Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

VOUCHER SCHOOLS....Greg Anrig comments on yesterday's Florida Supreme Court decision striking down Jeb Bush's school voucher program:

One of the great unresolved contradictions in the conservative movement's advocacy on education is the extent to which it is demanding that public schools adhere to rigid testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act while simultaneously promoting voucher systems that require no reporting at all from private schools about their performance. Research into charter schools by Columbia's Amy Stuart Wells and others is showing that providing them with autonomy while imposing accountability for results has by and large resulted in schools that look much like their conventional public counterparts.

No one has yet demonstrated that they know how to make an urban school district succeed in this country. Voucher systems, because they lack accountability, were never going to be the answer. The Florida decision is a welcome step toward focusing on possibilities that offer hope, like public school choice and Wisconsin's own Chapter 220 program, which enables low-income urban students to attend suburban schools.

I'm a cautiously optimistic fan of charter schools, which seem to provide a decent avenue for experimenting with different ways of teaching kids while still providing common-sense levels of accountability. Voucher schools typically don't, and while some percentage of inner city schools are going to fail no matter what, there's a big difference between schools that are trying and failing and schools that fail because they're essentially allowed to get away with fraud.

Bottom line: conservatives can't have it both ways. If high-stakes testing is the be-all and end-all of education reform, then their pet voucher proposals need to include the same kind of testing requirements that they demand for public schools. And if voucher schools end up doing no better than public schools, providing little more than a safe haven for a voting bloc that wants to protect their kids from learning about evolution? Then it's back to the drawing board.

The Florida Supremes did the right thing. Public money without public accountability is fundamentally wrong.

Kevin Drum 12:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (129)

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Comments

"Public money without public accountability"

I thought this was the Bush administration motto?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 6, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Public money without public accountability is fundamentally wrong.
Should SS, welfare and Medicare recipients be providing itemized lists of expenditures? Or just when does this apply?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

NCLB: a great leap forward for federalism (makes more sense if you read it wearing your doublethink glasses).

Posted by: alex on January 6, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Voucher systems, because they lack accountability, were never going to be the answer.

*Snicker* What a liberal socialist thing to say. Of course there is accountability. Vouchers promote using the free market to choose schools. In the free market accountability is determined by the consumer, in this case the parents. Private schools which are most accountable to the parents succeed because parents choose their kids to go to school there. Those which are least accountable fail. But liberals hate private schools because they hate letting the parents choose the best schools for their children. Liberals hate capitalism and the free market.

Posted by: Al on January 6, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Rigid testing requirements in public schools coupled with vouchers to unmonitored private schools is tailored to one end only, and that is the destruction of the public school system model.

Posted by: nolo on January 6, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy nut, what are you talking about?

In the Medicare system, doctors submit bills to Medicare and Medicare pays the bills. Are you saying that patients should pay out of pocket and then submit those bills to Medicare for reimbursement? Or are you actually so ignorant that you think this is how the system currently works?

Gotta love conservatives. They believe in the people, not government, unless they want to screw over poor people, sick people, old people, or liberals. Then government should be pretty much omnipotent and omnipresent. Nice.

Posted by: theorajones on January 6, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

*Vomit* I'm sure the parents are the best judge of what a good education is, why should educational experts have a say in education? Perhaps education is not needed at all, just sit them in front of the T.V. That is, if that's what the parents want.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Universal education is the most corroding and disintergrating poison that liberlism has ever invented."

-Hitler

Posted by: G on January 6, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Rather than wasting money setting up parallel school systems or giving public money to private schools the voucher money should be spent on the existing schools. You don't punish the school or the child for his parent's failings, which is what all this "accountablility" nonsense in No Child Left Behind amounts to. For the most part, children from "bad homes" perform no better in charter or private schools than they do in the public schools they were attending.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 6, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Any voucher program is essentially farcical.
The amounts of money available to parents who take advantage of the opportunity to send a child to another school under PA's(proposed but never passed voucher program) was somewhere in the $1000 range per student. Yearly tuition at private academies in western PA has always been in the high teens to mid 20's. Generally well eyond the financial range all but the most comitted and financially able citizens.
The program as advocated by conservatives ( former Ed. Sec. Hickok, former Gov. Ridge) was a way to ruin public education as we know it and accomplish back door support to private religious schools under the guise of "choice". Though of course, this was never stated as such.
Technique sound familiar? (cough, Bush Social Security rescue, cough).
The Catholic Diocese statewide loved the idea.

Posted by: Tosh on January 6, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

The issue at hand here is should the rich be allowed to set up their own educational system?

Posted by: G on January 6, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy nut, what are you talking about?
Pretty simple, the government disburses public funds without public accountability in some instances.

I just want to know in what instances that is acceptable and in what not.

I'll take your Medicare example. That leaves SS and welfare.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
The issue at hand here is should the rich be allowed to set up their own educational system?

No, the issue is should the poor subsidize the existing separate educational system for the rich.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

, the government disburses public funds without public accountability in some instances.

I just want to know in what instances that is acceptable and in what not.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006

Spending my money to kill, torture and teach god without accountability would be unacceptable.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty simple, the government disburses public funds without public accountability in some instances.

Flip it the other way. Why shouldn't private schools have to adhere to the same acountability\standards as public schools ?

I remember when Republicans loved to talk about "accountability" .

Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bush just said at this very moment that he was hiring adjunct instructors to help teach the students. Adjunct instructor is a nice word for part-time no benefit employee of the state

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

You say:

I'm a cautiously optimistic fan of charter schools, which seem to provide a decent avenue for experimenting with different ways of teaching kids while still providing common-sense levels of accountability. Voucher schools typically don't, and while some percentage of inner city schools are going to fail no matter what, there's a big difference between schools that are trying and failing and schools that fail because they're essentially allowed to get away with fraud.

My comment:

The voucher schools DO have accountability. It is called consumer choice. If the voucher schools don't meet the needs of the students and parents, unlike in the public sector, the parents can choose to send their child elsewhere.

Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The issue at hand here is should the rich be allowed to set up their own educational system?

They already do. It's called Andover, St. Paul's, Lawrenceville, Woodberry Forest, etc., then leads on to their own higher ed system of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Williams, etc.

Posted by: Vincent on January 6, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

C says;

The issue at hand here is should the rich be allowed to set up their own educational system?

I say;
Why not. They already pay for the public one. Why can't they pay for both?

Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Flip it the other way. Why shouldn't private schools have to adhere to the same acountability\standards as public schools ?
Al had that one at 12:56 PM. I think there is a little more to that argument. The responsibility for educating children must lie with the people that have the authority over those children. That responsibility cannot be foisted on the Federal Gov't because they have no authority.

So leaving the responsibility of the competetive choice of schools in the hands of the people with authority is good.

Of course, there are other ways to leave the responsiblity with the authority. That is why I'm asking about this sometimes yes/sometimes no public funds and public accountability.

See, I still talk about accountability.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

So true, Vincent. Don't forget the essential corrollary: We shouldn't have to pay taxes for public education, either. Let the poor pay for their own schools just like we do for ours.

Posted by: kaptain kapital on January 6, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK
The voucher schools DO have accountability. It is called consumer choice. If the voucher schools don't meet the needs of the students and parents, unlike in the public sector, the parents can choose to send their child elsewhere.

If an area has voucher schools, then, clearly, it is not true that in the public sector parents cannot choose to send their child elsewhere. Therefore, anywhere that vouchers actually exist, this argument fails.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

al: In the free market accountability is determined by the consumer, in this case the parents.

why is it then that...

when....hollywood gives consumers what they want....

conservatives blame hollywood?


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on January 6, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Unless school voucher proponets receive meaningful redress, we may predict they will oppose funding public schools.

If the purpose of public schooling is to promote some sort of kulturekampf - as opposed to the 3-R's - many people will come to oppose them altogether.

Posted by: Thinker on January 6, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Of course they can have it both ways. Their aim is to destroy public schools, not to provide kids with a good education. To paraphrase Grover, they want to cut enrollment in half so that public education is small enough that they can drown it in the bathtub by regulating it out of existence.

