Vouch! That's gotta hurt

So Utah voted down vouchers. Hurrah! It was an ill-conceived law that could only ever do the opposite of its stated intent of helping lower income families improve their children’s education. The only way vouchers could or should work is if families with incomes above a certain amount are ineligible for the voucher. That way the program would clearly be about giving an opportunity to lower income families and not giving a tax credit to high income families who already send their kids to private school. Also, any voucher initiative must ensure that public schools actually get the tools to compete with private schools. There’s no point in saying “competition is good” and then giving money and resources to private schools and taking it away from public schools, thereby removing the public school’s ability to improve (be competitive). Luckily, 2/3 of Utahn’s saw through the voucher smoke and mirrors and shut them down. Could this be the start of a more responsive, more representative Utah legislature? Well, we can dream. It should be a good lesson to Utah law makers, though. There is a point at which the sheep will tell the shepherd Ba You!

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3 thoughts on “Vouch! That's gotta hurt

  1. Not being a Utah resident I am in no way able to comment on the correctness of your postition….sounds reasonable….though I always like to hear both sides before opining. I did notice a gross generalization however. I sincerely doubt that all higher income folks send their children to private schools though all probably could if that were their priority. I even wonder what percentage do and just what is considered higher income ? The argument almost sounds like the one for higher taxes of the “rich” who already pay the lions share of taxes yet are “capable” of paying more so lets charge them more. Its strikes me as another redistribution of income based on class envy.

  2. I don’t go into many details since the issue is settled for the time being. I don’t think I make the generalization you observe, however. I said a tax credit for those who already send their kids to private schools, not all wealthy people. To be clear, I’m no opposed to vouchers, just the particularly poor way they were proposed in Utah. See, Utah pays one of the lowest cost-per-pupil rates in the nation for its public schools. Vouchers, to my mind, are simply an effort to avoid the real issue, which is a better funded education system and lower class sizes. I think that if the powers-that-be in the Utah legislature were to approach the problem with more funding instead of a needless tax rebate (see last years surplus issue in Utah), then they would find an ally in Utah public school educators, not an adversary.

  3. And here I thought we had heard the end of this discussion for a while….

    I agree that the current situation needs to be the catalyst for a revamping of the way things are done. If only I had and faith in the legislators ability to make it happen….

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