School choice is a big target of the powerful public education lobby. It is nice
to read a story in a local newspaper that addresses the major problems with our
school system that are usually glossed over. Competition in the marketplace is
the American way and is what has lead to innovation and major improvements in so
many industries. Scare tactics, a campaign of misinformation and fear of change
from old traditions have forced us to accept mediocrity. We need to put the
student first, not the politics of "group think" so often found in
Could we at least be honest about this program and quit calling it school
choice. Parents currently have choice, the government is not compelling anyone
to go to any specific school. It also amazes me that republicans would favor a
program where the government confiscates my money and gives it to an individual
to spend as they choose. A better plan which would seem to match the republican
philosophy of privatizing everything and having people show personal
responsibility by paying their own way is to eliminate all public schools and
all taxes to support them and let people choose where to send their children to
school and then pay for it themselves.If we think vouchers are the
answer to the problem we are only kidding ourselves. Those outside of
traditional public education will find ways to abuse the system just like
charter schools do now, when we see the mass exodus after the October 1st count
goes to the state and the check comes back.
You just have to remember that the voters in Utah overwhelmingly defeated the
Voucher Movement a few years ago. Our all knowing Legislators are still trying
to resurrect this insidious law. The voters have spoken, after spending
millions defeating the Charter & Private School interests in our state.
Properly fund the Public Schools, and things will start to improve. The track
record of Private & Charter Schools in Utah is pretty dismal. The truth
hurts, but we have to live with in anyway!!
In comparing the services and benefits to the general public there is not a
single case where private or state or local government provides a better service
than the federal government. The reason for insistence for local
control over public education is rooted in the commercial needs of the local and
the attitudes thereof. The changing world has decreased the need for
“educated producers” but still needs “properly indoctrinated
consumers”. And foreign labor seems ready and willing to fill the need
for “educated producers” at less cost than Americans thus business
no longer needs public education. The statement “ No two
students – or two states – have identical needs”, is simply
not true for America. Tailoring a persons education to a specific local denies
that person the freedom to move about in America. However, there
is still a universe of unanswered questions to be researched and investigated by
educated people and while they may not be commercially important right now, they
may hold our future.
Playing school hopscotch until little Johnny gets the A he deserves will not
solve the problem. Try giving your kid books to read over the summer instead of
video games to play. What will improve education the most? Parental
involvement. The decline of parental involvement has accompanied the decline of
education achievement. And being a helicopter parent or demanding a grade
change is not parental involvement, it's parental stupidity.
Choice in schools is essential, however, this will be a moot point soon if
Common/Utah Core is fully implemented. This federal curriculum is required in
Charter and Public Schools due to the Utah School Board signing us up. The only
way to avoid this universal program is to enroll in a private school or home
school. There are currently efforts to "encourage" home schoolers to
particpate as well. ACT and SAT tests are being rewritten to match Common Core
standards. Utah CRT tests are being rewritten to align with Common Core. How can
there be choice and options if a one-size fits all programs is implemented
throughout the state and much of the nation? Utah should get out of Common Core
and empower its excellent teachers to work collaboratively with parents to
provide the best education possible.
The reason private schools seem to do better is because they are smaller and the
parents some say in the governance. However if voucher legislation is passed,
as in Indiana, these schools will be brought under the strong arm of the
government - especially with Common Core, where eventually there will be NO
variety as touted by the article. When the government gets through with funding
and regulating the private schools, there will be NO choice!Why not
have our public schools do what makes private schools successful instead of
turning private schools into public schools with vouchers? Divide up the
gigantic public schools and school districts and get rid of national
interference like NCLB and CCSS (Common Core)!Vouchers will do just
the opposite of what we need. Let's address the root problem, divide as we
grow! Get them back to the size that works!
Monopolies always produce inferior products (educated children, in this case) at
higher prices, as anyone who has taken Econ 101 will attest.If an
(evil capitalist) voucher system is good enough for Sweden and France (Leftist
"utopias") why is it not good enough for us? Teachers -
please explain how our current system does anything other than protect their
job... we're all ears.
What happened to our educational system? I guess that could be answered in
several ways. (1)The doing away with history, government math reading writing
and allowing college elitists or so they think to help write the text books for
our nation. My wife is a 7th grade math teacher and it is appearant that the
teachers spend more time babysitting and trying not to offened children then in
teaching. The world of teaching changed when George Bushes education sec offered
the no child left behind program. What this did was take those that really
didn't care and some that had difficulity in school for teachers to teach
and concentrate on them and putting those that liked school on a lesser plane
because what was being taught was not challenging to them. I agree that children
should have an even playing field, however it doesn't include dumbing down
all for the sake of some. Parents need to take responsibility for much of this.
