Vouchers aren’t so great

Reposted:
Once again, Arizona’s public education advocates find themselves in battle against those in the Legislature seeking to commercialize our district schools. The worst threat this year is a replay of last year’s failed attempt to fully expand Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) to all Arizona students. This, despite the fact that vouchers will cost the state more…at least $1,000 more per student. This, despite the fact that according to the Pro-voucher Friedman Foundation, 58% of AZ ESA recipients have incomes ABOVE $57,000 (39% over $72,000 and 19% between $57,000 and $71,000.) And, only 15% of families that use vouchers have an income lower than $28,000. Not surprising actually, when the average private school in Arizona costs $6,000 at the elementary level and $18,000 at the high school level. A $5,200 to $5,900 voucher just doesn’t go far enough for those without means.
And, as if that isn’t enough, the New York Times (NYT) just reported, “a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them.” An examination of an Indiana voucher program which grew to tens of thousands of students under then Governor Pence, produced significant losses in achievement in mathematics on the part of voucher students who transferred to private schools. There was also no improvement in reading.
Then in Louisiana in early 2016, researchers found “large negative results in both reading and math” for those students on vouchers. The NYT quoted Martin West, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as saying the negative voucher effects in Louisiana were, “as large as any I’ve seen in the literature.” He wasn’t just comparing voucher programs, but rather the Louisianna voucher experience against “the history of American education research.”
Likewise, in June of 2016, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank and school choice proponent, looked at a large voucher program in Ohio. They found that, “Students who use vouchers to attend private schools have fared worse academically compared to their closely matched peers attending public schools.”
Maybe the schools “were unusually bad and eager for revenue” posits the NYT, but that just shows that “exposing young children to the vagaries of private-sector competition is inherently risky. I love the NYT’s explanation of how ”the free market often does a terrible job of providing basic services to the poor – see, for instance, the lack of grocery stores and banks in many low-income neighborhoods.” Why should we expect it to be different for education? I can see it now. Gourmet grocery stores and boutique bank equivalent private schools in affluent areas and the Circle K and payday loan operation version of underfunded public schools where people have no other real option. I know there are plenty of people who see nothing wrong with this scenario (many of them work at the state Capitol), but it IS wrong and it is not in the best interest of our people, our communities, our state, or our nation.

Advertisements
Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/vouchers-arent-so-great/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I must say, all of USA’s commercial rivals must be watching the US educational experiment with glee. The prospect of a poorly educated US workforce must be making some place like Germany or China rub their hands and start thinking of profits in 20 years.

    Bright young researchers and engineers are likely reconsidering working in the USA. I know that Canada has managed to snag some top notch young researchers from the 7 countries that Trump banned.

    And there was an interesting op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail today suggesting that Canada should set up a program to accept DACA refugees from the USA. It sounds like a win-win situation for us and the DACA people. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/keeping-the-dream-alive/article34121797/

    Generally speaking well educated, English speaking, culturally very similar to Canadians, often with North American work experience sometimes with the same company in the USA that they might work for in Canada. Sounds like the best deal since the Vietnam War draft dodgers arrived.

    And even if the DACA people might run into a bit of prejudice because they have American accents I am sure that would fade as would the accents. In no time they’d be saying “Eh” with the best of us.

    And in the mean time, the Detroit school where my mother taught for the best part of twenty years has closed.

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: