Here is the video urging private school parents to “scam” state for tuition money

UPDATE on Thursday morning: Please note that the video has been removed. I suspect that the public outrage drove that decision.

Here is the video explanation of the state’s private school state scholarship by state Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn. Please look at this to fully understand how this Legislature-approved program — characterized as a way for poor children in persistently failing schools to afford private schools — has become a back door for middle class parents to use tax dollars to pay their private school tuition bills.

131 comments Add your comment

Choice is American

May 23rd, 2012
6:43 pm

Maureen, you carry a torch for the teachers’ unions—and for the belief that, if not for public schools and their politically correct curriculum, all Georgia’s kids would somehow grow up “racist” or even God-fearing Christians.

But would giving parents more choices in education really herald the end of the world?

You and other liberal parents will still opt for public schools over those more willing to listen to the needs of parents concerned about learning. Readers of this blog can therefore only puzzle at why the concept of greater parental choice is so unnerving to you.

Hopefully there is a reason which transcends Democrat partisan politics.

Parents: Rent the film “Waiting for Superman.” Teachers: Do a Google search right now on “NEA” and “donations” to see what far-left causes your GAE/NEA dues are bankrolling.

(Sorry, