School Choice

Sounds expensive. Basically free money for rich people. Not sure how that will work out in low tax states.


This. Most voucher programs are merely welfare for middle and upper class parents.


I’m not even sure vouchers are an effective way to address achieving the goal, which I assume is maximizing the society’s learning ( howvere one wants to measure that vague concept.)

It all seems pointless when we look at how resource (funding) is allocated to potential students. For my part, addressing the severe impact of local tax bases is the elephant in the room. Toss in the effects of stress. on learning, and the solution is unlikely to be vouchers. Great for well off families, not so great for others. Not that it’s harmful, just terribly inefficient.

Yes that’s true. But the sucky schools persist despite many many efforts to improve them. So is the solution to just condemn poor black kids to sucky schools?

We could have a whole thread on that, since people have their different opinions on what the goal is.

Already what I assumed, but it seems like religious schools generally take a “my religion = good, yours = bad” approach to their religious teachings. Per SW’s post near the top of the thread, that seems like a “you should believe this, not that” kind of teaching. That’s what I have a problem with. If religious teachings were more general, I’d maybe be somewhat OK with the voucher moneys going to private/religious schools. I don’t know how you’d teach religion in a general sense though, seems like most teachings are geared toward the “mine = good, yours = bad” approach mentioned above.

My main gripe with the voucher system is that it will almost assuredly send public money to religious schools, which means public money for religious teachings. State/church separation is important to me. I understand that there are plenty of other examples of public funds going to religious institutions though.

Maybe if schools could somehow measure the non-religious student hours vs religious student hours to the state, that percentage could be applied to the funds a student would receive, if they were to enroll at a religious school? For example, if non-religious classes accounted for 80% of all student hours at a particular religious school, my hypothetical transfer student would receive 80% of the voucher. I’m sure there would be plenty of issues with that, like schools accurately reporting their student hours, but just an idea.

As others have mentioned, I think the vast majority of the benefit of these vouchers will go to middle - high income families. Aka those families that can afford the difference in private tuition and the voucher. Lower income and special needs students/families won’t get the same benefit and will be left behind. Further widening the education gap between those two groups. Which is sad.

If they don’t allow “top up” payments then the schools that the rich are sending their kids to aren’t going to accept vouchers. Whether or not top-up payments are allowed does vary though.

I think most vouchers are already less than 80% of what public school costs taxpayers, so this would likely have very little impact on most religious private schools. (I doubt many are devoting more than 20% of class time to religious teaching.)

Public schools vary a lot. We and our kids have attended in a number of states around the country (CA,MI, VT, MO, FL, PA, UT, WA, TX). VT schools had a stellar reputation, well-earned for top students, split into 9 periods so many could attend up to a half-dozen AP/Honors classes.

But for mediocre students, it was typical for a high-schooler to have 4 study halls in 9 periods. And the study halls were not conducive to studying, and only occasionally for naps. Our kids benefited much more from a church-sponsored voluntary scripture class held before school.

Nine periods?? Back in my day, we had seven periods, 50 minutes each, with 10 minutes between classes, 8AM-3PM, and one of those periods (two actually, cuz 2300 students in three grades) was lunch. AND, as a senior you could take off the first period or the last period (but not both). AND, if you enrolled in the work-study program, you could take four classes in the morning, and then take the rest of the day off to go to work.

Anywho, publicly-funded school vouchers should be used only for public schools. There. Debate ended.

Yeah, it’s not crazy-- social security and Medicare are also basically “free money for everybody”. Just doesn’t make much sense in conservatopia.

The correct solution is to fix the damned schools, and to improve cultural perceptions as to the value of education.

But we know that’s not going to happen.

Thus we’re left with band-aids, like vouchers and magnet schools.

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When I went to high school we had 6 periods a day, 55 minutes each, except fourth period which was 90ish minutes in order to allow for a 30 minute lunch period, and 5 minutes allowed for class changes. Students in the non-college prep track got one period as a study hall, unless they took an elective like shop, choir, or band. Last bell was at 2:15; first bell was something obscenely early.

I understand that they’ve since changed to a 4 period per day schedule, but which classes you go to in those 4 days changes by day. I can’t remember whether it’s a total of 6, 7, or 8 total class slots. With my favorite teachers, 2 hour classes 2-3 times per week would have been great. With a couple of less-liked teachers, however…

More like college, it seems.

More complicated than my college schedule, when I generally had 1-hour classes on M/W/F, and 1.5-hour classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kids at my old high school I think have to look at a calendar to be certain which classes they have on a particular day.

I think we had 8 periods, and a class was for one semester, so lots were chunked into two periods each, but some classes were only one, like the arts, Bible, and other electives.

To me, this is one difference between private schools and public schools that is relevant to the voucher debate.

Public is the easy option. Private requires finding the school, enrolling, possibly paying tuition, often dealing with more difficult transportation. Parents who opt for private are sufficiently concerned about education to go the extra mile for what they believe is “better”.

So the private school teacher has a classroom of kids whose parents care. The public school teacher has a classroom that includes kids whose parents don’t care. Vouchers make it financially easier for the parents who care to take their kids out of public schools, changing the ratio.

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You could fix 90% of the issues with schools with money. Pay teachers more; cap class sizes at 20 or so students; increase the number of guidance counselors, interventionists, reading coaches, etc. Those things would make a difference.

Money exists for these things, but we’d rather defund schools by giving middle-class white families vouchers and fund the military industrial complex.


Not sure what you mean here. Do you mean students can enroll in a different public school building? Or, a different public school district? (Note, Iowa has had “open enrollment” across district lines for some time) Or, is there a typo and you mean “non-sectarian private”?