Posted by: Michael Ditto on January 6, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Neo-cons fear of education demands its destruction, how else are the proles to believe the tripe handed to them?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK


I want a voucher for all of my tax dollars that are being squandered on the U.S. military!! $200 billion has been wasted by the military bureaucrats in Iraq and I am not one iota safer or more secure (in fact, I am probably less so), than if they hadn't spent a nickel there. To paraphrase Jeb Bush, it isn't fair to the American people to support a monopoly (like the Pentagram, I mean, Pentagon)...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 6, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: The voucher schools DO have accountability. It is called consumer choice.

cmdicely: If an area has voucher schools, then, clearly, it is not true that in the public sector parents cannot choose to send their child elsewhere.

There are two logical approaches then:

1. anywhere vouchers exist, the NCLB requirements for the public schools should be dropped, or

2. all private schools to which vouchers may be applied must also meet NCLB requirements.

Posted by: alex on January 6, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK
If the purpose of public schooling is to promote some sort of kulturekampf - as opposed to the 3-R's - many people will come to oppose them altogether.

Conversely, many people oppose them because they are not used as part of a White Christian Conservative kulturkampf in which the power dominating the federal government uses the schools for ideological indoctrination to support that power and, in parallel, takes control of religious institutions through financial influence. Which is, pretty much, what Bismarck sought in the original Kulturkampf, except that he sought control of religious institutions through control of ecclesiastical appointments rather than through the softer power of financial influence.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Their aim is to destroy public schools
Have any of you thought to ask if this is desirable? Are public schools the best option? If so, why do so many parents support vouchers? Is our current methodology of assigning responsibility to those with no authority working?

Your knee jerk reactionary protection of teacher's unions and big Federal government is noted, but are they really the only things to consider?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

The humans are so simple; by simple, I mean stupid.

Posted by: Satan on January 6, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Amen to those who see the obvious. Voucher have only two purposes. 1: to finance the segregation "Christian" schools of the south and 2: to bail out the rapidly failing Catholic school system (if you don't believe me look at enrollment figures for Catholic schools k-12).
That is all. Nothing more. All this talk of choice if bullshit when good private schools cost 15-20 thousand a year.

Posted by: msj on January 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

If so, why do so many parents support vouchers?
Posted by: conspiracy nut

If so many parents support vouchers and, by extension, private schools, why do 95% of all children in America attend public schools?

Racist moron.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 6, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Racist moron
You forgot ignorant, facist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist, knuckle-dragging, gun-totin', sister-lovin', bad-mannered, brain-dead and redneck.

But the answer to your question is: because you Dems won't let them have the vouchers they want.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

This FLorida SC decision isn't intentionally racist, but implicitly it is. It's like sick joke for the Court to write that vouchers don't provide "...high quality..." schools, as Constitutionally required. In fact, too many Florida minorities are forced to attend public schools of no quality at all. Vouchers were their only hope of moving to a high quality school.

There's also the racist assumption that minority parents won't use the vouchers for their children's best options.

Posted by: David on January 6, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Friday Troll Feeding!

conspiracy nut: Are public schools the best option? If so, why do so many parents support vouchers?

Most parents, including me, don't support vouchers and never have. Since you made the original claim that they do, please provide credible survey data supporting it (preferably not from the Wingnut Times).

Sensible people realize that they're just a way to subsidize the private education of the well-off, or the religious education of others. Let them pay for it themselves.

Your knee jerk reactionary protection of teacher's unions and big Federal government

I think the federal gov't should stay out of K-12 education, which is one reason I'm opposed to your man's NCLB fiasco. Courtesy of the Republican party: smaller gov't, federalism and doublethink.

BTW, we had public education long before teacher's unions or a larger federal gov't. Thomas Jefferson was a big proponent. While in need of improvement, it's a system that's worked pretty well for centuries (without the federal gov't, thank you). Those countries that beat us in international tests also have public schools, not vouchers.

Suddenly, righties like yourself want to make radical changes. Is that what they call conservatism in your world?

Posted by: alex on January 6, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

No moves are made by anyone in the Bush family without some form of financial consideration coming either to them or to their friends.

The Bushites have been pushing voucher schools for years and were successful here in Florida. As for the financial rewards, one of the most obvious is the reward that was given to former Florida Senate President Jim Horne (R-Orange Park). Immediately after he was term-limited out of office, Horne, an Orange Park CPA that had no experience in education, politics, etc. prior to his stint in Tallahassee, was appointed as the new head of the new Florida Department of Education, which oversaw the formation of the new voucher program in the state.

Coincidentally, Horne's CPA firm somehow, no one knows how, was awarded a substantial number of contracts in nearly every county in the state, to handle the organizational finances for these new Charter Schools, that were formed to take advantage of the vouchers.

All of a sudden, Horne is in charge of the system, develops the system, and proceeds to make a shitload of money off of the system, on the side.

BTW, quite a few of the charter schools that were formed to take advantage of the vouchers, have failed, educationally and financially.

Here in Duval County, the School Board has revoked the charter of many of these schools due to poor performance, incomplete participation in mandated testing, and financial irregularities. BTW, some of the ones with the money issues are clients of Hornes.

In this morning's local mullet wrapper, Horne is quoted as having been in Bush's office at the time they got word of the SC decision. Neither were happy.

Posted by: Ed on January 6, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Successful cocieties have good public schools, or they would not be successful.

If you have enough money you can send your child to private school, see Bush. He may have learned something about America if he had been in public schools, his loss.

Most charter schools fail, see Tx. Some folded over night and students and parents arrived at empty buildings, also no accounting required until millions of $$ just disappeared, money badley needed in public schools.

Troubled inner city children are not welcome in the better suburban schools, not even with vouchers. In addition there is a transportation problem. How much time should a student spend to commute? How much does it cost in addition?

The big problem public schools in inner cities(the problem schools)face are social problems.
Homeless, sick and traumatized children can't learn. These schools need more money not less, more teachers with time for individual students, smaller classes after school programs and so on.

Our schools suffer from our huge social problems before the children ever get to school.

Posted by: Renate on January 6, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

In the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. -- Earl Warren

Posted by: G on January 6, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

G gives a good argument in favor of vouchers. Without them, only the rich will attend private schools.

Posted by: David on January 6, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

G gives a good argument in favor of vouchers. Without them, only the rich will attend private schools.

Posted by: David on January 6, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Have any of you thought to ask if this [destruction of the public school system] is desirable?
--conspiracy nut

Reply: No more than I have thought to ask whether it was desirable to destroy the public water treatment plant or the public library. Please refer to an Economics textbook, under "public goods" for a definition that might be helpful in understanding this concept...

Are public schools the best option?
-- conspiracy nut

Reply: And what are you proposing? "Every man (or woman) for themselves"? How would that benefit American society? You can thank leftist radicals like Benjamin Franklin for recognizing the benefits that public education has in promoting an informed, productive and healthy society. If you want to call that socialism, so be it. It is clearly the sane way to organize a post-industrial revolution society. The way I see it, we pay to educate or we pay to incarcerate. And the latter is much, much more expensive.

If so, why do so many parents support vouchers?
-- conspiracy nut

Reply: I don't know, but I'd say it is related to right-wing brainwashing like the three hours a day that Rush Limbaugh is on the air. Besides, a clear majority of Americans oppose vouchers if the question is framed truthfully, viz: "Do you support vouchers for private schools if the outcome is that you will have to find your own school for each of your children, find your own transportation to/from that school, build a new infrastructure to administer vouchers and close and shutter all of the current public schools in your area?? What percentage of people do you suppose would support vouchers then? The problem is that the people pushing vouchers are elitist liars who are wealthy and can afford to send their kids to private schools anyway, but prefer to suckle off the public teat and get their own way...

Is our current methodology of assigning responsibility to those with no authority working?
-- conspiracy nut

Reply: I have no idea what you mean. Please explain. If you mean teachers have no accountability, try being one for a while. After some irate mom comes in and screams at you for giving her miscreant son a D when he deserved an F, then come back here and talk about no accountability. Teachers have accountability imposed on them, even for things over which they have no control, far in excess of what any businessman has.

Your knee jerk reactionary protection of teacher's unions and big Federal government is noted, but are they really the only things to consider?

