Monday, October 29, 2007

to utah voters

Alright, out with it: If you support Referendum 1, please tell me why. I am not so much passionate as I am ANNOYED with the signs I see, like the guy standing at my kids' school's exit last week, telling me that they're voting For Referendum 1. (Shall I stand next to him with a sign that reads, "I'm with Stupid"?)

I sincerely want to hear WHY you support it. Because I don't.

Any takers?

48 comments:

JC said...

I think you should get that sign and stand next to the guy. Take a picture and share with us. :)

Bek said...

What is it? Just curious so I can understand the rest of the comments.... ;-)

compulsive writer said...

How's Bubby?

No I can't answer your question. Because I've been lobbying against any such bill for the past 10 years.

I was really unhappy when I had to respond to a twisted survey question about whether or not I supported choices in education.

Of course I do. We already have them. But I was not going to have the survey people twist my answer into a vote for Referendum 1. So I didn't answer that question.

compulsive writer said...

bek--see this and then read Oh Judy's posts about vouchers. I've got a couple of links on my blog as well.

sue-donym said...

Because it is going to pay for my Hannah Montana tickets. Duh!

Emily said...

I don't like it, either. But I'm not registered to vote here yet, so vote no for me. Thanks.

Geo said...

Sorry, I'm not in the yes camp either.

Cardine said...

Well, I haven't totally decided to vote yes or no yet (still trying to educate myself on the issue and still weighing the arguments), but I do see some good that could come out of it. Currently we are paying for education out of our tax dollars. I don't know about you, but I pay A LOT in tax. Anyway. Supposedly, without raising taxes, basically these vouchers re-route a portion of the per-child money for education to go to specific children who would like to go to qualifying and participating private schools. In essence, it's like a tax credit for people who don't want to use the public schools, but that tax credit MUST go towards the child's education at a qualifying institution.

From an economic standpoint, supposedly the existence of these options will drive competition, which tends to reward the entity that produces better results. In other words, according to economic models, competition should increase productivity and the output of education. So, with competition, the quality of education should increase at an overall lower price for the taxpayer.

That reasoning is something that appeals to me and makes sense to me. In addition, I think that if we can give more choices for the same cost, then why not?

I realize that there are a lot of other reasons for people to be for or against the referendum, so not everyone is going to share my reasonings. Why are you against it? I would like to hear the against side also. (Planning on checking the link here.)

Lyle said...

Not that I can vote on it...I think it has potential, but has too many loopholes [I could be wrong; it's been a while since I looked at the finer details]. The way it stands, would leave me more inclined to vote no.

But if it goes through, be sure to funnel some of the money my way.
;-)

Brigham said...

Good Mormons vote yes.

~cari~ said...

I'm not for it either. It's an experiment that all I can see is failure in the end. It all "sounds good" for now but I really don't see it working in the long run.

Also, after the condescending commerical with the Eyers (you know, the one with the oreos) I was convinced that my vote would be no. What do they think? Everyone is stupid so they need to talk down to us. That REALLY bugged me!

jennifer said...

I am voting for Referendum 1, for several reasons. First, I am so annoyed that "Utahns for Public Schools" are trying to make you believe that if you vote for the referendum, you are against public schools. For the record, I taught in public schools and I have also made the conscious choice to have my children attend public schools when there were other choices available to me. I am for public schools, and this Referendum is something that HELPS public schools.

Second, the math makes sense to me. Utah is one of the worst states in the country for per-pupil spending. It will motivate some people to leave the public schools, leaving behind most of their "per-pupil" money. That money stays in public schools, improving them.

Third, if nothing changes then nothing changes. We have a unique problem in Utah trying to fund education . . . and what other solutions do we have? After 5 years, we will be able to evaluate vouchers. If it didn't work, we can stop it. How will we know if we don't try? For me, the pros outweigh the cons.

I am curious . . . for someone who has chosen not to put your children in public schools, why don't you support Referendum 1?

Tiffany Twisted said...

