengenuous answer ignores the fact that a family will be more inclined to GETTING AROUND THAT COMMUNITY THING by abandoning their neighborhood to get into a better public school. They are probably not any more willing to waste their entire lives reforming their local community under the current system as they would with a voucher system.

by Pravin 2006-04-20 08:13AM | 0 recs
fighting for scraps

is always a losing proposition. that being said, i understand the dire situation that has these pols trying to do something - anything - to make the best of a terrible situation. every school ought to have the same level of funding and community/political support as the suburban one that i went to. there has got to be a better way.

by wu ming 2006-04-18 08:09PM | 0 recs

Let us be flexible about vouchers.
I propose that we allow experimentation.

Looking at the problems facing our public schools and cost burdens, I suggest we advocate a national voucher program targeted at special needs students. Then we can really see how the private sector responds,

by Judeling 2006-04-18 08:27PM | 0 recs
If you are a true liberal

Then demand that all public schools get the same per student funding adjusted to a regional cost index or let poor and middle class families use vouchers. WIth the increased demand, more private schools which are not as preppy will spring up.

Or at least get rid of the concept of a neighborhood school. A poor family should not have to fake an address in a good zip code. If the student is hard working or intelligent enough, he or she should be able to transfer to a public school of choice as long as he/she meets the requirements.

by Pravin 2006-04-18 11:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Judeling., my reply wasnt directed at your comment, by the way.

by Pravin 2006-04-18 11:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Experimentation in bad policy is still bad policy, just on a smaller scale.  

Experimentation in bad policy is still bad policy, and increases the likelihood that the bad policy will be expanded.

by nathan 2006-04-19 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Saying it is bad policy won't make it bad policy. Our universities are doing quite nicely with a good mix of public and private.

I see a lot of fear mongering here. I still have not seen any decent solutions offered by anyone here as alternatives to vouchers for letting the current generation of black students in poor communities have access to better education. Well, there was one - someone talked about pooling public school money at a national or state level and distributing it equally. It is still not a complete solution though. It's not just money that is lacking in some communities - but a good set of administrators and school board members. You can throw all the money you want. It will help with infrastructure. But you still got to have a good system. It is not that easy.

by Pravin 2006-04-20 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Bookers Plan

. But out of deference to the feeling that vouchers suck funds out of the public schools in which the overwhelming majority of Newark's black students will continue to be educated, voucher program or no, Booker has dialed back his full-throated support. He now talks of a voucher program funded not with direct tax dollars, but with private contributions spurred by tax incentives.

Programs funded with tax incentives are programs funded by tax dollars.  Those dollars not paid by companies providing vouchers are going to have to be made up somewhere else, and in New Jersey that usually means property taxes for schools.  So now this program is shifting the school burden from corporations to residents.


This is also just another attempt to get a foot in the door to say, "See, it's not so bad" and move into it full force.  It's dishonest and I don't trust it.

Booker is going to be Mayor, and the Mayor has a LOT of sway over the schools in Newark.  Booker is also very popular and can easily push to get good people who want to fix the schools on the School Board and in jobs in the schools.

Instead of running away from public education and what it means to a Democracy -- a guaranteed basic level of education for everyone -- we should be embracing it and making the tough choices to fix it for this century.

by nathan 2006-04-19 03:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Bookers Plan

Any significant voucher system would have to be approved through the state house.  Booker knows that he can't implement vouchers on his own.  I believe that he is sincere in his belief that vouchers would improve the education system (on that belief, I am agnostic, leaning against it).  But he knows that he can't implement them, and to talk about it too much just means that he is making a promise that he can't keep.  This is particularly unattractive when you recognize that although there are some families in Newark that might want to try vouchers, others are opposed or just don't care.

I'd be shocked if Booker tries to even talk about implementing a major voucher program.  Based on what he's talking about now, it sounds little more than raising private scholarship money for inner city kids, with perhaps some government facilitation through tax credits.

by JPhurst 2006-04-19 05:41AM | 0 recs

Couldn't we just goto the root of the problem and instead of cutting school funding, raise it or at least stop cutting it.  Or we pay teachers more.  I think if teachers were paid more, there would in theory be more qualified people that would go into teaching.  

by Gigadafud 2006-04-19 03:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

For all of their talk, vouchers do not gain much political traction.  This is largely because of CONSERVATIVE opposition.  I'll say that again, CONSERVATIVE opposition.

Ideological conservatives, particularly of the libertarian persuasion, support vouchers.  But conservative constituencies generally do not support them.

First, you have wealthy suburban voters.  These voters LIKE the current system.  They have largely segregated schools funded from their property tax base.  Most suburban schools are ok.  Why divert funding through vouchers?

You also have the white ethnics in urban areas who send their kids to private, usually parochial schools.  And let's face it, there is a bit of racism in that community.  They don't want "those people" coming to their schools with vouchers.