The only knee I see jerking here is yours. You don't seem to have any problem defending the most bloated, inefficient and wasteful Federal bureaucracy of all - the Pentagon. For Christ's sake, they can't even account for several billions of dollars. Can you imagine the outrage if the Department of Education, whose budget is 5% of the Pentagon's, couldn't account for even a million dollars??? You think throwing money at the military makes you a patriot. I think it makes you a fool.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 6, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

With apologies to Lester Thurow if I misstate his position, but the countries whose students outperform US students have federal education systems while the US persists in local control and FUNDING of schools. Some US schools (say those in Palo Alto) will be superb, while others (those in Mississippi in general) will be abysmal. Voucher schools which are free from standards exacerbate this disparity -- some will teach very well and some will teach very poorly.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on January 6, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK
Public money without public accountability is fundamentally wrong. Should SS, welfare and Medicare recipients be providing itemized lists of expenditures? Or just when does this apply?

This may be the stupidest thing I've ever read. First of all, Medicare recipientd do provide itemized lists of expenditures -- that's how the docs and pharmacists get reimbursed.

Second, Social Secuirity is paid for by the recipients as an insurance program, not a grant or voucher. The person who receives SS paid into the insurance program and gets payments back for doing so. And, they DO have public accountability because SS administrators can check every person's contributions and checks issued to them.

Third, welfare is also accountable because people have to prove they are looking for work, or are doing work as part or Workfare.

But the real stupidity is that there is a difference between a person receiving a check from the government and a business doing so. If you can't see the difference between a human being and a legal construct, you are an idiot.

Posted by: N Rudy on January 6, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

That is why I'm asking about this sometimes yes/sometimes no public funds and public accountability.

I'm asking about it too. Why "sometimes yes" with a public school and "sometimes no" with a private school ?

Obviously, one size doesn't fit all but, I would prefer to move in the direction of more accountability.

The voucher schools DO have accountability. It is called consumer choice. If the voucher schools don't meet the needs of the students and parents, unlike in the public sector, the parents can choose to send their child elsewhere.

Vouchers don't mean unlimited choice and vouchers don't mean that people will be able to afford the school of there choice.

Privates schools are going to try to maintain the exclusivity, small class size, desirable demographic, etc that their clients are willing to pay for.

Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK
With apologies to Lester Thurow if I misstate his position, but the countries whose students outperform US students have federal education systems while the US persists in local control and FUNDING of schools.

Well, they don't all have a federal system of government so as to be able to have a "federal education system", and I'm not sure that it is universally the case that the systems outperforming the US have greater central control, though it seems likely that is generally the case.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK
Most charter schools fail, see Tx. Some folded over night and students and parents arrived at empty buildings, also no accounting required until millions of $$ just disappeared, money badley needed in public schools.

The label "charter schools" covers a wide range of different programs. Charter schools can be anything from regular public schools, administered by the local school district, but freed from selected portion of the states general requirements to have more flexibility, to private contractors given public money with little accountability.

Clearly, in order for innovation to progress, there must be some freedom to try out new teaching methods in the real world, so that's one clear need for charter schools of the first type.

Its also clear that certain localities, particularly in a large and diverse state, may manifest special and unusual needs which make it inappropriate to apply rules written for the needs of most of the rest of the state. Another clear need for the freedom provided by charter schools of the first type.

I can't see any good argument for charter schools of the second type. Its just lazy and irresponsible.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
Vouchers don't mean unlimited choice and vouchers don't mean that people will be able to afford the school of there choice.

Unlimited choice, is, of course, unattainable in any field, but there is no reason that a voucher system could not include a requirement that, if a school elects to accept the vouchers at all, it must accept the voucher as payment in full. Indeed, if they are a method to provide meaningful choice for all students regardless of wealth, rather than to subsidize the private education of the wealthiest students, they ought to have such a requirement.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why "sometimes yes" with a public school and "sometimes no" with a private school ?
That one's already been answered, and I can see with you lefties ducking the question that it isn't going to be addressed.

But tell me, since you're in favor of moving toward more accountability; when does the call come for itemized expenditures from welfare recipients?

But the real stupidity is that there is a difference between a person receiving a check from the government and a business doing so. If you can't see the difference between a human being and a legal construct, you are an idiot.
Well, Rudy, at least I'm not stupid enough to think that vouchers will be going to businesses instead of parents.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK
...but there is no reason that a voucher system could not include a requirement that, if a school elects to accept the vouchers at all, it must accept the voucher as payment in full.

and a requirement to accept physically disabled and learning disabled students. Somehow I doubt that will ever happen.

Posted by: Edo on January 6, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

You think throwing money at the military makes you a patriot. I think it makes you a fool.
Well, you know, we can blow shit up real good but we seem to be having trouble teaching kids to read and write. So I guess I'll have to come to an opposite conclusion.

As for your strawman that the only alternative to public schools is every man for themselves is just a bit disingenious since we're talking about vouchers for private schools.

And your lack of understanding that responsibility cannot be assigned with authority does not surprise me. Responsibility and what it takes seems to be foreign to lefties.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

cannot be assigned without authority

With normal people I'd assume you'd pick up that error, but...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

cannot be assigned without authority -With normal people I'd assume you'd pick up that error, but...,
-- conspiracy nut

You didn't tell me I was in charge of proofreading your posts today...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 6, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about charter schools in general; but the charter schools associated with school districts that I've worked for were disasters. No one knows where the money went.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 6, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they don't all have a federal system of government so as to be able to have a "federal education system", and I'm not sure that it is universally the case that the systems outperforming the US have greater central control, though it seems likely that is generally the case.
Posted by: cmdicely

Call it what you want, but these countries have nationally organized school systems and they have equal levels of funding from school district to school district, unlike the U.S. with it's positively retarded state and local control that allow funding and resource inequities.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

You didn't tell me I was in charge of proofreading your posts today
Well, technically I don't think you were...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

That one's already been answered, and I can see with you lefties ducking the question that it isn't going to be addressed.

Read my whole post. I responded to this point.

But tell me, since you're in favor of moving toward more accountability; when does the call come for itemized expenditures from welfare recipients?

So your logic is: since we can't make welfare recipients %100 percent accountable, then its OK
to forget accountability for anything else ?

Why bother with accountability on public schools ?

Why bother with accountability for any government spending ? After all, if the contracotrs waste a bunch of money we won't give them any more business (unless its Halliburton).

Fraud and waste occur in the private sector too.


Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Hey CN, did you go to public or private school?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Parents, and only parents, can assess the quality of education of their children. They are the only ones to whom the outcome really matters. Neither politicians, government bureaucrats, nor teachers-public and private give a shit one way or the other about how well your child is educated; in fact, it is to their benefit that the parents not know how badly the education system is performing. Limiting the parents' choices only hamstrings their ability to actually do anything about the quality of their children's education, if they even care, which a lot them don't these days it would appear.

By the way, I don't like vouchers very much because the government simply uses the money as just another method of control. If vouchers were universal, you would end up in a worse place than today- schools would all be de facto public and terrible. You would do much better to scrap the entire system and let parents decide what to do about their children's education, free of any coercion.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 6, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

So your logic is
Your logic is: I want to do accountability when it suits me, and I don't want to do accountability when it doesn't suit me; and I have no other criteria other than what suits me.

Here's my logic: Since public accounting for public funds is not a requirement, then it is not a reason to overturn the vouchers. Most public funds disbursed to individuals are not accounted for. Vouchers are essentially funds disbursed to individuals.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hey CN, did you go to public or private school?
skool? wE dunt need no sckol. mE wuz edukashed t home liik it shuld bE.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I do believe the word PRIVATE is magic, people believe PRIVATE IS BETTER. Maybe it is if you can afford a private boarding school for maybe $50k a year. A taxpayer paid voucher just will not do.
Charter school will not be able to pay teachers better, hire better qualified teachers, have funds for special educational needs, in short they will have the same problems public schools have if they are any good.
As some already posted, the way we finance our schools is a big problem, it is uneven and where there is the most need there is the least money. And yes it takes money, see boarding schools they have the best, and are expensive.

I believe I read somewhere the budget for headstart will be cut. That is a very successful educational experiment and needs more not less money. The money would be well spent, but we think it is better to finance prisons.

Posted by: Renate on January 6, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Public money without public accountability is fundamentally wrong.

This is completely silly. College students are given Pell grants to go to ANY college that they desire, including private colleges, religious colleges, etc. No one says, or even dreams of saying, that when college students accept government money, they are then required to go to a state-run school.

Why should a different rule apply to high school seniors? No liberal has ever been able to come up with a good answer to that question.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 6, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

someone wrote:
"Voucher systems, because they lack accountability, were never going to be the answer."