I don't know if this is the reason that Jenny doesn't support Referendum 1, and I haven't exactly worked out how I feel at this point. Here are some of the things bouncing around in my mind (and I do not send my kids to public school):

I choose to send my child to a private school because although she outperforms most kids at her level, she is not allowed into public school at this point simply due to her birthday, not where she's at mentally. Since public schools make you jump through significant proof hoops to prove that your child is worthy, it's easier to simply pay a private school. Most of this is because public education simply doesn't have the funds to support what they see as "additional" kids that should wait until their birthday dictates they be there. Well, my child really can't wait. She's reading and doing math on a 1st grade level and is only 4. I can afford a private school and so therefore I pay it. The price tag attached definitely tightens up my budget strings which I think happens more often than what some people think. Private schools aren't always made up of super rich people who aren't effected by this expenditure, but I think my kids are worth it and I can do it. At the same time, I think other kids are worth it too, and maybe if I leave my money in there for the general public education use, some other kid will have more money to learn. If I pull my money out, the per-child $$ will probably be reduced. These are children that my child also interacts and plays with in the neighborhood and in life, and I want those kids to have the best education that they can have as well. On the flip side, how much money would that really be and what does it do to the per-child $$. If it's reduced by $3/year per child, it's probably better from my perspective to simply take the credit because would that impact the system? Hmm .. maybe this all sounds confusing and snobbish, but I don't mean it that way. Like I said, I just don't know where I'm at. So, I'll just stop now :)

Hope my crazy head doesn't mix you up more.

~j. said...

Good morning, everyone. Thanks for your input. I especially appreciate the feedback of those who support this referendum, because this is the first I've heard from anyone "personally" regarding this issue.

Since you asked, here's why I will be voting against Referendum 1 (get comfy):

1. First, I want to make a correction. Jennifer, you said that I am someone who doesn't send my kids to a public school, and that is false. A charter school is a public school. The school my kids attend get a piddly percentage of gov't funding compared to a "regular" public school, and it has to work harder to stay open (charter schools are notoriously hounded by the state to keep their charter current, and are scrutinized very closely to ensure that the staff is adhering to that charter). As such, funding-wise, the school relies heavily (I cannot capitalize, embolden, underline, or italicize that word enough) on parental help, time-wise and monetarily. In fact, the school does NOT charge tuition (it's a public school, so it can't), but DOES require at least 40 hours per year of parental volunteer time. While they also ask for a monetary donation (I'll be honest -- it's $200 per year, per family), it's not required, and for people who just can't pay that money, more volunteer hours can be worked in its stead. I have, in my posession, a copy of this year's budget for the school. Do you know how much each teacher is given for their own school supplies for their classroom? Ready for this? $25. For the year. I am well aware of Utah being one of the worst in per pupil spending: I know because I help my kids' teachers buy their supplies (plus, my dad, a public school teacher in New York for over 30 years, points out Utah's educational statistics to me frequently). Why we chose this school for our family is neither here nor there (but I will tell you, if you'd like to know, though I've already blogged that story), but I just want to reiterate that charter schools ARE public schools.

2. Can we just drop the whole "Utahns for Public Schools" and "Utahns for Families" and "Utahns for School Choice" and "Utahns for Children"? That is so ridiculous. Am I for school choice? I CHOSE TO SEND MY KIDS TO A CHARTER SCHOOL. Yes, of course. Am I also for Families, Public Schools, and Children? Does the answer depend on my vote? Come on.

3. The math absolutely does NOT make sense to me. Here's why:

The vouchers are projected to be $3,000/year. Have you looked into the price of a year's tuition at a private school? I have. It's not even close to being $3,000/year. In fact, in one study I heard on the radio, the average private tuition in Utah is between $6,900 and $7,400 (depending on if you consider local boarding schools, which charge $55-60,000 a year). Also, the median Utah family annual income is around $66,000. Did you know that making "that much" (to which I scoff) won't qualify someone for the full $3,000 amount? They'll qualify for maybe (maybe) $2,500. Now, let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say that tuition is only $6900, and that the voucher amount is $3000: how is someone who is making under $66,000 a year supposed to come up with the remaining $3900?

Every year?

Now multiply that by 4 or 5 kids.

I'll tell you, I heard a panel discussion on KUER about this, hosting the "Truth Squad" (or somesuch), a group of local reporters who take every promise and accusation from both sides of this issue, research it, and give the facts. (*of course I know that these views may well be skewed, but stick with me on this*) This point was brought up: how can people realistically pay for the balance? One gentleman (I didn't catch his name) actually said the following: "Well, if these families could just make a few sacrifices, stretch their money just a little. Maybe get that extra job or sell that car." Let me assure you: People who are making under $66,000 a year are already stretching. Do NOT give suggestions as to how to "get" more money.