To blame teachers for their childrens grades, mentioning how smart their child
is and it must be the teacher whose causing the problem is not fair. Oh yes
there are some teacher that should be removed.
With Utah's extraordinarily tight financial situation and large number of
school age children, we simply don't have a lot of maneuvering room to make
foolish decisions on education, to chase the latest fads. Best to let the other
states "pave the way" in determining what options work well, let them
find out which approaches are effective, which are not. We just don't have
the money to experiment a lot.What will be the voucher amounts in
Indiana, and how does that compare to what Utah spends per pupil? That will be
an important data point. My hunch is if Utah offered vouchers, it wouldn't
come close to matching the costs of a competent private education.Based on our own, shall we say, "uneven" experience with charter
schools, there is no panacea, no silver bullet that will improve education for
our large population of kids. After all the different options are
sifted and the experiments are complete, I suspect Utahns will find they really
need to pony up more money to get kids into reasonable classroom sizes where the
teachers can teach.
The MYTH of CHOICE:1) I have a choice of where to educate my
students. I have put my students in private, public and charter schools. I used
that choice, the government didn't stop my choice. We even have a child in
a public school outside our school district because it was the best fit for our
child. We filled out the forms and exercised our CHOICE.2) On #1 we
spent money to give our daughter a private school education in kindergarten.
Again, it was a CHOICE we used. We aren't wealthy, but I suppose it can be
done if one prioritizes. I didn't expect to receive money from the
government or a voucher to assist me on this endeavor. Once we felt the private
school didn't offer a better education for the money they asked, which
seldom really happens in most cases, we exercised our choice to go to the public
school. Then we found a charter school offering a quality music program and we
investigated that CHOICE and did that.Bottom line, we already have a
choice and for the Deseret News to say otherwise is RIDICULOUS!!!
In a previous post I talked about the myth of choice.I see too many
parents that feel that they have no choice, again buying into the ridiculous
notion that choice doesn't exist and vouchers are the answer.Why have we put in our children in different schools ranging from private, to
public, to charter? Well, it's because we view each of children as unique
with needs that are best met in different environments or schools. I think
it's insane to send children to the same school (unless it's a really
good one) just because that's where you live. Each child has their own
unique talents and challenges. If it takes us getting up earlier and/or saving
our pennies or whatever to make this happen, that's what a parent needs to
do for his child.However, I'm not sure I want taxpayer money
going to vouchers when the choice already exists for parents. Again, Utah has
school choice, you are NOT a prisoner of your boundary school. You don't
need to have a voucher. Exercise your CHOICe, as it EXISTS now, and look at
your child and what they need.
On private education vs. public education:We chose private education
for both our son and daughter in kindergarten. It was wonderful for our daughter
who had a class of 8 students. Then after kindergarten, the class size went up
and the quality of education compared to the elementary school wasn't worth
the cost, in fact the test scores, whatever they are worth, were about the same.
The teachers in both schools generally competent. But with our son, because he
had special needs, was ask to leave same private school after three weeks. Keep
this in mind voucher supporters. You might have the money to get in the door
(maybe), but if your child is a challenge, they are PRIVATE and that means they
don't have to deal with your child.Also, I am not convinced say
that Juan Diego with its high private school costs is any better a school than
say Skyline. Individual programs may vary but overall no one could convince me
that one gets a better overall education at Juan Diego vs. Skyline and certainly
not for tens of thousands of dollars spent. Use your choice, save $$$, and just
enroll at Skyline.
Fundamentally, choice may be the solution. However, private schools have the
choice to accept or reject students. Even charter schools work with parents and
weed out students who "don't fit in our specialized system". Public
schools on the other hand must accept every student. Voucher systems have the
egregious possibility of leaving a public school system of the dredges of
educational motivation. Only those students whose parents, and hence their
student, have no value for education attending. Public schools will then be at
bottom of the scale in every educational measure perforce. We still
haven't figured out a way to hold students accountable for their own
education. I suggest we figure that out as we begin giving parents choices and
accountability along with their students. Perhaps the best solution is total
privatization, with no one responsible for "educating the masses"
whether they want to be educated or not.