Al snickers:
"*Snicker* What a liberal socialist thing to say."

Hmmm. What exactly would a liberal socialist be?


Al continues:
"Of course there is accountability. Vouchers promote using the free market to choose schools. In the free market accountability is determined by the consumer, in this case the parents. Private schools which are most accountable to the parents succeed because parents choose their kids to go to school there. Those which are least accountable fail."

Dems consider education to be too important to leave to the variable quality the free market produces. What would you do if all the schools cut their quality and your choice was between bad and worse? Is there really enough profit in education so that other educators would jump into the field and invest millions to compete? There aren't even enough willing to do that in the oil industry when billions are being made.

Do you actually have any evidence that private schools educate better when given the same number of dollars as public schools? All I've seen indicates they're equal because all the teachers are equally dedicated to teaching kids, despite receiving mediocre pay.


Al goes on and on and on:
"But liberals hate private schools because they hate letting the parents choose the best schools for their children."

Don't be silly. Why on earth would anyone not want the kids to have a great education? Gimme a break!

Dems believe that with proper funding and oversight the public school system is best. Of course, that doesn't mean we'd oppose pilot projects to test new and potentially better educational systems.


Al spews forth:
"Liberals hate capitalism and the free market."

Posted by: Al on January 6, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Incredibly stupid -- haven't we all been living in this great capitalistic system for aeons now and have the Dems ever tried to change it to Socialism? No. Even FDR didn't do that, despite political pressure to "do something". Nope, he saved the capitalistic system for the world.

I think Al is confusing Liberal with Socialist. Maybe he should go back to the books to learn the difference.

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Most public funds disbursed to individuals are not accounted for.

Do you have any facts to back that statement up ?

It doens't really matter, because the "accountability" in the article doesn't refer to the individuals, it refers to the schools.

"One of the great unresolved contradictions in the conservative movement's advocacy on education is the extent to which it is demanding that public schools adhere to rigid testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act while simultaneously promoting voucher systems that require no reporting at all from private schools about their performance."

I remember Dubya loved to say "accountability" when he was talking about No Child Left Behind.

Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

No one says, or even dreams of saying, that when college students accept government money, they are then required to go to a state-run school.

Have you read the article ?

No one is saying that someone would have to go to a certain school.

"One of the great unresolved contradictions in the conservative movement's advocacy on education is the extent to which it is demanding that public schools adhere to rigid testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act while simultaneously promoting voucher systems that require no reporting at all from private schools about their performance. "


Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Unlimited choice, is, of course, unattainable in any field, but there is no reason that a voucher system could not include a requirement that, if a school elects to accept the vouchers at all, it must accept the voucher as payment in full

Price controls ?

Doesn't sound like any free market I ever heard of.

I thought the whole idea was to let the market fix the probelm.

Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

The issue at hand here is should the rich be allowed to set up their own educational system?

Rich people already have their own school system. Actually, two of them: i) Private schools ii) High-priced school districts.

In a true voucher system (like the one we'll eventually see implemented after a few more years of conservative court appointments) there won't be "parallel" systems; rather, there will be one system, because the differences between public and private schools will disolve into meaninglessness.

Taxpayers, in other words, will fund students, not schools.

Whether a student uses that portable funding to go to a "public" school or a "private" one will be a pretty meaningless distinction, and eventually the public sector will get out of the business of managing and operating schools altogether, in favor of restricting its role to funding, oversight, and standards. We'll all be a lot better off with the far greater degree of accountability brought about by the ability of families to vote with their feet.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 6, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Voucher schools are parochial schools. Your tax dollars at work indoctrinating kids in the whacky right-wing dominionist culture of religious hatred.

Posted by: allen on January 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Price controls ? Doesn't sound like any free market I ever heard of.

The very idea of having the state intervene with public funds to insure the universality of education is itself a pretty major concession by free marketeers. What they want is to make use of the market's ability to allocate resources effectively by allowing money to flow to schools that are succeeding, and denying it to those that are furthering the decline in educational performance (and putting the nation's future at risk as a result). We have this pretty powerful engine called "the market". Why not use it to our advantage? And please don't give me the argument that it's not perfect, because NOBODY is saying that. But if you do insist on using that argument, then why aren't you arguing for the government to own, manage and operate the grocery stores where food stamp recipients shop? Isn't the food stamp program a voucher system?

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II writes, Rather than wasting money setting up parallel school systems or giving public money to private schools the voucher money should be spent on the existing schools.

That's been the traditional model, and what is driving the move for vouchers and charter schools today -- the public schools keep getting the money, and parents remain dissatisfied.

Posted by: Steve White on January 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

We'll all be a lot better off with the far greater degree of accountability brought about by the ability of families to vote with their feet.

See article:

the conservative movement's advocacy on education is the extent to which it is demanding that public schools adhere to rigid testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act while simultaneously promoting voucher systems that require no reporting at all from private schools about their performance.

If there is no standard measure of a schools success, how will parents know which schools are better ?


Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

If there is no standard measure of a schools success, how will parents know which schools are better?

How do people know which colleges are better?


Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 6, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK
Price controls ?

Doesn't sound like any free market I ever heard of.

Since vouchers are public subsidies, which also violate the rhetoric of a "free market" in the same way that price controls do, I don't see this as really a substantive objection in the context of a voucher system.

I thought the whole idea was to let the market fix the probelm.

If that was the idea, you would just eliminate public funding (and tax advantages) to education, rather than imposing a market distortion in the form of public-funded vouchers. Not that the market would fix the problem, as "education" is not particularly a good for which rational choice theory is a particularly good model of reality and, therefore, also not one for which there is much reason to expect market-based solutions to work well, even if the costs and benefits were well-concentrated in the involved decisionmakers.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

How do people know which colleges are better?

Acrrediting.


Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK
This is completely silly. College students are given Pell grants to go to ANY college that they desire, including private colleges, religious colleges, etc.

No, that's not correct. Pell Grants require the student to go to an accredited school; and have other requirements. The accredition requirement is the accountability requirement for the school, there are also accountability requirements in terms of course-load (at least half-time), etc., for the student.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

If that was the idea, you would just eliminate public funding (and tax advantages) to education, rather than imposing a market distortion in the form of public-funded vouchers. Not that the market would fix the problem, as "education" is not particularly a good for which rational choice theory is a particularly good model of reality and, therefore, also not one for which there is much reason to expect market-based solutions to work well, even if the costs and benefits were well-concentrated in the involved decisionmakers.

Then what's the benefit of vouchers ?

I'm against vouchers.

Posted by: Stephen on January 6, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Allen writes, Voucher schools are parochial schools. Your tax dollars at work indoctrinating kids in the whacky right-wing dominionist culture of religious hatred.

That's a very bigoted statement. There are many kinds of parochial schools -- in my area we have Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Baptist, and Hindu schools. Do you seriously suggest that all of them 'indoctrinte kids in the whacky right-wing dominonist culture of relgious hatred'? That would be news to my Hindu, Jewish and Catholic friends.

There may be reasons to oppose vouchers or parochial schools, but your kind of bigotry should have no place in a liberal, open society.

Posted by: Steve White on January 6, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK
We have this pretty powerful engine called "the market". Why not use it to our advantage?

Because the "fuel" for "engine" of the market (accurate information about expected subjective utility by the purchaser and seller, identity between the decisionmaking parties and the parties deriving benefit or cost from the decision to engage in, or not engage in the transaction) are largely not present in the case of education, particularly primary and secondary education, and, therefore, one cannot rationally expect that "engine" to be particularly useful in that area.

And please don't give me the argument that it's not perfect, because NOBODY is saying that. But if you do insist on using that argument, then why aren't you arguing for the government to own, manage and operate the grocery stores where food stamp recipients shop?

Because rational choice theory is a much better approximation of reality in the market for food, and there is a closer identity between the beneficiary and the decisionmaker, therefore consumer choice systems are more likely to be efficient than would be the case for, say, primary or secondary education.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK
Then what's the benefit of vouchers ?

There is a benefit to vouchers?


I'm against vouchers.