3. I don't believe for one second that the per pupil money will be increased by taking kids out of public schools and putting them into private schools because the population is increasing here so rapidly. The schools are not to capacity, they are overcrowded and getting moreso. Plus, and I could be completely off on this: regardless of where money is "allotted" to go, I'm not certain that it will actually go there. Already not enough money is being spent on public schools; why the sudden confidence that with this referendum, public schools will have an excess of funds?

In conclusion (for now), this referendum is flawed in the way it is written, particularly for this state. I am not necessarily against the idea of vouchers, but not in the way it's being presented to us now, which will most certainly widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. (No thanks.)

Gotta go take my kids to school now.

Please, keep the conversation going.

~j. said...

(tee hee -- I used two number 3s. Oops!)

Julie said...

~j, if I could be as articulate as you, perhaps I could argue convincingly with my still-in-college neighbor, who wrote a letter to the editor (for the Daily Unifarce) in support of Ref 1. He asked me to edit it. I gulped, explained that I'm against it, and agreed to do it because he's my neighbor and his wife is a close friend. It was not one of my favorite edit jobs ever. My hands were shaking by the time I was halfway through.

Like you, I think the idea of vouchers is not a bad one, but I think there are too many problems with Ref 1. As parents, we already have a choice. No one is forcing me to keep my child in public school. And the amount "left behind" in the public schools is so incredibly insignificant, and will become even more so as the population explodes, it hardly makes a dent in what we really need for our kids (and especially for our teachers).

Okay, I'd better stop. I'm not very good at expressing myself politically. But I'll say again, I'm not voting for it--Oreos be damned.

Ryan said...

Taking the specifics of Referendum 1 out of the picture for the moment, what is the answer? As ~j said, schools are already overcrowded and underfunded, and it's only going to get worse. If <$66,000 is not enough to afford private schools, it is also not enough to consider raising taxes to the level necessary to put Utah on par with the rest of the nation on $$/student. Honestly, I don't know what the answer is. I'm curious what everyone else thinks.

christopher clark said...

I'm for Referendum One, because I'm for GREAT SCHOOLS. People who are against it DO NOT WANT GREAT SCHOOLS. They want bad schools, where children are whipped and shamed. (End of sarcasm)

One of my concerns with Ref 1 is that it's another "magic pill" for Utah parents to think that something is going to change with their child's education. Suddenly all of our problems will cease, and everyone will get the perfect education they deserve, all because money is changing hands. This is not the case, and no amount of money will make a difference.

What will make a difference, and what HAS made a difference, is parental involvement. How much time are we spending on our child's education - particularly IN the classroom? It's taxing, but if we want to make a difference in public schools we need to be spending our time there. As much as we can. Absentee parents who vote for vouchers WILL NOT see an automatic increase in their children's learning or productivity. In fact, they will be disrupting a system that can really work when it has the full support of the community. (End of guilt trip.)

Cardine said...

Hmmm... that's why I'm having trouble making up my mind about yes or no.

I, personally, don't want to pay more tax money for something that doesn't actually help the education system. If additional money helped the system, then I might be for it. But then again, will it help the system? Is it even going in the right direction?

In reality, I think that this education problem has the same solution as the rest of the societal problems that we face: individuals, meaning parents, children, all citizens of the country need to be actively working towards a better future by making responsible choices that are for the good of themselves, the family, and the community. In the area of education, I believe that this means that parents need to realize that the education of their children is actually their responsibility, teachers need to do the best that they can do, students need to put forth the efforts to learn, and administrators need to be wise in their spending and directives. I believe that that is the answer, and that falling short (especially in the family area) in those areas will always weaken the system, no matter how much money is going towards it and where.

c jane said...

I am voting yes for Ref 1 because I am willing to try anything once.

let them eat waffles! said...

I just want to say that my husband has a master's degree and teaches in our public schools. He works way more than 40 hours a week and way more than 9 months out of the year. We are now (since my last child entered school) a two-income family, although really I'm about 2/3-time employed.

And I sincerely wish we made anything close to $66,000 a year.

Passing referendum 1 would not in any way help that happen.

But my main argument against it is it will not help the kids who may be most at risk. The other thing about private schools is access to all. They say they are open to all, but how many private schools do you think there are in Panguitch or Levan? And there is no busing for private schools, so that means parents must have enough cars and drivers who are not at work to get their children to and from private school.

I could go on, but I won't. I just think it's a crying shame when people don't support educating all kids.

