Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

Bad move to limit vouchers in D.C.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/educat ion/28voucher.html?_r=2
The NYTimes reports:

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats have put conditions on future federal financing for a small school voucher program here, and they are urging the schools chancellor to prepare the public schools to re-enroll, in fall 2010, some 1,700 students currently attending private schools at taxpayer expense.

That would be a horrible mistake. In the article many opponents state that test scores for those in private school don't demonstrate a dramatic improvement, therefore concluding vouchers a waste of money. That is the wrong metric. That is nonsense.

The proper way to measure whether vouchers are good or bad:

ask the parents!

The essence of America is choice. I have choice for my children, and choose to send them to private school.

Please explain to me why otherwise liberal democrats would want to limit an option for children because of how much money their parents make?

I am please to note the perspective of the school system's leader:

Michelle A. Rhee, the schools chancellor, said she did not share the negative view of vouchers held by many big-city superintendents.

"Part of my job is to make sure that all kids get a great education, and it doesn't matter whether that's in charter, parochial or public schools," Ms. Rhee said. "I don't think vouchers are going to solve all the ills of public education, but parents who are zoned to schools that are failing kids should have options to do better by their kids."

Other leftwing groups have mistakenly attached their agenda to that of the 1960's Civil Rights cause, but this is a real Civil Rights Issue that goes beyond race into economic status.

Many middle and working class parents don't make enough money to pay a private school bill, yet their public schools are a failure. It doesn't matter what is wrong with the schools per se, it matters what each individual parent finds fault with in a particular school for their particular child.

We have to decide who should be the "decider", millions of parents for their own child's unique needs or a government planning board that groups people together in the thousands and millions. What if I truly think my child needs school uniforms and more math? What about no school uniforms and more science? What about all girls and more sports? What about a Spanish immersion curriculum? While no school can offer exactly what every parent would want, we should give parents a reasonable opportunity to find a the school that fits best for their particular child.

What's more important eating or education? I'll answer eating. Yet, we aren't assigned a grocery store by the government. In fact, we don't have anyone overseeing the free market that gets food to every grocery store in America every day. What we do is have regulations, inspectors, and other ways to ensure quality and saftey.

For those who need help whether it with unempoyment insurance, food stamps, social security, etc. We give them the money and let them participate in society.  We don't assign them certain places to shop.

We allow the free market to rule. Education needs to be done the same way.

I choose America. I choose choice.\

Our President looked at the public and private schools and decided which were best for his needs.  That is how it should be done.

Democrats we have a chance to remake America.
If we can propose trillion dollar budgets, surely we can use some of that money to give every parent the options the wealthy among us have routinely.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

Tags: Barack Obama, craig farmer, Democrats, newliberals (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

Re: Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

Excellent diary.  However, it's pretty obvious why the "anti-choice" position rules: The teacher's union.  

by DaTruth 2009-02-28 02:48AM | 0 recs
Yes, sock puppet

An excellent diary from yellowbelliedcon; a MyDD renowned racist homophobic piece of human refuse, who now resorts to hiding behind cut and paste jabs at the President.

by iohs2008 2009-02-28 10:00AM | 0 recs
Many private churh run schools are substandard

Vouchers should not be used to subsidize substandard schools. (or schools which don't teach science scientifically.)

If parents want to home school, and they have teaching credentials, great, but if their kids fall behind on standardized tests, they should not receive money for it.

I read recently that a huge number of Americans don't understand basic facts about biology and history. That is a serious problem that reflects very badly on the USA internationally.

If Americans believe the Earth is only 5000 years old, HOW WILL THEY EVER GET JOBS?

by architek 2009-03-02 04:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

Democratic politicians need to put their kids in DC public schools. THen we will see if they can back it up. We support universal choice where we will pay for a patient to see any private doctor. I fail to see why the same concept cannot apply for schools. Private school prices will go down once a system goes into effect where private schools are not seen as just the elite. Private schools have coexisted just fine with prublic schools at the university level. Too many families are held hostage to selected a house in a neighborhood because of their kids school district. Either open up all public schools to all kids regardless of neighborhood, or let kids go to any school and give them vouchers. All these studies about vouchers are hogwash as the sample size is too small.

I look at India where private schools have done a good job of educating lower middle class kids along with rich kids in the same school. If you left it up to the public schools, it would have  been a disaster over there. Now if Indian politicians can stop being so corrupt, they could extend public funds to help poor kids enroll in private schools.

by Pravin 2009-02-28 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

Or, instead of engaging in a voucher program whose ultimate design is to kill free public education, why don't we heavily increase funding for public education and make some needed reforms?