Yeah, me too; I just think the idea that vouchers are a free market solution is doubly stupid -- they aren't a "free market" system, and neither they nor an actual "free market" system are particularly likely to solve any actual problem with education delivery.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The issue of vouchers within the school system is more complex than even most of these comments suggest. While the public record discusses the issue in terms of choice and equality, I see it also as matter of desiring not to face the real issue. If it were really a matter of choice and equality, as proponents suggenst, then why is there not a real drive toward public school reform. Instead the government decides to add patch after patch. First it's the standards movement, then charter schools, then vouchers, none of which actually address a poblem that very likely exists: the country has outgrown the current public school system structure.

But there is no real desire to start the process of major reform. It is too expensive for this tax-cutting electorate.

Posted by: The Lowly Bum on January 6, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

On the Pell grant issue, there are indeed limits: in addition to accreditation, there are certain regulatory limits. As I recall, students at Bob Jones University are ineligible for Pell grants as the university refuses to sign off on certain requirements. Fine, their choice, and everyone understands up front.

A voucher program that limits students to accredited schools that meet clearly defined regulatory requirements (minimum standards on curriculum, etc) would indeed offer choices that parents might want to consider, particularly if the public school that their child would attend is failing to meet the childrens' needs.

Black parents, indeed, have been vigorous supporters of voucher programs -- it helps them get their children out of failing public schools. In the Florida program, a very high proporition of voucher recipients were black or hispanic. It seems their parents judged the public schools in their neighborhoods to be unacceptable.

Opponents of vouchers have an obligation to push to make public schools better. That might involve some unpalatable political choices (most of the failing urban schools are in cities long run by Democrats). It's not just a money issue; there are structural and political reforms required. Vouchers are one way for parents to get around these problems. If you're not going to allow that, you've got to fix the problems.

Posted by: Steve White on January 6, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK
Whether a student uses that portable funding to go to a "public" school or a "private" one will be a pretty meaningless distinction, and eventually the public sector will get out of the business of managing and operating schools altogether, in favor of restricting its role to funding, oversight, and standards. We'll all be a lot better off with the far greater degree of accountability brought about by the ability of families to vote with their feet.

Except, among other problems, that the limited ability of a geographical region to support multiple competing schools, the high barriers to entry -- especially the ability to secure a minimal footprint in terms of land -- and other practical concerns mean that functional competition will likely be rather sharply limited in even the best of cases; schools are a natural monopoly, whether private or public.

I suppose you could set up a model where school sites and some common services were publicly provided, but the actual instruction and academic administration was carried out by private contractors (having virtual "private schools" operating within a single common public facility -- which could be private under an exclusive contract, like a local cable company), though that would limit the ability of the private providers to control the totality of the experience, and require considerable interface management. Even ignoring whether education, considered abstractly apart from the difficulties on the supply side, is a commodity where the "free market" can be expected to work well, the supply issues make it a poor candidate for a pure market "solution" of any kind.

I'm sick and tired of "free market" "free market" "free market" being used as a religious chant by people who show no evidence of understanding what goes into making a "free market" work, and the limits that constrain the utility of such a market.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

One must also wonder what government might pull out of their hat pertaiing to a school taking of public funds. Can the government then, once a school has accepted a student through vouchers, step in and start making rules?

Posted by: The Lowly Bum on January 6, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

ME: This is completely silly. College students are given Pell grants to go to ANY college that they desire, including private colleges, religious colleges, etc.

CMDICELY:
No, that's not correct. Pell Grants require the student to go to an accredited school; and have other requirements. The accredition requirement is the accountability requirement for the school, there are also accountability requirements in terms of course-load (at least half-time), etc., for the student.

What I said is a lot more correct than your piddly little nitpicking. Sure, they have to be accredited, and as another commenter pointed out, they can't keep out blacks (Bob Jones). So fine: Let's have government vouchers that can be used at any school that meets a few bare minimum requirements (accreditation) and doesn't discriminate on racial grounds.

My overall point remains: Neither you nor anyone else can explain why it's a great and wonderful thing for an 18-year-old to get a voucher to use at virtually any college in the United States, while it is [unconstitutional, stupid, immoral, take your pick] for that same 18-year-old to get a voucher if he were finishing up high school.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 6, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK
My overall point remains: Neither you nor anyone else can explain why it's a great and wonderful thing for an 18-year-old to get a voucher to use at virtually any college in the United States, while it is [unconstitutional, stupid, immoral, take your pick] for that same 18-year-old to get a voucher if he were finishing up high school.

Actually, I think I've pretty clearly outlined upthread why, in relation to the lack of identity between the beneficiary and the decisionmaker, consumer choice models (including vouchers) make considerably more sense for adults than children in the field of education. And, of course, Pell Grants aren't parallel to vouchers anyway, as there are requirements to establish need, unlike in any voucher proposal.

I suspect there would be fewer objections to need-based public financial aid for primary and secondary students attending private schools than universal, non-need-based, vouchers that serve principally to subsidize private school for the wealthiest students.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to cmdicely for catching my misuse of federal instead of national.

Steve White's post -- "On the Pell grant issue..." -- raises a compelling point and reaches an appealing, but debatable, conclusion. First, many minority parents support vouchers because they feel their schools are failing their children and, second, voucher opponents must fix the problem.

Certainly if you were reared to be compassionately responsible, you should try to correct educational inequities. However, numerous posters have pointed out that: (1) vouchers may exacerbate the problems of public schools by draining their finances and (2)voucher-supported schools may not improve educational outcomes. Are these sufficient reasons to oppose vouchers without incurring the obligation to "fix the school problem"?

But if were to attempt a solution, then.... The importance of money is IMHO incorrectly downplayed. I'd bet that educational spending correlates well with educational effectiveness, and I remember a study that showed the strongest correlation with effectiveness was teacher salary.
Secondly, rather than conducting what are thousands of unrecognized experiments in education (Thurow's point), nationalize the system. Local communities will often lack the capability to evaluate their experiments and even if they have the capability, the spread of best practices will be an unnecessarily slow and random stagger, e.g., creationist zealots have captured whole states before being turned out. Does anyone in a large city have certain knowledge of whom to vote for among board of education candidates?

Posted by: Craig Nelson on January 6, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK
Secondly, rather than conducting what are thousands of unrecognized experiments in education (Thurow's point), nationalize the system. Local communities will often lack the capability to evaluate their experiments and even if they have the capability, the spread of best practices will be an unnecessarily slow and random stagger

Seems to me that, short of nationalizing the system (which has a lot of barriers, including potentially Constitutional ones), one could recast the federal role into one consisting largely of analyzing what works, and encouraging, both through information sharing and direct subsidies, particular of transitions, of new systems demonstrated to work well.

Of course, this violates the paradigm of throwing money to local agencies, setting performance standards and hoping that individual localities will figure out how to meet them on their own, but I've never seen why that was a sensible role of the federal government in the first place.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Seems to me that, short of nationalizing ...."

Yes, it would be difficult to nationalize the educational system and the Commerce Clause has lost its elasticity. Failing that, a system of federal guidance would be preferable to the current situation. It would also be necessary to increase drastically federal spending on education to minimize interstate inequalities and for state takeover of educational financing (Texas has done this?) to eliminate the financial segregation between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on January 6, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Except, among other problems, that the limited ability of a geographical region to support multiple competing schools, the high barriers to entry -- especially the ability to secure a minimal footprint in terms of land -- and other practical concerns mean that functional competition will likely be rather sharply limited in even the best of cases; schools are a natural monopoly, whether private or public.

This is the most absurd argument I've yet heard against making education dollars portable. Much of America is awash in unused commercial space. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever a would-be school would have any difficulty at all renting facilities in which to house its operations. Indeed, I think this brings up one of the seldom remarked-upon advantages of voucherization: it gets municipalities out of the property management business, and so relieves them of a lot of activity that is financially risky (such as floating bonds, buying property, riding the child population cycle up and down, etc.). Far better to outsource this "risk" to entrepreneurs and non-profit foundations.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 6, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

NCLB is enforced by giving or withholding federal money.

If you want it to apply to voucher schools then you need to make the federal voucher money conditional on conformance to NCLB.

But there is no federal voucher money... hmmm... are you suggesting that the feds should fund vouchers?

In general, I think that applying these exams to everyone would be a damned good idea - force the public schools to show how well they are competing against private schools. But implementation is not simple if you are not willing to add massive new subsidies for private schools. Even then, you probably won't get home schoolers... or are you also going to give them a federal funding carrot to get them to comply?