Cardine said...

Who is in support of not educating all kids?

me again said...

Sorry Cardine, I see now how that came out and that is not what I meant. There are people who support Prop 1 because they believe it will give public schools more money and "competitiion" which they believe will make public schools better. There are other who believe it will give them choice. I was just speaking with someone who lives here now and she's going to vote for it here and now because she believes it will give her choice to take her child to whatever school district she wants to when she moves to Washington D.C. next spring. They can believe whatever they choose.

The people I was referring to however, are those who--regardless of their stance on Prop 1--have one of two attitudes I have often heard voiced out loud in this state:

1. "I don't want those kids going to school with my kids and I don't want to subsidize their education.

or

2. "I don't want to pay for and support public ed because my kids have already been through the system."

I find those kinds of attitudes incredibly short-sighted.

Queen Scarlett said...

totally off topic...sort of - but maybe public schools would be helped if their teachers stopped sleeping with the kids... AND... tenure after more than 5 years minimum. I'm sick of the Calif tenure after 2 years. UGH!

I know someone who taught well to get to tenure (2 years) and then let her TA do all the work... and just... didn't put that effort in it after tenure. Granted, she taught health and PE - but still.

{natalie} said...

all i know is i'm sick of hearing about it. i know, i know i should be more educated about it.

compulsive writer said...

Here is more information about a couple of the hotly debated questions regarding vouchers.

~j. said...

Hey, everyone. Thanks for your comments! Sorry I dropped away for a bit (my mom's visiting from NY, so we've been running nonstop).

julie - not white fudge-covered oreos. Never damn those.

Ryan - I'm not sure what the answer is, either. But I'm pretty sure that the answer isn't to use money on a "maybe this might work" (when in all reality, I don't see it working at ALL, the way it's written) -- if that makes any sense. Which is why I'll be voting against it.

cc - yes! And that is one thing I LOVE about the school that my kids attend: parent volunteer time is REQUIRED.

cardine - I agree, it's a problem, on a list of SO MANY problems. And as far as the money going to help the cause...again, I'm skeptical because already so little money goes to public education here. The focus ought to be on building a firm foundation, helping the system (money can't hurt here, right?), not on experimenting with ideas that don't benefit most of the state's families.

ceej - that's you. You're so risky.

cw - I think you should tell the "eating waffles" story. Because it's so true.

queen - I've heard you mention that before. That's crazy! Was that in a public high school?

nat - yeah. politics is boring.

The Scooter Lounge said...

Wait, so the State spends $7500 of everbody's tax money to educate a kid, and private school tuition is $6900?

Hell, given the choice I know who'd be getting my dollars.


Verification (I'm not making this up): phuqr

(I even took a screenshot of it if you don't believe me.)

The Scooter Lounge said...

I posted that last comment in the wee hours of the morning. I'll elaborate a little now.

If I'm reading the numbers correctly, it looks like private schools are providing a better education, with smaller classes, better equipment, and better paid teachers, AT A PROFIT for less money than the state spends per student in public schools.

What gives?

I think it's just one of the countless demonstrations of government inefficiency and bureaucratic waste.

I think the best way to force the government to do a better job at the business of education, is to make them compete with the private sector on a level playing field. It has worked with other enterprises like the deregulation of certain public utilities, and it will work in this instance as well. It isn't as if the private sector has some magical ability to do things better, it's that tax dollars are rarely ever spent wisely because there is no direct accountability to the taxpayer. Private enterprise is more directly accountable to the consumer and therefore has to face the challenge of providing a good product to the consumer at a fair price. Let's make the government do the same. Competition is always good for the consumer.

Some people complain that the teachers at private schools don't have to have credentials and that the schools don't have to be accredited. This is just plain silly.

Why should they be accountable to the government? They are directly accountable to the consumer. If the consumer is unhappy with the quality of the product, the consumer is free to take their business elsewhere.

This is the main problem with public education. Businesses are accountable to the consumer-- the person who purchases the product. Unlike private schools, in public schools the entity that purchases the product is the goverment--the very same entity that runs the business-- so we have a business that sets its own prices, sells its product to itself, then distributes it at no charge to the public. Can you see how inefficient and unaccoutable this is? If the government were accountable to you, the parent, things would have changed a long time ago. How long have parents been clamoring for better public schools to no avail?