Vouchers were, and remain, a right-wing Trojan horse to do in free public education.  So is NCLB.  The less we support these programs, the better.  "School choice" is Republican for "kill public education."

by mistersite 2009-02-28 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

"Reform" has been the mantra for years.  It always becomes a political football with the teachers' unions and those who are against competition and real changes  grinding the changes down to almost nil.  Or there are extra burdens placed on.

The key reform must be to treat each student as an individual and not as part of large groups.

Education is supposed to benefit the students, not the system, not the district.

If you help the student you will help everyone.

by yellowdem1129 2009-02-28 11:44AM | 0 recs
We need to at least double funding for education

The states and cities obviously cannot handle that so the government needs to step in. The measure of success should be the level of educational achievement of US children compared to those of other developed nations.

These days, the norm for children should be at least fourteen years of education. (a two year degree.)

If the programs are focused, they could probably achieve a good level of preparedness for adult life with only two years of college.

One way to do that would be to shorten high school to three years and give every American three years of college as a right. (extend public education by two years)

We should also shorten the summer vacation period to one month (for schools) and also give everybody who was employed 30 hours a week or more (i.e. "full time") that one month off at the same time so families could take a real vacation.

by architek 2009-03-02 04:46AM | 0 recs
Choice for What?

I admit that I don't know enough about the school voucher systems that already exist.  But there are a couple problems with school vouchers.  

1) "76% of the money handed out for Arizona's voucher program has gone to children already in private schools."  This means wealthy parents are just getting paid to send their children to private schools where they were already attending.  http://www.gregpalast.com/no-childs-behi nd-left/

2. Why are we so keen on letting the market do what government should be doing?  I'll admit that the market is usually more efficient than the government.  However, the market is beholden to CEOs and cares only for profits, while the government is beholden to Americans and does not care about profits (which is why it's less efficient).

3. I don't want any federal money going to any religious private school.  None.  And as liberals, none of us should want that either, whether we are religious or not.  Today's liberalism/progressivism works only if our nation's youngsters are not being indoctrinated with crap like Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design.  

by ProgressiveDL 2009-02-28 06:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Choice for What?

1. I'm not concerned about who is using the voucher. I'm concerned about those in public schools that don't serve them.  We should increase the vouchers, promote the start of more private schools, and have public schools as the last alternative rather than mandated schools.  We need to stop looking at the system as a collection of people, and instead try to help individuals.

2.  The key is to let parents decide which school is best for the kid. Not a ceo, not a business. A parent.  The market is a function of parents making choices.  Someone must decide what school a child goes to.  Either a planning board or a parent.  I choose a parent.

3.I'm a true liberal. I don't mind if the school is religious or not. They can be atheist schools, catholic schools, global warming magnets, free market think tanks, muslim schools, etc.  The key is they need to have as their #1 priority, secular education.  What they do otherwise is fine as long as it's legal.  That is truly being open-minded.  Not establishing or prohibiting the free expression of religion.

by yellowdem1129 2009-02-28 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Choice for What?

1) If you are concerned about those in public schools that don't serve them then you should work to improve the public schools.

2) The key is that parents are naturally limited by geography as to which schools their children can attend. That means we need neighborhood schools that work. That doesn't mean we need nice private schools in nice neighborhoods to serve the affluent.

3) You aren't a true liberal in any sense of the word, so why do you try to pretend you are?

by MS01 Indie 2009-02-28 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Choice for What?

How are you NOT concerned with the fact that these things are getting doled out to students already in private schools?! That's the whole point of why school vouchers are a dumb idea!

Look, private schools don't want these kids from failing schools. If they did, they'd offer more scholarships. They will start NEW "separate but equal" private schools before they allow the riff-raff into their own institutions. If this weren't the case, they'd be lowering tuition costs and trying to get more scholarships out there as it is. But the whole point for most people who use private schools is that they keep their kids away from the poor and/or less motivated students. They'll move and take their funding if that starts to change.

How is this not completely obvious to everybody?

by vcalzone 2009-02-28 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Choice for What?

Great comment (though depressing).  In some ways it is analogous to the health care problem:  those who least need it (health insurance or excellent education, usually the wealthy) get to opt out of the public system and pay for their own elite ones.  That means healthy people bitch about paying for Medicare and Medicaid and the brightest, most motivated students are (sometimes) not in public schools.  I don't understand why we haven't realized that students helping students should be one of the primary goals of public education.  Teach the brightest students how to help others, a skill that's useful in almost every career.  Teach those students to have a little empathy for students that don't easily grasp difficult concepts like arc tangents and post-structuralism.

by ProgressiveDL 2009-03-01 04:23AM | 0 recs
Vouchers are a Republican plot...

to get private school paid for by tax dollars.

Here's a thought. Fix the damn public schools. Put money INTO them to get them working right. Don't take money out of them to line the pockets of people rich enough to send their kids to private school.

by Travis Stark 2009-02-28 07:08AM | 0 recs
Hear! Hear!