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 6, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Because the "fuel" for "engine" of the market (accurate information about expected subjective utility by the purchaser and seller, identity between the decisionmaking parties and the parties deriving benefit or cost from the decision to engage in, or not engage in the transaction) are largely not present in the case of education, particularly primary and secondary education, and, therefore, one cannot rationally expect that "engine" to be particularly useful in that area.

Nonsense. We already see the proof that your argument is invalid all around us. Homes in top school districts are highly sought after. Indeed, real estate agents use school district reputation as a major selling point. Parents have little difficulty in making determinations about which schools are good, and which ones are not. There is no lack of information about a particular school's performance, and it's hard to see how allowing families to make the assignment decision would affect this one way or another. There is a similar process at work with private schools. A school with a bad reputation will hardly be able to charge steep tution. Reputation, word or mouth, the internet -- these are powerful tools with which to disseminate information about the quality -- or lack thereof -- of services provided by the marketplace.

Even were this process not perfect under a voucher system, and parents occassionally "got it wrong," it's hard to see why this would be inferior to the current situation, when even if you know your own school system sucks, and the one in a neighborhing town is excellent, you've got no recourse unless you're rich.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 6, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK
Nonsense. We already see the proof that your argument is invalid all around us.

Er, no, we don't.

Homes in top school districts are highly sought after.

Top school districts tend to be located in places that are highly sought after for other reasons, and tend to be defined by assessments that are made of public schools that most voucher systems do not require private schools to be subject to, so the relevant information is not available except for government intervention, and even then, only for government schools.

And, of course, this whole line of discussion is irrelevant to my point, entirely, unless one were to establish that the measures in these assessments which define "top school districts" have a strong correlation to the subjective lifetime utility of the education provided by the school district to the people actually receiving the education.

There is a similar process at work with private schools.

Only if you define "similar" very loosely.

A school with a bad reputation will hardly be able to charge steep tution.

No doubt. Though, even moreso here than above, the question is whether the reputation that is received by the decision-makers correlates meaningfully with the subjective lifetime utility of the education provided by the school district to the people actually receiving the education.

Even were this process not perfect under a voucher system, and parents occassionally "got it wrong," it's hard to see why this would be inferior to the current situation, when even if you know your own school system sucks, and the one in a neighborhing town is excellent, you've got no recourse unless you're rich.

If the only two policy alternatives in the universe were "establish a voucher system" and "maintain the current situation with no changes", well, then you'd still be stuck with the problem that in the hypothetical you present, a voucher system does nothing to address the problem.

The obvious solution to the problem you outline here is a "public school choice" program, not a voucher system.

A voucher system doesn't really solve any actual problems; in the narrow area where it might be minimally useful (addressing the situation where a locality has very good private schools with available capacity and bad public schools, but only the rich can afford the private schools), a need-based financial aid system for attendees of private schools, rather than a voucher system, would be a much more efficient use of the same public funds to address the same problem.

Of course, an even more efficient use of the public funds would be to identify why the public school system isn't working and fix it.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK
There's absolutely no reason whatsoever a would-be school would have any difficulty at all renting facilities in which to house its operations. Indeed, I think this brings up one of the seldom remarked-upon advantages of voucherization: it gets municipalities out of the property management business, and so relieves them of a lot of activity that is financially risky (such as floating bonds, buying property, riding the child population cycle up and down, etc.).

Um, "voucherization" doesn't do this.

Eliminating public education -- which you've made clear that vouchers, in your view, are just the narrow wedge for -- does.

Now, if we could just get rid of the misleading "voucher" discussion and focus debate on what the issue is really about, we could maybe get somewhere: do we or don't we want to eliminate the idea of a public education system.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

In a true voucher system (like the one we'll eventually see implemented after a few more years of conservative court appointments) there won't be "parallel" systems; rather, there will be one system, because the differences between public and private schools will disolve into meaninglessness.

Only if the dictatorship of the proletariat evolves at the same time.

Rich and poor are not similarly situated for eductional opportunities, and this will not change because of voucher programs exist.

Posted by: petronius on January 6, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't find this un unsolved contradiction. The neo-GOP would like to completely eliminate public schooling, along with the Dept of Education (See State of TX GOP party platform statement for example).

I have always seen the voucher issue as a preliminary step towards that goal. Parents could be lured to privatized education, and public school failure (to reach the GOP standards) and attendance could be cited to close a public school.

It sounds Orwellian, but it's a stated goal. They have some bizarre idea that local churches will take up the cause of public education.

Posted by: weston on January 6, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

P.B Almeida says: "This is the most absurd argument I've yet heard against making education dollars portable. Much of America is awash in unused commercial space. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever a would-be school would have any difficulty at all renting facilities in which to house its operations."

Since cmdicely has already stated that education is a natural monopoly, the adjective absurd should not be flung lightly in this context. Commercial space, and especially vacant commercial space sufficient for the accommodation of hundreds of colocated occupants, is commonly available in multiple sites (several suppliers are required for an efficient market) in residential neighborhoods? I think not. And please let us not propose the superiority of the one room school.

But that is merely the nose of the camel Almeida endeavors to push through the eye of a needle. What incentives will inspire the formation of these several competing educational institutions? Dare one say profit amidst the chatter of free markets? How would one optimize marketing to instructional expenditures to maximize investor return? Would more or fewer dollars be sacrificed to profit and SAG as opposed to bureaucracy? Compare and contrast with Medicare or the VA vs HMO's. Defend your choice. What are the consequences to students of school mergers, bankruptcies, divestments, and assorted mechanisms of free markets?

Posted by: Craig Nelson on January 6, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect there would be fewer objections to need-based public financial aid for primary and secondary students attending private schools than universal, non-need-based, vouchers that serve principally to subsidize private school for the wealthiest students.

Sorry, but that's complete bullshit. In Florida, just as in Cleveland and most other places, the primary beneficiaries of voucher programs have been poor inner-city blacks.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 6, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, you're opposing a program that mainly benefits, and is mainly supported by, poor blacks. So sorry if that causes cognitive dissonance for you, but it's a fact. Deal with it.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 6, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Neither politicians, government bureaucrats, nor teachers-public and private give a shit one way or the other about how well your child is educated;

Allow me to be the first to say: bullshit.

Posted by: Anarch on January 7, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Vouchers got a big boost yesterday. It was a small story, hidden on the inside pages and you may have missed this news item today on the Federal school vouchers intended for private schools in the Katrina affected area.

From the Washington Post where it is credited to "News Services"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/05/AR2006010502328.html?sub=AR

Gulf Coast States Get Payments for Schools

The Bush administration handed out the first hurricane relief payments to schools and colleges, awarding more than $250 million yesterday to four Gulf Coast states as part of $1.6 billion in recovery aid.

The lump-sump payments include help for private schools that some critics have assailed as a national voucher experiment. The money went out one week after President Bush signed the legislation into law.

The awards include $100 million each for Louisiana and Mississippi, $50 million for Texas and $3.75 million for Alabama. Additional funds will go out as states provide data on exactly how much is needed and for what purpose.

The money will help cover costs for books, transportation, teachers and courses.

States are being asked to set aside money for private schools based roughly on the percentage of public and private schools in the state. Private schools could then apply for the aid.

Posted by: M on January 7, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

"So fine: Let's have government vouchers that can be used at any school that meets a few bare minimum requirements (accreditation) and doesn't discriminate on racial grounds."

So, genius, have you ever been on an accreditation committee? I have and it is not that easy to pass. I have been through the accreditation process as both a site being visited and a member of visiting committees. It is not a few bare minimum requirements no matter what you might believe. Ask any school administrator if it is not one of his/her more stressful times. Accreditation is not automatic. If a school is not meeting the needs of the students and does not have a workable, comprehensive plan, then they are not accredited or will have a shorter accreditation term.

Posted by: Reality on January 7, 2006 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but that's complete bullshit. In Florida, just as in Cleveland and most other places, the primary beneficiaries of voucher programs have been poor inner-city blacks.
Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 6, 2006 at 8:57 PM |

Let's see them refs, boy.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 7, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, NJ may actually be right, most of the voucher recipients in Florida were (probably) poor. Of course, that is because the vouchers were ONLY given to students at failing schools. Cleveland's vouchers were preferentially given to low incomes.