So while conservative politicans may pay lip service to the idea of vouchers, you will never see state representatives, even republican ones, give it much salience.  Their constituents just don't want it.

Bret Schundler made school vouchers a major part of his campaign against McGreevey when he ran for governor in 2001.  It got him nowhere.  It is a loser issue for Republicans.

by JPhurst 2006-04-19 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Vouchers

Thank you for that comment. We don't have to have the same solutions in mind but I agree with your assessment of how social conservatives love the current system even if they have reservations(let's face it, these bastards always want more more more and will never be truly happy until they get 100% of what they want). You are one of the few here who hasn't spouted the conventional wisdom on this topic.

by Pravin 2006-04-20 08:32AM | 0 recs
News and Notes this morning...

Was anyone listening to News and Notes this morning?  Did you hear the commentary by Joseph C. Phillips?  My jaw dropped when I heard him equate running a school to running a business.  Then somehow he conflated that with school vouchers.  Basically that adding some free market economics would somehow fix our schools.

In the state of Florida we have such a program in place.  If a child is enrolled in an underperforming public school, the parents have the option of getting a school voucher (the constitutionality of this program is being tested right now).

Theoretically, this child would then get a better education.  Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether that child is doing better or worse at the private school because once the child starts going to private school there is no mechanism for the state to measure that child's success or failure.

You see, private schoolchildren do not have to take any standardized tests in Florida.

Now here's the real problem with this scheme.  Once the child is removed from the public school, the funds for that child are removed from the school.  As more children are removed from a given school, the resources dwindle to the point where the school collapses under the burden.

Public schools are not a business.  Public schools must teach all children, from every socio-economic strata imaginable.  Public schools teach talented kids as well as slow learners.  Public schools must deal with every problem child that walks into the building.

Private schools on the other hand have the option of accepting or declining any student based on their own arbitrary enrollment policies.  Most private schools do not have facilities for slow learners.  Most private schools do not have facilites for the legions of immigrant children in the state of Florida that require some form of ESL.  Most private schools cater to people of a certain class or religious point of view.

I'm sorry... I just don't see how vouchers can work in our current system.  Sure, public schools need help, but giving up isn't the answer.


p.s.  wow, that was much longer than I expected.  sorry.

by samizdat 2006-04-19 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: News and Notes this morning...

"Private schools on the other hand have the option of accepting or declining any student based on their own arbitrary enrollment policies."

Exactly!  The reason you hear these high cost-per-pupil figures for public schools is they are required to provide services for costly special-needs kids.  Private schools just refuse to let them in.

If you think about private schools as a business, it obviously would not be possible for them to compete with public schools if they had to provide the same level of services that public schools do, pay teachers the same, AND pay their CEO his $100 million? You know they are going to cut costs by sacrificing the quality.

by davej 2006-04-19 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Community Building

"What is the lesson that children learn first and best from school vouchers (whether they receive one or not)?  Poor neighborhoods are to be escaped, not improved."
Sorry for the angry tone , people. But I am furious with democrats on this topic. DOn't get me wrong. I dont trust the republicans either because I know exactly why some of them want vouchers. I will not argue with you on that point.

Don't put the burden of improvement of an impoverished neighborhood on a few black(I am going to focus more on African Americans because of the topic and the probability factor) families that want to escape. Many poor African Americans are caught in a viscious cycle. Until WE ALL figure out how to improve public school education, we must allow parents who WANT TO AND NEED TO escape this system to do so. It sure beats moving to neighborhoods for better schools or FAKING AN ADDRESS IN A BETTER COMMUNITY. So far , and this is not directed at you Lucas, all I have seen from people against vouchers is the sentiment that we just can't allow rich white conservatives to declare victory or other sentiments similar to that. What offends me is not the content of most of the messages here, but "we got time to improve, so why cant families just dig in " aspect of the conversations here. You know what, who the hell cares? That' talk only people not stuck without options have the luxury to pontificate. You dont have that desperation to find a quality education for your kids immeidately and so you guys just can sit and wonder what a better system is.

Private is not bad. After all, public school system is not without entrenched interests - school board members with agendas, parents who sue for every freaking thing leading to an overcautious administration cutting down on risk taking, teachers unions, textbook sellers, corporations that sponsor vending machines. You are noit going to escape private interests with a public school system. If private schools are so bad, explain to me why our undergraduate system is envied around the world. Let me repeat, private schools in India are the reason why India is able to churn ouot so many engineers. They got some flaws in their system with respect to well rounded students, but as far as pure academics goes, it's the private school system that drives the progress. And they do that without even the beneift of vouchers.

Sure charter schools havent been great. But has anyone ever given them a fair chance? If you make the environment more hospitable, people whose forte is not necessarily winning political battles with school boards will probably enter the market place. There are many qualified people who want to be teachers who are turned off by our public school system. Private schools are not just numerous enough to give them a more mainstream opportunity. In India, teachers have an opportunity to make a damn good living. And that's because of privatization.

