Glenton Gilzean Jr. wrote a passionate piece in support of school vouchers that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, unfortunately he left out a lot of important details, that the general public may not be aware of. According to the Step up for Student’s website, only about a quarter of recipients came from schools with a D or an F grade, while ten percent came from schools with an A grade. This means the overwhelming majority of students who took vouchers came from schools performing well according to the states metric. Which begs the question why are we providing these students vouchers. Well there are two reasons and the first is religion, Florida wants to get in the business of providing a religious education to students, as two thirds of the schools that take vouchers identify themselves as religious.
He then mentions a wait list for vouchers which I find odd as the amount of students receiving vouchers actually declined last year and please don’t take my word for it, again, go to Step up for Student’s, the voucher provider, web site and look there. The main reason there is a wait list is the amount we pay for vouchers has gone up over the years as they have gotten more expensive. Voucher providers used to say they could provide an education cheaper which reminds me of the saying be careful what you pay for.
Gilzean Jr. goes on to make the laughable argument that vouchers don’t drain resources from public education. First the program is allowed to grow each year which means it will drain even more money year after year but public schools are obligated to offer many more services than private schools including basics like lunch and transportation. Then with this new voucher program, families that make as much as 77k are eligible. Quite simply put the cost of electricity, a teacher, a bus, and so many other things don’t go down just because enrollment does.
Private schools can also take and keep whoever they want, teach whatever they want and most don’t even have to report what they do with the money they receive. There are so few standards we might as well say there are none all happening at the same time that public schools are buckling from all the accountability heaped upon them. How anyone thinks this is a good use of public money is beyond me.
Finally, I have a question, if vouchers are so great why can’t the proponents of vouchers be honest with people. Why do they have to make fancible claims like it saves children from failing schools, or they don’t siphon resources from public schools. Why can’t they be honest and say they want to provide a Christian education, and standards don’t really matter? They don’t because they know the truth is a losing argument for them, and once again don’t take my word for it, go to the chief voucher provider, Step up for Student’s web-site, and explore.
Vouchers, friends aren’t here to save poor kids from failing schools, they are here to provide a religious education and to drain public schools of resources until there isn’t anything left. They are not here to contribute to the common good.