Vouchers only go part of the way to leveling the field, but it's a start. What we really need to do is deregulate education altogether. If instead of using tax money to purchase its own product, the government put that money back into the hands of the consumer, all families could afford to choose the best education on the market. And giving that money back in the form of a voucher insures that that money isn't spent on anything but education.

I know you think a person would have to be a moron to support referendum one, but I think you'd have to be totally clueless not to support it.

AzĂșcar said...

Math's hard.

totally clueless said...

Here's a little of what gives. There will never be a Super-Target in Levan or Virgin or Paradise or Scipio. Why? Because it's not cost effective to build Super-Targets out in the boonies or in the really small towns.

But guess what? Kids--and I mean all kids--have access to public education in those small towns. They are bused to the nearest school, which is still probably out in the middle of nowhere. But it was still built there because it's important to provide an education for all children. Even those who live in the sticks.

I'll be the first to complain about government waste--particularly about top-heavy administration. But I would also bet that if private schools were required to provide ESL endorsed-educators, busing, subsidized lunches and breakfasts, althletic and music and a gazillion other extra-curricular programs parents demand of public schools, they would not be turning a profit.

Kaysia said...

Clueless, is it possible that in Levan the class sizes are smaller thus making rural public education more one on one anyway?

I'm with stupid said...

1. The minimum size for a private school to qualify for vouchers is 40 students. Not exactly a Super Target

2. Out in the sticks, the public schools don't offer the same variety of extracurricular activities, sports, and coursework as more densely populated areas. Public money notwithstanding.

3. I don't doubt that if the government were to rear its ugly head and impose the things you mention on private schools, it would bankrupt them. The biggest challenge to any small business is compliance with government requirements. But if the business meets consumer requirements, why should the government intervene? Most parents don't want "one size fits all" schools anyway. Don't we want each of our kids to get the education they need, to capitalize on their talents and aptitudes and give them opportunities to grow? I think many parents realize this and that's one reason charter schools have such appeal. They don't offer 4A sports or cheerleading either.

~j. said...

Wow, Dave. Can I add to your wish list? How about a million dollars and a magical flying pony?

Excluding gov't. isn't the answer. How long before the private business owners (schools in this case) begin to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone? Say...Mexicans? Ouch.

I agree that vouchers can be a good idea - great, even, by ensuring that money set aside for education only goes toward education. But the way that this particular referendum is set up, the vouchers are about as good as the coupons that come in the mail from RC Willey for $500 off a $7,000 television.

While on paper the total cost of private school may be less than public, remember that the private is taken directly out of pocket. One man I know who doesn't have, or ever even want, children, is against this referendum because he doesn't want his tax money subsidized for private schools. Even though he has (and won't have) children of his own to enroll (or not) in public school, he makes an excellent point: society in general benefits from a good public education system.

Is the public education system perfect? No way. Should we hold those in the position to make positive changes more accountable? Absolutely. Like I said before, I don't know what the answer is...but the answer isn't voting for this referendum. (Thank you! I'll be here all night!)

Cardine said...

Hmmm... I agree that education should not move to 100% private, but I have basically decided that I am for referendum 1. I am okay with giving people a voucher to go to certain private schools if they choose to do so, and I am also for the remainder staying in the public school in the area.

The Scooter Lounge said...

You think wanting "kids to get the education they need, to capitalize on their talents and aptitudes and give them opportunities to grow" is as realistic as a magical flying pony? I'm not sure I understand the cynicism.

I would amend your friends point at the end of your fourth paragraph to say this: Society in general benefits from a good "publically funded" education system.

I believe every taxpayer should help foot the bill because every taxpayer benefits from it. Including Mexicans : )

However, the governments intervention in education should end at creating checks to make sure everyone has access to good education. The bloated system we have in place is as I think you said, "top-heavy." And clearly under the current system parents are impotent to change things. More and more dollars are allocated to public schools each year, yet teachers are still underpaid, classrooms underfunded, and parents unhappy. This can change if we let the free-market work as it should. Education is a product just like anything else. It can be bought and sold, and it's a competitive industry.

So here's how I see this referendum as a tool for holding "those in the position to make positive changes accountable" for their choices: Parents will be more empowered to say, "I want better schools" because they can make a choice that will have consequences for those in power. Right now, is any choice you make with respect to your kids' education going to hurt the state board of educations bottom line? No. But with vouchers it will. . . eventually.