Public schools work in Europe. Private Schools work in India. All those poor families that are not lucky enough to get subsideized education by private schools gthere would have loved a voucher system. While we figure out how public schools work in Europe and how private schools are working in India, let people get vouchers and trust them to make the right decision instead of getting bent out of shape that some of them are doing so for racist reasons.  Guess what !!! They already are without vouchers. See, most of the nitpicking I see by those against private schools can be applied to public schools too.

Here is my challenge to democratic politicians. I wonder if our democrats would agree to send their kids to a random public school instead of a public school in their neighborhood. I am not even saying pick the worst school. Just a random choice like a lottery. And that is for those politicians who choose not to go through private schools. There's your answer as to their sincerity.

by Pravin 2006-04-19 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Community Building

"If Student X "makes it" because of a voucher program, becomes a successful upper-middle-class cog somewhere and then decides to strike out on his own and start a business, who is he going to be looking to hire? Other private school products, not inner city kids that need a break.  Not because Student X doesn't appreciate the break he received, but because it taught him that inner city kids aren't capable unless they get out first and get a "real" education"

Lucas, his reply is directed at you unlike my more generic earlier reply. Let's not be that cynical. If student X makes it, firsst of all, there is a chance that he will appreciate how he escaped from the system and want to help other black improverished students to exscape the system. Then again he might. ANd this is bad versus what scenario??? That if Student X doesnt make it because he was stuck in his terrible school system, had terrible peer pressure , and then fails with more probability depriving the black community of one extra role model? The most important thing young black kids needs is role models in their own community coupled with efforts from all races in improving their community. Are we going to deny Student X the chance to escape his wretched school just because we are afraid he might not help his fellow neighborhood when he makes it?

We know whats present is broken. Unless we take chances on other avenues how are we goint to know if they are better or worse? Inertia is the worst thing.

by Pravin 2006-04-19 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Community Building

Lucas, as far as "Only vouchers", dont get me wrong. I am not suggesting that. In fact, I am not going to pretend I have the answers. All I am suggesting is we need to get rid of the traditional taboos as to what is unacceptable to liberals. But what I see her from most liberal bloggers is an virulent opposition to the concept of any privatization aspect of our school system.

My anger is that a lot of people here don't want to even listen to it. People like me are willing to work with how one can make vouchers work and what restrictions can be placed on them if people opposed to any kind of privatization keep an open mind.

And the cycle of poverty won't be broken by refusing to entertain vouchers preventing determined parents from fleeing the system. The cycle will only be broken if either we get more role models for the african american community or we do not restrict african americans to public schools in their little segregaged neighborhood. All the town meetings wont work until lil kids see people who made it from their area into respectable professions on a more regular basis. You think Indian immigrants succeed in education to a greater degree in the US because we are all geniuses? We just got a huge peer group.  We know busing didnt work. All it did was provoke ugly reactions from white folk. But if we tie vouchers in with schools that maintain a diverse group, then some fiscal conservatives will be on our side and will marginalize the racists who want vouchers for their own reasons.

OK, that last paragraph may not be as simple as I just laid it out. But it will do for now to get a dialogue started.

by Pravin 2006-04-19 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Community Building

Vouchers cant save everyone. But realistically, give me a time frame you think even our best leaders in a best case scenario are going to be able to implement a public school system that wont have individual black families feeling trapped and will EDUCATE EVERYONE as you so want to. I said elsewhere, dont expect a few black fmailies  to waste their lives reforming their local school system when they got jobs to do and children to feed. THe system is so fucked up they need help. Maybe the kid who escapes WILL return, maybe not to live in the neighborhood, but return to repay the favor  by being so successful he wll be able to organize a group of people who can do a lot more than if he just stayed behind. Are you against illegal immigration and we force illegals to go back and reform their own countries instead of escaping their countries? What about immigrants in general?  Or do you have such a pessimistic view of people who made good by leaving their neighborhood. Why not have vouchers until liberals and conservatives get their act together in educating EVERYONE as you say.

Besides, you miss one point. With the public school system, if a parent is desperate enough, he/she WILL leave the neighborhood for good giving rise to your scenario. With vouchers, the parent can stay where they are and send their kids to a better school outside the neighborhood.

by Pravin 2006-04-19 10:29PM | 0 recs
Variable Cost vouchers

What if the school district sets a ballpark figure for the variable cost of each student and make that the voucher value. Part of that family's tax money will still go into the fixed cost of the infrastructure. This will then remove the argument that families cashing in vouchers will harm the school district. All they are doing is reducing the variable costs and cashing in those savings. You give them the freedom to do what they want.

by Pravin 2006-04-19 10:34PM | 0 recs


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