I agree with Claudio. If a choir sounds bad, the problem is likely not the seat
arrangement. We need to look into our culture as a whole to improve student
performance. On the other hand, there is more than academic knowledge that
predicts economic prosperity. In the Soviet Union you could ask a random teenage
girl to integrate something like x^2 from 1 to 3 and she'd be able to do it
in her head. The country flew spaceships, but could not provide what Americans
would have considered basic consumer goods. In America I've asked a
college-educated adult to solve a math problem from Soviet 3rd grade curriculum
a number of times and he had no clue. Americans have a gift for making the most
of the little academic knowledge and aptitude they possess to actually make
things happen.That said, more academic capacity is still a good idea, and
the answer is to be found in the family, not in the school.
Competition doesn't work when the job is to help all children succeed.
School vouchers are fundamentally about creating, not just identifying, winner
and loser schools, but that will simply lead to winners and losers among
children. Schools need a cooperative, supportive environment, not a competitive
one, to provide equal access to learning and opportunity for all children. In
fact, the research shows this far more than the one study cited here.
A goal should be to offer the same choices to the less affluent. How worthy is
it if it leads to a situation that Mormon saw? Affordability should not be the
Real school choice can be a valuable tool for any parent - true. Utah parents
ALREADY have all kinds of choices in the school they want to provide for their
children. VOUCHERS are NOT synonymous with school choice. The Deseret News
needs to change its tune and support a quality public education for all
students. Only when our public schools are strengthened will ALL of Utah's
students have access to quality education, no matter which school a parent
School choice is an appropriate name because that is where the choice will be,
with the school! When the Utah voucher law passed, before it was overturned by
the public vote, there were private schools that said that they would turn down
voucher students to avoid the entanglement of any governmental control that
would come with the voucher. In addition, many private schools test students
prior to acceptance and have strict rules for continued attendance. The public charter movement has mostly been a veiled privatization movement to
get public dollars in to private company's hands. Vouchers, tax credits,
and anything by any other name would be the same thing. It isn't about the
student, it is about the movement of money. Utah has choice.
Don't force taxpayers to fund private schools. They voted down already!
Although some legislators are trying to do an end run by setting up programs via
certain charter programs, online programs, and vendor arrangements.
@gardenhome"This federal curriculum is required in Charter and Public
Schools due to the Utah School Board signing us up"You are
listening to too many radio talk shows. I doubt that you have even looked at the
common core standards. I have, and I am learning how to implement them in the
Arizona school that I teach at. Common core is a group of standards that does
not require teachers to teach any particular curriculum. It doesn't tell
teachers how to teach. It just gives students, teachers and schools clear
benchmarks where each student should be when they finish each grade level. These standards are higher than they have been, and require students to
be able to comprehend written language and express themselves at a higher level
so that they will be prepared to enter college or the workplace being better
prepared. These higher standards were requested by colleges, universities and
industry leaders because they noticed that young people entering their schools
and businesses without the skills needed to be successful. If the people of Utah
believe that their students don't need to be better prepared to compete in
the global economy, by all means withdraw!
Over $6,000.00 is spent per child. by the State. Can I get the $6,000.00 per
child to home school. I know the answer. But it would be cool to have a stay at
Suggesting that school vouchers "rescue students from failing schools"
is like saying the iceberg saved the Titanic.The non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly reported that public schools end up
with less money per pupil under school voucher programs - not more. This only
hurts an already underfunded system. Meanwhile most of those who benefit are
students already destined for private schools. Those stuck in failing schools
are still stuck there because they can't come up with the extra tuition
beyond what the voucher provides, but now they have even fewer resources than
before. That is why whenever this is put to a vote, vouchers are rejected by the
people. It doesn't take long to figure out its only a choice for the very
If our intent is to compete better with other countries, the logical question
is, what are those countries doing that we are not? Specifically, what are
those countries doing that are cited as improving quickly? Is school choice
what they use?Reference private vs. public schools. My kids have
attended both. What are the real differences?First, private schools
can say "no thanks" to any child for any reason. If your child is
troubled or significantly challenged, they can deny him or her a slot and
effectively cherry pick their students. Also, as someone else mentioned, they
can have admissions tests to only take high performers to begin with.Second, parents of private school students are typically more motivated and a
bit better off than the average public school parent. Not to say there are not
awesome (and well to do) public school parents, but the need to pay for school
out of your own pocket guarantees a higher percentage of such parents with
children in private education.In the areas where I have lived,
public schools that have a strong base of motivated and reasonably middle class
parents, the school results are very good.