It isn't 500 dollars off a 7000 dollar television. Not unless you make more than 100k/year. For my family it would amount to nearly half the cost of private school tuition. I probably still wouldn't be putting my kids in private school, but I'd be a lot more able if I felt that any of my kids needed a change.

I don't think this referendum does enough, but it's a good place to start.

On a personal note: When I was a senior in high school I noticed that a lot of my classmates were getting called out of class to see their guidance counselors. I didn't even know I had a guidance counselor. I asked a fellow student what they were called out for and I was told they were discussing scholarship opportunities. When they got past the people whose last names began with H I figured they forgot me so I went to the counseling office and politely introduced myself and said they must have overlooked me. The lady pulled up my transcript and then actually laughed as she informed me that I wouldn't be eligible for any scholarships. I guess a B average and scoring in the 99th percentile of every category of standardized tests wasn't good enough. I'll never understand that. I think I would have done well in a private school. As a little fish in a big pond I sure as hell didn't.

~j. said...

That stinks. I know what you're saying is a reality: part of my husband's job is to travel to different parts of the country to talk with multicultural students to let them know what scholarships and programs are available to them. Some of these kids have no idea because no one in their own lives takes enough interest, for whatever reason, in helping them "along the path". One of the most rewarding things about my husband's job has been for him to travel to these diverse places (ie, "The Res") and award scholarships to deserving, hard-working, and long-invisible, students.

Back to the point. Teachers are criminally underpaid. Parents are notoriously unhappy with the public school system(s). As for me and mine, I find myself in a situation where I could not be happier with the school my children attend, education-wise, discipline-wise, parental involvement-wise, etc.. I sure wish they had more money (cue violins). On and on and on. I don't see how this referendum, the way it is written, could possibly help a family like mine. When it comes down to it, for me, it's a money issue: the voucher amount would never allow for any of my children to attend a private school because we, as a family, could never come up with the balance. Even if it were possible to come up with the balance for one child, for one year, how on earth could we do that for five children, year after year? No way. This issue extends beyond The Education Problem, but there it is.

I kind of have a headache about it all. Thank you, Everyone, for your comments, especially those who are in disagreement with me on this. See you at the polls tomorrow. Happy voting.

The Scooter Lounge said...

thanks J. It's been a good exercise in civic duty. And I've had to look more closely at this issue because of your challenge to defend my position.

Lorien said...

I'm heading to the polls in a few hours to vote against this dang voucher thing, but in the meantime, and late in the game, here is one of my 2 cents.

I understand the economic model--that competition drives down prices and produces better products. I think competition in industry is a good thing. But it doesn't hold in this particular situation.

If you are making an analogy to a business, a private school gets to choose its raw materials. It gets to select who walks in the door. If the private school doesn't have the resources to serve someone with very limited English, or special mental or physical needs, the school can simply turn that student away. The private school is not required to take any particular student, rather chooses who to admit.

A public school has to serve each and every student that walks in the door--it must work with all the raw materials it is given. If a student has no English, or requires special education help, or is reading 3 levels above grade level, the public school must educate that child. Public schools educate ALL of our children. Public school has to accomodate every single student.

Bearing this in mind, how could one say that the playing field for these 2 types of institutions could be level at all? Comparing the educational outcomes of 2 schools, one that chooses its students (who may also come from more stable backgrounds) and one that takes every child in its geographical boundary, regardless of ability, economic background or ability of parents to contribute time or money, is illogical. Comparing public and private schools is not a fair comparison because they function within such different parameters. How can a business that must use all materials they are given to create a product--even "inferior" materials--be compared fairly with a business that has the luxury of selecting only the "best" raw materials? Education is just different enough from other industries that the economic model does not work in the same way. Can public ed improve? Sure it can. But I agree with Jenny--this referendum is not the way to do it.

By the way, my own experience in public schools has been great. I had a good experience as a student, loved being a teacher (although the pay is not competetive with other states--another very important economic reason NOT to divert money away from public schools), and my children now are having a great experience. I think people get on the bag-on-public-ed bandwagon sometimes just for something to b--- about, when public ed is actually doing a good job, especially considering how much more difficult their job is progressively getting.

Lorien said...

By the way, this referendum won't reduce class size.

Class size is determined by the number of kids. Schools staff at one teacher per number of kids. If you reduce the number of kids at a school, you reduce the number of teachers.

Just to clear up some of the bad info that proponents have been throwing around.

Lorien said...

