private school vouchers

School privatization "boosts" real estate market

May not be good for (all) the kids, but home values apparently soar:

Once we realize that assigning children to schools results in concentrating poverty, we can begin to imagine the social benefits of systems that avoid assignments.

Research recently published in the Journal of Housing Research shows homes are worth more in the places that use this scholarship system instead of the more rigid assignment system. Homes are worth significantly more in tuitioning districts than in districts with weak assigned schools. The more school options that were available, the larger the price premium. Studies on similar systems in Paris, France, and San Antonio, Texas, find similar results.

I have developed a (maybe bad) habit of scrolling to the bottom of an Op-Ed to get an idea of who a writer is, and where that writer is coming from, before I digest the information being put forward. Usually it's pretty straightforward, but sometimes there's a weird confluence. In this case, it's an associate professor of finance and real estate talking about education. Like I said, weird. But this guy's approach to the subject is even weirder, talking about areas that don't even resemble North Carolina's school districts:

Senate wants tens of millions more for private school vouchers

The exsanguination of public school funding increases:

In their version of the budget, Senate Republicans have a plan to grow a large reserve fund for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The scholarships, or vouchers, are given to low-income parents so they can pay to send their children to private rather than public schools.

Senators plan to increase the amount of money set aside by $10 million annually, enough to accommodate 2,000 additional students each year. By 2028, the state would be setting aside $145 million. But advocates and critics are divided on whether there’s demand for such an expansion.

Even if the demand was there, and it isn't, funneling these levels of taxpayer dollars into private schools is a mistake. And spending public revenues on religious institutions increases that mistake tenfold. We (through our elected state and local governments) have no way to monitor or regulate how those dollars are spent, what quality of education is received, or whether these children are even safe from potential predators in their midst. And this anecdotal account does not impress me one iota:

Harsh words for the Senate's Budget proposals

It's a lot more about election season posturing than responsible funding:

That's the thing about Senate budgets: They're as much a statement of ideology as a pragmatic attempt to fund state government. In recent years, budget writers have stripped millions from the funding for books and supplies, from teacher-assistant and teacher funding, even from school-bus replacement budgets. But now Senate leaders see no problem with diverting ever-more money from the public schools to send our kids to private schools.

While we're pleased to see substantial raises proposed for those teachers still standing, it's hard to argue that our legislative leaders are fully committed to our public schools. But looking at the budget overall, we have no doubt that they're committed to getting themselves re-elected.

Every action has an equal reaction. When you cut funding for textbooks and supplies, teachers are forced to create handouts, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of mimeographed reproductions in each class, by the end of the school year. Which far exceeds the volume of paper allotted for in the school's budget, so guess who has to go paper-shopping? Even in schools where parents and other supporters donate such things, it's still not enough, and teachers inevitably end up holding the shopping bag. They need a raise, if for no other reason than to cover these additional costs. But that's what happens when you want it to "seem" like you're interested in funding public schools, instead of being that way.

Taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ students

We reserve the right to be bigoted and exclusionary:

“Sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are immoral and sinful. The depth of the sinfulness of homosexual practice is recognized, and yet we believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome both the practice of such activity and the perversion leading to its practice.”

Lee Christian, the document states, reserves the right to deny admission or expel a student should the “atmosphere or conduct within” the home on these issues run contrary to the private school’s beliefs.

So it's not only LGBT students who are discriminated against; if a straight child's parents are in a same sex relationship, or the single parent of the child engages in such a relationship, however short-term it may be, the student can get the boot. One might be tempted to declare, "Who would want to send their child into such a cultish educational environment?" But that's not the point. The point is, the school should *not* be eligible for taxpayer dollars, regardless of the route that money takes to get there. Parents given vouchers should not be able to "choose" a school that discriminates in such a fashion. That money has to come with some caveats, and this should be at the top of the list.

Paving the way toward privatization


The hemorrhaging of education dollars is increasing:

Before the voucher program began, there was little concern about the low level of state oversight of private schools because they received no public money. The voucher money is flowing now — $11 million this year, with $24 million budgeted for 2016 — but private schools are subject to minimal requirements for student assessment and none at all for curricula, instructional staff or financial viability. The schools can choose the pupils they want to admit and are free to provide religious instruction.

The hypocrisy of those on the right over this issue is mind-boggling. They wail about accountability and waste in our traditional public school system, and yet don't believe government has any business monitoring those very same things when taxpayer dollars are funneled into private and charter schools. And their predictable reaction to requests for more funding of struggling public schools, that "throwing more money" at them will do no good, is exactly reversed with charters and private schools. We need to direct more state and local funding in that direction, and every failure of one of those schools is blamed on a lack of monetary support from the government. It's amazing they can tie their own shoes without tying them together and then falling on their faces.

Voter survey on education spending

Private schools and for-profit charters are not as popular as the GOP thinks:

• 75% agree public tax dollars should not be used to pay for exclusive private schools
(up from 73% in 2013).

• 73% agree public money should not go to private schools. If parents choose to send their
children to private schools, they should pay for it (up from 68% in 2013).

• 71% agree tax dollars should not go to for-profit companies who run charter schools that are
not accountable to taxpayers for delivering student outcomes in the same way local public
schools are.

This is what happens when elected officials pay attention to a small group of advocates who echo their own prejudices; they strike off on a Crusade that does not have the support of a super-majority of the people they are supposed to represent. It's also one of negative effects of gerrymandering, because their inevitable re-election leads them to falsely believe people actually support what they're doing.

Perennial failed candidate chimes in on voucher decision

Big surprise, Richard Vinroot supports privatizing public education:

Even after losing, the plaintiffs continue to insist that allowing students choices in addition to traditional public schools somehow violates the State Constitution’s requirement that there must be, at minimum, a “general and uniform system of public schools.” However, our courts have long held that the legislature can establish other school programs in addition to---

I'm gonna stop you right there. The courts have *not* held that, and the Constitution is *not* ambiguous:

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