That is exactly what voucher schools are, an attempt to kill the public education system in this country.

by MS01 Indie 2009-02-28 12:09PM | 0 recs
Voucher proponents need to address two problems

and I never see them do it:

(1) For parents who can make no financial contribution, how will a voucher help?  Typically voucher programs award $2,500-$3,000 per pupil per year.  Yet the cost of private secondary schools is $6,000 ($4,000 for Catholics).  Many parents will not be able to make up the difference.  This is why people argue that voucher programs are a subsidy for people who can already afford private school.

(2) Currently there are not nearly enough private schools to handle all the students in the United States, yet under the theoretical voucher program, every student would have the opportunity to go to private school.  How will we deal with the lack of capacity when all of a sudden millions of kids suddenly want to entire private schools?

(3) How will you deal with the variant of adverse selection, where private schools will admit the best students and leave the students with the greatest need in public schools that are even more underfunded?

by JJE 2009-02-28 07:51AM | 0 recs
Make that three problems

I iz a gradu-et of publik skool hur hur hur.

by JJE 2009-02-28 08:02AM | 0 recs
Answer to all three problems

...is the reason that this program will never work. Private schools are designed for people who want to keep their kids in a certain social status. By definition, they don't want to take more than a few kids from failing schools. The only way to make it fair would be through a lottery, and they'd never allow that in a million years. Once we start making sure that any child can afford to go to the nice private schools, they will suddenly be viciously attacking the voucher systems. And rightly so, because their patrons will pull their private funding and then it will be just as bad as any other school.

Private schools are not the solutions to our problems, private schools ARE the problem. I went to a public school in a fairly high-income area, and we did really well because we had parents who donated money to fund the school. The key is MONEY. And when private schools stop getting it from the parents, they'll either shut down or get really crappy, really fast.

by vcalzone 2009-02-28 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama had school choice why not d.c. children?

I am baffled by the logic that says we should "ask the parents" whether they want free money.  What, it turns out that they do?

There are good arguments in favor of vouchers but this diary doesn't make any of them.  Instead it's all the same BS about the inalienable right to "choice" - as if the government should pass out vouchers to give all of us a "car choice."  Oh, and the parents prefer more choice to less choice!  Great!

by Steve M 2009-02-28 07:58AM | 0 recs
Don't try to make sense...

...of anything this person writes.  It will give you a headache and lower your IQ by at least 15 points.

by psychodrew 2009-02-28 09:44AM | 0 recs
I see the (yellow) light!

Looking at it from yellowdem's perspective I'm being cheated and my child is suffering.  It's not just unfair, but a matter of civil rights that my child should be forced to attend public day school when he would do so much better at private gay school.  

Thank you Craig Farmer, for fighting to get my child, and thousands of others, into private gay schools!

by January 20 2009-02-28 05:39PM | 0 recs
Better Solution

Stop tying school funding to property tax and land values.  Hmm, you mean low-income areas create low-income schools that aren't successful??  I'm shocked!  And high-income areas create great schools that are successful?  And that begets a never-ending cycle by which low-income students have almost zero chance of getting a great (not merely good) education?  Huh.  Who'da thunk it?

by ProgressiveDL 2009-03-01 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Better Solution

You're so right. But Republicans will say, "What? And give up 'local control' of schools!" Their ears will bleed.

I believe we need a national curriculum and national control of schools, but I'm just an old left radical.

by Travis Stark 2009-03-01 08:49AM | 0 recs
School choice?

Boils down to parental choices. Big Screen TVs, Bass boats, beer, and other stuff trump the needs of kids.

And not to put too fine a point on the role of schools in the formation of well-rounded and well educated kids - the home determines the outcome, not the school. Argue that fundamental fact only if you wish to look foolish.

by QTG 2009-03-01 07:05AM | 0 recs
Maybe

but argue the fact that schools help to offset bad parenting and you'll be the one looking foolish.

by Travis Stark 2009-03-01 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: disambiguation

 if you'd had good parents, you'd understand why that's a non-sequiter.

by QTG 2009-03-02 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: disambiguation

I made a typo: Non sequitur

by QTG 2009-03-02 05:17PM | 0 recs
Government that works

Yes Republicans have been trying to convince us that government can't do anything right. Which maybe the case when they run government. They would like to get government out of education just like they got government regulation and oversight out of the markets and kept it out of our healthcare system. The result? The  economy is collapsing and we have the most inefficient, most expensive, most privatized healthcare system in the industrialized world. Now you want to apply the same model to education?

No thanks. Let's fund public education and let's support the unions, screw Republican schemes to finish off public education and break another union.

by hankg 2009-03-02 04:27PM | 0 recs

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