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Voucher opponents' arguments indicate their inabilities

Sensing a coming reduction in their power and privilege, establishment education officials and teachers’ unions are marshalling the same tired, unconvincing arguments to stop a quasi-school voucher program making its way through the Louisiana Legislature.

HB 1347 by state Rep. Austin Badon would allow the state to give up to $10 million dollars to back as many as 1,500 students from poor families in Orleans Parish to receive vouchers to attend the school of their choice – public or nonpublic – for primary school. Because some state dollars therefore could end up in the hands of private institutions, the education mandarins and union thugs are upset because it will force better performance out of them.

Notable is that this money does not come at the expense of public schools in any way, whose funding is guaranteed by formula. Despite that, some opponents have tried, illogically, to claim that it does. They say that since the formula depends upon the number of students in a school, if the scholarship program siphons students out of public schools, then they would receive less money (next year in the formula computation).

But such arguments crumble easily with even a cursory review of their logic. For one thing, the program is open to public schools as well. If education officials and unions had any confidence in the quality of their administrators and teachers, there should have no objection to the program for they would believe the public schools would snap up many of the students and the dollars they would bring. Instead, this line of reasoning reveals an open admission that public schools, on the basis of personnel, cannot compete with non-public schools and that attempts to block the program really are more about protecting mediocrity and resources than anything else.

Another aspect to them is the strange assumption that schools ought to get money even if students don’t show up. Doesn’t it make sense that if a student doesn’t go to a school that the school doesn’t need that monetary support but that it should go to where the student is? It’s absurd that these officials think money should go to schools regardless of whether they do any actual educating – but it has been that attitude rampant among bureaucrats and union which has put Louisiana public education into such a sad state in the first place. (Try not to think about it, but recognize that those behind these asinine statements are educating the majority of Louisiana youth; no wonder good education is hard to come by in this state.)

More recently, opponents have taken to claiming that private schools do not do a better job than public schools in education (again, assuming the scholarship recipients flock to private schools), with one claiming that on the basis of this year’s scores of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that private schools do no better than public. That’s hard to judge on the one scrap of information without knowing more (who takes the test, etc.), but even if true, it is inconsistent with almost every academic study on the effect of vouchers that show students in voucher programs not only outperform similar public school peers in learning but also do it at expenses of 60 percent or less than those in the public schools.

As one “dissettled” union nabob remarked, “Are they really interested in what is best for all the children in Louisiana or in pursuing very narrow ideological and political agenda?” The “they” he meant were those favoring the bill, but in reality the “they” far better fits his ilk. By making this into law, Louisiana will show it is concerned foremost with providing a quality education even at the expense of special interests.


Anonymous said...

You write like a child. Do you really have a PhD?

Jeff Sadow said...

Does your IQ really exceed your shoe size? Because you obviously don't recognize quality when you see it, most of all indicated in that if you disagree with my analysis, you don't have the intelligence and/or evidence on your side to contest it.