I would say that your statements are misleading enough to be called lies.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 7, 2006 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but that's complete bullshit. In Florida, just as in Cleveland and most other places, the primary beneficiaries of voucher programs have been poor inner-city blacks.

Private schools have others ways of keeping undesirables out. Vouchers don't guarantee that you wiill have any more choice than you have now.

In my state, if the school in your district recieves a failing grade, you can go to any other public school you want to. No vouchers required.

Posted by: Stephen on January 7, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I would say that your statements are misleading enough to be called lies.

I assume you were talking about Cmdicely, who made the claim that vouchers "serve principally to subsidize private school for the wealthiest students."

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 7, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Private schools have others ways of keeping undesirables out. Vouchers don't guarantee that you wiill have any more choice than you have now.

Some private schools are exclusive, and some aren't. All that means is that vouchers aren't a perfect utopia of choice. But they're still a good idea, for lots and lots of reasons. (Just like it's a better idea to give people housing vouchers than to build government housing projects; better to give them food stamps than to have the government open up official grocery stores at which most people are required to shop; better to have the government give people Social Security checks rather than force all old people into government-run nursing homes.)


In my state, if the school in your district recieves a failing grade, you can go to any other public school you want to. No vouchers required.

Great. So let's have that program AND vouchers as well. This isn't an either-or dilemma.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 7, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Another lie by Cmdicely:

I said: My overall point remains: Neither you nor anyone else can explain why it's a great and wonderful thing for an 18-year-old to get a voucher to use at virtually any college in the United States, while it is [unconstitutional, stupid, immoral, take your pick] for that same 18-year-old to get a voucher if he were finishing up high school.

Cmdicely: Actually, I think I've pretty clearly outlined upthread why, in relation to the lack of identity between the beneficiary and the decisionmaker, consumer choice models (including vouchers) make considerably more sense for adults than children in the field of education. And, of course, Pell Grants aren't parallel to vouchers anyway, as there are requirements to establish need, unlike in any voucher proposal.

It is a lie to say that no voucher proposal is based on need. (Or, if not deliberate, it betrays the most stunning ignorance.)
Also, cmdicely doesn't even attempt to explain why the 18-year-old attending college is an "adult," but the 18-year-old finishing up high school is a "child" who must be protected from vouchers at all costs.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 7, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Another ignorant statement from Cmdicely:
Of course, an even more efficient use of the public funds would be to identify why the public school system isn't working and fix it.

Golly gee, doesn't that sound easy. Except that no one really knows how to do that. That's the problem. If it was as simple as identifying a problem and fixing it, there would be no bad schools in America.

In some cases, the schools are hampered by bureaucratic union regulations that privilege bad teachers over good teachers (b/c the bad teacher is more senior, or more "qualified" under accreditation standards). There are powerful political forces lodged against making any meaningful change to this problem in the public schools. If we could structure the public schools to hire and reward good teachers, that would be great. Until that time, a good idea is to give some parents a means of escaping to a private school that isn't as hampered by stupid regulations.

In some cases, the peer groups in the school are antagonistic towards education -- whether it be gangs, too much of a jock culture, a fear of "acting white," or whatever. No one really knows how to get rid of bad cultural attitudes on a large scale. The best thing to do -- if you care about your own kid -- is to get him out of there and into a more supportive peer group in another school. Vouchers make this possible for some low-income parents, as is the case in Florida.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Almeida said: Homes in top school districts are highly sought after.

Cmdicely: Top school districts tend to be located in places that are highly sought after for other reasons, and tend to be defined by assessments that are made of public schools that most voucher systems do not require private schools to be subject to, so the relevant information is not available except for government intervention, and even then, only for government schools.

Cmdicely has never purchased a home, I see. Otherwise, there's no explanation for his blast of hot air that is intended to evade the blindingly obvious point that the real estate market is VERY good at tracking the capabilities of local schools. Real estate agents have their finger on which local schools are good, which have the best teachers, which have good test scores, etc. And homes in those areas virtually always carry a huge premium over identical homes located in another school district just a short distance away. Anyone who has ever bought a home knows this.

Also, what a load of horse-hockey is Cmdicely's attempt to claim that people can't choose good schools because they might not be able to measure "subjective lifetime utility." People can't measure "subjective lifetime utility" for ANYTHING, if there is any such thing in the first place.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 7, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I would say that your statements are misleading enough to be called lies.

I assume you were talking about Cmdicely, who made the claim that vouchers "serve principally to subsidize private school for the wealthiest students."

A poor attempt to dodge responsibility for your lie. Can't defend your statement, can you?

Posted by: mcdruid on January 7, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, the second paragraph above should also have been italicized, and attributed to Niels Jackson.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 7, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Not that cm needs help in responding to you, but a few facts about subsidizing he wealthiest:

Cleveland's program: In 1999 and 2000, 68 percent of voucher students were already attending private school prior to receiving a publicly funded voucher to attend private school.

-and this is a program aimed at low incomers. (It appears that one clause in one of CMdicely's sentences is wrong.)

Real estate agents have their finger on which local schools are good, which have the best teachers, which have good test scores, etc.

AS has been pointed out previously, this applies to public schools which have public test scores, etc. Private schools go by reputation. Reputation comes from reputation, not necessarily reality.

I am sure you are aware of the Sandia National Laboratories study which found that most parents (in the US) thought that their own schools were very good, but that other peoples' schools were not good. This supports the hypothesis that people are not very good at grading their school.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 7, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

As has been pointed out previously, this applies to public schools which have public test scores, etc. Private schools go by reputation. Reputation comes from reputation, not necessarily reality.

Reputation is real: it is people's real opinions about a given institution's quality, or lack thereof.

And anyway, this pretty non-serious "objection" could be overcome simply by requiring any school receiving tax dollars to publish test scores.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on January 7, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Reputation also SOMETIMES has a relation to reality. Not always, some years back there was a survey of college deans showing that Princeton's undergraduate business school had a great reputation.

The kicker being: Princeton didn't have an undergraduate business school.

As for requiring all public funded schools to publish test scores: let me see you get any private school to agree to that.

But why stop there? Would you also require their funding to be pulled if they don't meet the NCLB standards? What other parts of NCLB are you going to require that they adhere to? What about other regulations about who they have to accept? Physical plant standards? Nondiscrimination standards? I think you will find most of the posters here in agreement: it is OK for them to get public money, but they have to give up parts of their freedom to do so. The only question is how much?

Posted by: mcdruid on January 8, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

hillarious

Posted by: Teen on January 8, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

And anyway, this pretty non-serious "objection" could be overcome simply by requiring any school receiving tax dollars to publish test scores.

Which is exactly the point of the article. Vouchers are tax dollars.


Just like it's a better idea to give people housing vouchers than to build government housing projects; better to give them food stamps than to have the government open up official grocery stores at which most people are required to shop; better to have the government give people Social Security checks rather than force all old people into government-run nursing homes

None of these things equate to education for reasons already listed by Cmdicely. Apples and oranges.


Real estate agents have their finger on which local schools are good, which have the best teachers, which have good test scores, etc. And homes in those areas virtually always carry a huge premium over identical homes located in another school district just a short distance away. Anyone who has ever bought a home knows this.

The better schools tend to be in the nicer neighborhoods. What is the cause and effect here ?

Are the neighborhoods nicer because they have better schools or are the schools better because they are in nicer neighborhoods ?

Some private schools are exclusive, and some aren't.

My guess is that any private you want to send your kid to is exclusive.


Posted by: Stephen on January 8, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Cleveland's program: In 1999 and 2000, 68 percent of voucher students were already attending private school prior to receiving a publicly funded voucher to attend private school.

Mcdruid -- good thing you use an alias. Your statistic is not true, unless maybe you're including students who had a voucher the previous year. And even if true, it's not relevant. The Cleveland vouchers were not going to the "wealthiest" kids (as Cmdicely claimed), but mostly to poorer inner-city kids. Some of them had already been attending a private Catholic school in Cleveland. Big surprise there. What is a surprise is the way that you and cmdicely and other supposed liberals turn into such goddamn Scrooges when it comes to giving a little help to these poor inner-city parents who had been making such sacrifices to put their kids in a decent school.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 8, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Niels, I've already asked you once for your refs. You have made many claims in this thread without an iota of proof to back them up. In your paragraph immediately above, you claim that my numbers (deriving from Evaluation of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, Technical Report 1998-2001, 2003) aren't true, or maybe they are - apparently you don't know.

