School Choice

I agree with your comment regarding improving the perception of the value of education. But the bolded is a by-product of other factors. Sending money to schools has such diminishing returns. Education can never be equitable. Never. Not every school will be “average” or “above average”. Schools will always have limitations to the educational outcomes of children, regardless of money thrown at them.

There is not enough emphasis on the parent/adult at home being the true educator of the child. If that responsibility is too much, then that child needs to be placed in a different environment where he/she can thrive. Throwing more money at poor families does not work without accountability. Families making choices not in their children’s best interest is abuse.

But as to “school choice”, I agree that this amounts to welfare for the middle-class, of which I would benefit. At a minimum, such vouchers should be reduced for private school placement for those who “can afford it”.

That’s interesting. The IA law says that in 2023 vouchers are only available to families with incomes less than 3x the FPL. In 2024, the limit goes to 4x. In 2025 it disappears entirely.

If they have enough information to administer that, they could administer “Full voucher up to 4x the FPL, graded down thereafter to zero voucher at 8x the FPL.”

I read the article. This will cost money. So where does the money come from? Article also pointed out that 1/2 of Iowa’s 99 counties have no private schools. Will they pay for the metro/suburb without any realistic way to benefit.

I know which end of the stick that is.

The other benefit to the vouchers for failing schools in my state is my kids have a more economically and racially diverse school. Their school has income based tuition to start with. It is certainly more diverse than the richest suburbs here, and possibly even more than my city.

Nope. We, the taxpaying public, fund public schools for a reason: so kids can go to school without their families paying for it themselves. You don’t like Public School A? Go to Public School B. Don’t like any Public School? Then you’re on your own, and thank you for the taxes.

1 Like

“Hey, I have an idea: We can create our own private school, out there in the barn! For our kids only! Please pay us public money so we can run it.”

i want to use a private fire department. where’s my voucher?

That clarifies it. Like I said, IA has had “open enrollment” across district lines for some time, but they haven’t called that program “vouchers”, even though the state aid follows the students.

(In fact, this bill calls it “education savings accounts”.)

You don’t get a rebate on your taxes because you used a private _____ to mitigate your need for its public counterpart. But feel free to argue about the public entity.

I want to use my private car instead of public transportation. Where’s my voucher?

Iowa is already big on home schooling. They provide aid to the public school for providing oversight and services to home schoolers. 5 choices here:

But, this voucher bill only provides money to certified schools.

I’m going to disagree with that somewhat.

I grew up in the inner city. While I didn’t grow up in the projects…I grew up a block or two away from an infamous one, and the realities of generational poverty were something I was exposed to throughout my youth.

There were some good students who came out of the 'hood. They (and I) had parents who cared, were involved in our educations, made sure that we knew that a better life was available / we could get “out” through doors opened by academic success…and if necessary, they would apply discipline if we weren’t living up to their expectations of us.

But that was uncommon. There were many students who came from homes where the parents didn’t care, or where troubles at home trumped any attention . These kids, hell these families, didn’t know/believe that education would open doors to opportunities for a better life. In our neighborhoods, education wasn’t a priority.

Many of my peers had talent, drive, and motivation…but the environment was such that they pursued (and achieved) success through sports, music, or illicit pursuits, because that’s what the local community seemed to value, and it seemed achievable in that setting.

If they had known that school matters…if they had reason to see it as a means to success…if the environment had valued education as much as it valued basketball, music, and drugs…things might have been different for them.

Would the lousy schools they been any better? Probably not much…but if there were demand for the education, then additional resources might have helped.

But without that change in culture…I’ve seen that school district and the state pour money on the problem. Some of those lousy schools no longer exist, because some of the money went towards closing failing schools and creating replacements. Those replacements, for the most part, still suck (although they are generally prettier, since some of that moeny went towards renovations and/or new construction…)

1 Like

It appears you basically agree with “fix with money”, but identify an underlying cause that is very money related. Maybe it’s not just teacher salaries and new schools that is needed. That cure will cost money and lots of it.

I wonder how much effect the idea of “not requiring schooling” would help/hurt/other?

Honestly, some kids are troublemakers and their parents don’t care (or actually encourage). Security in a school should also be a priority.
My local district has an alternative school for those who “can’t learn in traditional ways.” It has very low avg standardized test scores, but it serves to raise the other schools’ avg scores, so win-win. Win.

I agree. I brought it up as a (laughable imo) parallel to school vouchers for private schools.

I would disagree with the “underlying cause [being] very money related”. The problem I observed from my childhood wasn’t that people in the 'hood didn’t have money…it was that the community didn’t really care about education. Success was viewed as possible, and therefore was actually achieved by some, in areas the community cared about, despite the lack of money.

A fix to the problem is going to require money…but the greater need is to figure out how to change community attitudes about education. And yes, it’ll take money to figure out how to do that and then to pull it off.

But I also think that unless/until that happens… more money might be welcome, but it’s probably not going to produce the desired results.

Sure. Let me know when you figure out how to do that. If there was a good way to do that it would have been done by now.

In the meantime this platitude has the effect of condemning poor black kids to sucky schools.

This is all very true, but there are cases where not all of the kids of parents who care can get the limited supply of vouchers and there is a lottery. And those provide an apples-to-apples comparison and typically the kids on vouchers do better than the kids whose parents tried and failed to get vouchers for their kids

A further compounding problem with statistics is that if your neighborhood school is pretty good you’re less likely to try for a voucher than if your neighborhood school sucks. Which means that the kids whose parents are trying for vouchers are disproportionately likely to think that their neighborhood school sucks.

So in a big city the rich neighborhoods have good neighborhood schools and the kids have parents who care but often don’t feel the need to bother with vouchers. The kids whose parents are trying for the vouchers are often lower on the socioeconomic spectrum (sometimes by chance, sometimes by design… the program might only be available to you if you are below a certain economic threshold or in a neighborhood school that underperforms a stated metric). And family income & wealth unfortunately is highly correlated with student success.

This really is highly dependent on each individual voucher program though and the parents’ alternatives. It’s hard to draw good conclusions from a lot of the data.

Something that might add to the discussion:

Here in Arizona, charter schools get about $10,000 les per student per year than public schools.

1 Like

I think there are people who, if they haven’t figured it out, are at least on the right track with ideas.

Unfortunately, there seems to be insufficient appetite among those who would be called upon to pay for and/or act on those ideas to actually move ahead.

School choice and other popular band-aids are ways that some parents who at least somewhat see the value of education can get their kids out of lousy schools.

Meanwhile, the remaining students enrolled in those lousy schools are SOL…and the problem perpetuates itself.

1 Like