I meant "class size is determined by a ratio of number of kids to teachers"

duh

Cardine said...

Oh great. Now I need to hear the rationale on how referendum 1 diverts money away from public schools because that's not how the referendum reads to me at all. According to what I've read, the public schools will actually get more money.

The Scooter Lounge said...

I don't think students are the "raw materials" in this analogy. Students, and their parents, are the customers. Business serves the needs of its customers. If I chose at my store to deny service to all black, hispanic, or handicapped individuals, I would be exposing myself to huge lawsuits, just as any business would. Private schools do have certain latitude in who is accepted, but by creating a market for more private schools, all sorts of schools would be needed.

I can just see ads for new private schools popping up: Hoffmann Elementary-- specializing in autistic kids since 2007, or Felipes High School-- Se Habla Espanol. : )

I don't think public schools are bad. I don't think most teachers are doing any less than their very best. (Funny you should mention kids who read beyond their level though. In second grade I had read the entire "Little House" series. My mom tried to get my teacher to let me move into more advanced material, but she refused. She insisted I stick with "Dick and Jane" like everybody else.) But anyway, as I was saying, public schools are an asset, but the system is flawed and in spite of parents and teachers ongoing struggle for improvement, precious little happens. Today voters had a chance to light a fire under the heels of the bureaucrats holding the purse strings.

The money for the voucher scholarships would come from the general fund, rather than the education fund, so the only reduction in funding to schools would be the initial average voucher reduction of $2000 (leaving $5500 in the district and one less kid to teach) and then after that kid had attended private schools for five years the district could no longer count that student in enrollment at all. I don't see how that's a bad deal for the district.

I wonder how many people would vote yes if House Bill 148 were easier to read.

compulsive writer said...

I just wanted to add that the overwhelming majority with which this went down indicates one very sad thing.

Our legislators who pushed this through as a law--including the former educator who stood at my front door as a candidate and promised me he would never support vouchers but then turned his coat and voted for it in his freshman session--are way out of touch with the majority of their constituents.

The Scooter Lounge said...

By a show of hands, how many naysayers actually read House Bill 148? Anyone? Anyone? (Ben Stein on Ferris Bueller). I don't know how you could read that (sure, it's tough to wade through) and not conclude that it was a good idea. It was a well-crafted win-win. I'm terribly disappointed in the outcome. The opposition lobby from the NEA did a pretty good job of misconstruing the facts and confusing the voters. That's my take on it. But obviously I'm in the minority so I better shut up before I get lynched.

Cardine said...

I read it, voted for it, but I can TOTALLY see how you could conclude that it was not a good idea. There were a lot of reasons to not vote for it. You just have to look at a different perspective than your own.

compulsive writer said...

I've been following this movement since before it was even a bill. Of course I read the bill. And I don't need to justify my opposition for it. But I do need to state I am not a lackey for the UEA or PTA or NEA and in fact I have opposed them on many issues and don't belong to either.

There are many of us who support improving public ed and who oppose vouchers and tuition tax credits by thinking for ourselves and independently of all the "evil villians" the proponents threw us in with. We are not racist bigots as portrayed by Patrick Bryne. In fact many of us opposed the bill in part because we believe it will actually hurt the poor, minorities and kids most at risk.

The Scooter Lounge said...

See, that's what I don't get. I'm kind-of poor. I'm from a minority heritage. My oldest son is autistic. And I'm obviously in favor of vouchers. So please explain to me why you believe vouchers would produce negative results. Really. I'm not being flippant or trying to challenge you or accuse you of being racist or anything. The trouble with writing is you can misunderstand a persons tone. I got a little heated but not as heated as I probably sounded, so please don't be offended.

By the way, a couple of comments ago I said something about people might have voted "yes" if the bill weren't so hard to read. I realized only after writing it that I probably sounded like I was making a snide remark about public-educated people being illiterate, when in reality I was complaining about the legalese of the bill. Just wanted to clear that up.

But I really do want to know why you, and clearly the vast majority of voters, feel the way you do. I wonder if I'm missing something here because people keep saying vouchers would be bad, but I haven't seen (possibly due to my being an arrogant turd) anyone doing much explaining.

Feel free to email me personally. I'm not as pig-headed as you might think. Being in the minority, both as a voter and on this forum J created has maybe caused me to dig my heels in a bit more than I would have otherwise done, but ultimately we all have the same goal of better education for Utah's kids.

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