Voucher proponents pushing for bill passage

There was a big battle over vouchers this past spring, which
may be coming to an end as a Bill sits on the governor’s desk waiting for his
signature. At the beginning of the legislative session voucher proponents were
offered the keys to the treasury and all they had to give up in return was take
some legitimate accountability measures, instead of doing so, they fought tooth
and nail against them. That should have been the end of the story right there
but sadly it is not.
The bill which had more lives than a cat seemingly died
several times until an unprecedented last day move tacked an amendment
consisting of some modest voucher expansions to a very popular bill that had
already passed.  
Now the Heartland Institute is weighing in in the Orlando Sentinel, pushing for
vouchers and using some dubious information to sell their side.  Lets forget for a second vouchers obliterate
the second amendment as 90 percent of them are allocated to religious schools,
their teachers are not required to have degrees or any type of certification, and
that over 150 teach creationism as science and tackle the claim that they are
saving the state money.
The program is funded through corporate tax-deductible
donations. Well friends that is money that is not going into the state coffers
which pay for many services besides education. The truth is the state treasury
is losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars. Now yes vouchers are worth
less than what we pay per pupil but just because districts have fewer pupils
that does not mean they have smaller overheads. Superintendents all throughout
the state are bemoaning the loss of resources to charter and voucher schools.
Then there is the notion that a hundred thousand students
have applied for vouchers. How do we know that number is accurate? John East
the president of Step up for Students said he kept the numbers on the back of
an envelop and second the right should not be able to create a crisis and then
benefit off of it. For years now they have been demonizing teachers and
deriding public schools and now they have introduced a set of standards Common
Core that has many parents who would never think of vouchers concerned. Common
core is being sold as making Florida’s students more competitive worldwide but
strangely enough private schools that take vouchers are exempt. I guess the
state doesn’t really care about those kids.
Joy Pullman then finally says let’s listen to the parents.
Well friends why are we supposed to listen only to the parents who want
vouchers. Why does the state feel it can ignore all the parents who have come
out against common core, the states grading system, it’s reliance on high
stakes testing and inconsistent and inadequate funding? Parents that number in
the millions. Why and how can they be ignored? I submit if they weren’t ignored
the Florida voucher program would go away and the state of education would be
greatly improved.
Vouchers without strict accountability are a bad deal even
if a few parents have been persuaded to take them. The answer is to fix the
ills in our public school system, many of which were created by the proponents
of vouchers who now seek to profit off the crisis they created.

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