You started by - and continue with - conflating general voucher programs with voucher programs aimed specifically at the poor. I don't believe anyone on this thread has objected to a voucher system aimed primarily at the poor, so you are arguing straw men.

Secondly, I already mentioned that CM was incorrect in this particular point, so why do you bring it up in your latest post?

Finally you launch into a defensive ascription of my motives in a rather typical ad hominem argument. In fact, I have never said anything that calls for your final sentence. Therefore, I feel quite justified in stating that you are an ass, and an ass of the first water at that.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 9, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

You've asked me for my refs? How about supplying some links yourself? Might be a nice idea.

As for your cite (note that I actually gave the link), you might try reading the whole thing.

Example: "There were no significant differences between public school and voucher students with both groups consisting primarily of minority students (84.4% and 68.9%, respectively)."

Or this: "Specifically, families of
community school students had significantly higher incomes (M = $45,576.42) than families
of public school (M = $31,434.41) and of voucher students (M = $29,535.92)."

Note that the voucher families had incomes of about $2,000 LESS per year than the public school students. Contrast this with Cmdicely's baseless claims about who benefits from vouchers.

Then this: "Voucher students look much like public school children in that they are likely to be an ethnic minority, living in a household with slightly less than $29,000 annual income, and about as likely as public school students to have a primary male caregiver who is married
and who has attended at least some college."

Aha, the keen Mcdruid replies, but many of them attended a private school even BEFORE 1999 or 2001.

Even if that's true, so what? How is that in any way relevant to anything? Is the principle here that if blacks or Hispanics who make $25,000 a year somehow manage to struggle and pull together the means to send their kid to a private school, this means that they don't deserve or need any help? If you're not a Scrooge, you're doing your best to give that impression.


* * *

I'm not "conflating general voucher programs with voucher programs aimed specifically at the poor." I'm just pointing out that Cmdicely is lying when he claims that ALL voucher programs are there "principally" to serve the "wealthiest." There is not an iota of truth in his claim. The wealthiest people don't care about vouchers, and indeed, are likely to oppose them for the same reasons that "white flight" occurs (too much risk of poorer blacks getting into their schools). The conventional wisdom as to why voucher programs have a hard time getting off the ground is that 1) while it's a Republican issue, there are some powerful Republican interest groups (white suburbanites) who aren't that keen on the idea; and 2) while vouchers are heavily supported by the inner-city blacks who benefit, they don't typically vote for Republicans, and their Democratic "friends" are rigidly opposed to vouchers.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Probably the saddest thing about this whole debate is the following finding from McDruid's cited study on Cleveland voucher students:

In contrast, statistically significant differences were found between groups on whether their children feel safe at school, χ2 (2) = 76.605, p That's quite a margin of difference there, and quite a substantial number of public school students who don't feel safe at school.

But no matter. A bunch of so-called liberals are here to say, "Hey, if your kid feels unsafe at school, don't even think about getting any government help to put your kid in a school where he doesn't have to worry about gangs, drugs, etc. That kind of government aid would offend our ideological priorities. Just trust the government to fix the public schools -- after all, the government is clearly doing such a good job at that right now."

Scrooges.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

That didn't come out right.


Probably the saddest thing about this whole debate is the following finding from McDruid's cited study on Cleveland voucher students:

In contrast, statistically significant differences were found between groups on whether their children feel safe at school . . . Post hoc comparisons indicated that
families of voucher students and community school students were significantly more likely
to report that their children feel safe at school (87.6% and 95.0%, respectively) than families of public school students (62.9%).

That's quite a margin of difference there, and quite a substantial number of public school students who don't feel safe at school.

But no matter. A bunch of so-called liberals are here to say, "Hey, if your kid feels unsafe at school, don't even think about getting any government help to put your kid in a school where he doesn't have to worry about gangs, drugs, etc. That kind of government aid would offend our ideological priorities. Just trust the government to fix the public schools -- after all, the government is clearly doing such a good job at that right now."

Liberals are the Bull Connors of the 21st century. They're standing in the door of unsafe public schools, forcing poor blacks and Hispanics to stay inside even when they're desperate to get out.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry Niels, where did I argue that the Cleveland voucher program did not target the poor? I specifically pointed out that you are pummelling a straw man argument, but it seems that your reading comprehension is not good enough to understand that.

So far, the only ref given is mine. You even cite two other factoids from the same study - one of which is completely off-topic. Yet you refuse to accept as true another factoid from the same study. Perhaps I should just apply your own logic and claim your cites are just wrong.

Of course, if I were to follow your style of logic, half of my comment would consist of ad hominem attacks on your motives.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 9, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Mcdruid:

Little logic lesson:

Here's an ad hominem: 1) Mcdruid is a Scrooge. 2) Therefore, Mcdruid's argument is incorrect.

This is NOT an ad hominem:
1. Mcdruid's argument is heartless towards all the poor people who have already been struggling to send their kids to safe schools. 2) Therefore, Mcdruid is a Scrooge.

Learn to tell the difference.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Mcdruid, I don't believe your statistic because in doing a search over that whole report, I can't find the number 68 at all in reference to how many kids previously attended private school. Why don't YOU start providing cites? Such as a link and a page number. (If you want to go down that road -- as I've already pointed out, it should be absolutely irrelevant how many of these kids, as measured in 2000, had already attended private school. We're talking about inner-city Cleveland here, not some ritzy suburb.)

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Niels, When your argument degenerates into calling people names for no reason, then it is an ad hominem.

Specifically, you have failed to show, or even attempt to show, that my argument is "heartless." since I have at no time on this thread argued that vouchers should not be provided to the poor.

Since this is the third time I have pointed this out to you, and you continue to be unable to understand it, I must conclude you are an idiot. This is not ad hominem, since it is a justified conclusion from the facts. Furthermore, only an idiot would look at the report on the 2003 data for the 2001 numbers. Therefore, you are an idiot.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 9, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I'm an idiot. Now you provide the links where the relevant data is discussed. And while you're at it, give one goddamn reason why anyone should care that 68% of these inner-city blacks and Hispanics whose parents make an average $29,000 a year were previously in private schools.

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Also, mcdruid, you might want to consider the history of this debate. First, cmdicely lies through his teeth, claiming that all voucher programs do is help the wealthiest people. Then I respond with the quite obvious fact that the Florida and Cleveland programs were aimed at poor minorities, who made up the vast majority of recipients.

Your sole contribution was to show up and 1) acknowledge that I'm right, yet 2) accuse me of lying, for no apparent reason, and then, 3) claim that cmdicely was right in talking about the "wealthiest" FOR THE SOLE REASON that in Cleveland, "68 percent of voucher students were already attending private school prior to receiving a publicly funded voucher to attend private school."

Why are you being so belligerent if you're not on the anti-voucher side? Why do you think that "68% of students went to a private school before" means that they are the "wealthiest," when the study clearly shows that their average income was $29,000?

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 9, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Niels,

My original point was that saying how Florida's vouchers mostly went to benefit the low incomers was a misleading statement since it was designed that way. The rest of us on this thread recognize that Florida and Cleveland are not the only voucher place and that many, if not most, voucher proposals are not limited to low incomers. Furthermore, voucher plans such as Florida's are often the camel's nose to introduce vouchers with no income limits. That is why I called your statement misleading, even lying, though I the latter may be too harsh since I am now unsure if you are smart enough to have been deliberately misleading. If so, I apologize for saying you were lying.

However, you next suggest that I am "heartless" for opposing vouchers for low income blacks. I repeatedly pointed out that I did not state whether I opposed vouchers. Either you were incapable of understanding what I wrote, hence an idiot, or you willfully misconstrued it, in which case you are an ass. These are not mutually exclusive.

Finally, Cmdicely may have stated that he opposed your vouchers, but there is no logic in calling him names. Firstly, as neither a resident of Florida or Cleveland, none of his money goes to vouchers there, thus he can not be a "scrooge" for opposing them. Further, as far as you know, he may favor giving even more money to lower income blacks for education. His opposition to vouchers may be that he considers them to be ineffective or to have other faults. Instead of considering these possibilities, you waste no time in casting insults. This shows the weakness of your argument and your intelligence.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 10, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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