Government Man is correct, the voters rejected "School Choice" when it
was on the ballot. Why did the "News" oppose it then and is promoting
One seldom discussed issue with charter schools is that funding does not follow
the student if the student leaves the charter school part way through the year.
This is not uncommon because of the strict parental involvement requirements,
discipline issues, and other reasons that pressure students to leave. They go
back to the public schools where they must accept everyone.However
the funding is assigned at the beginning of the year so the funding stays with
the charter school. Most charter schools don't allow students to enroll
in their programs part way through the year so this restriction on funding flow
is a one- way problem.Perhaps we should wait on voucher and private
school funding until Utah public school get we above the current 58% of average
funding compared to other US states. Average funding would be a good goal since
we are already getting average results.
Common core will fail because it does not address the problems where we are
failing to keep pace with the world. But even then, the whole premise that we
are falling behind the world is pretty false. For years we have had
a strategic advantage in our education. But because of technology that is all
changing and now other countries can educate at a higher level. We are being
forced to compete more, but still we produce MORE high level students than any
other nation and our economy, our technological advances, patents and output far
exceeds even the closest competitor. So are standards are problem? NO!Our problem is our families and our desire to cut corners in government
financing of education. Single parents and two job families where mom and dad
both work and don't have time or energy for their kids education. Often
"problem children" are the ones with these type of households. Big
school districts, big buildings and big classrooms are slightly cheaper then two
smaller districts, buildings or classrooms so we cut corners to cut taxes and
forget about the consequences of neglected children at home and at school. THAT
IS OUR PROBLEM!
The money and power of decision-making is in the public education system.
However, Utah does a much better job at school choice than most states. Charter
schools are a great step forward. If my tax money is going to some other
children in a traditional or a charter school, please tell me why shouldn't
it follow my child to a private school? I, as a parent best know the special
needs of my child and know where to sent them to school to maximize there
potential. Why should a poor student be stuck in a poor performing local public
school that may not meet his or er special needs?
It seems like too many people are living in denial. U.S. test scores are an
embarrasment. A large percentage of our high school graduates have to take
remedial classes before taking freshman level classes in college. We have many
companies who cannot find qualified engineers, scientists and programmers. My
childten go to public shools, but we were able to select those schools
carefully. They also had the benefit of starting in private school where they
were reading by the start of 1st grade. If we want to stick our heads in the
sand that is fine. Just stop whining about our falling standard of living and
your kids inability to get a job. France spends less on education than we do but
consistently thumps us in test scores. More and more jobs will be heading
oversees or out of Utah because too many parents do not care and the UEA will
fight any real change in the public schools. On the bright side, we can start
offerring call center management as a required course in high school so our kids
can be ready for 40 years as customer service reps.
What a schizophrenic piece. You start citing numerous countries that are
outperforming us educationally, then you start advocating for the privatization
of public education through vouchers. Can Brazil point to their voucher program
as the reason for their great gains? Has Chile made such great improvement due
to students' unfettered choices? Perhaps they have...it would be good of
you to say so. Or also good of you to cite the other reasons behind other
countries' gains. Instead you expect your readers to accept this slapdash
inference as editorial enlightenment. It's insulting!
@Henry Drummond – “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has
repeatedly reported that public schools end up with less money per pupil under
school voucher programs - not more. This only hurts an already underfunded
system.”This is like saying – if we break up the
Standard Oil monopoly, Mr. Rockefeller will get less money per gallon, not more.
This will hurt Standard Oil’s profit.
Taxpayers should be able to send their tax money to the school of their choice.
As a retired public school teacher who is also a Navy vet, I opine that the
issue is one of discipline. It is all about a clash between Hyman Rickover,
founder of the modern Navy, and John Dewey, liberal philosopher. Religious
schools always score higher than public schools. That is why charter schools are
such an attraction. There are some very fine public school districts which are
all but religious in tone with a conservative school board. The Department of
Education has a distinct agenda in line with John Dewey. The "Race to the
Top" and "Common Core" have a barely hidden agenda of world
socialism and a philosophical fulfillment to the detriment of math and science.
Math and science instill discipline. The social sciences instill utopian
equality. This is manifest of the continuing war between the philosophies of
Rickover and Dewey.
The Hammer(?) "... but still we produce MORE high level students than any
other nation and our economy, our technological advances, patents and output far
exceeds even the closest competitor. So are standards are problem? NO!" Complete nonsense. China has more high school HONOR students (by our
testing standards) than we have TOTAL students. How so? National standards.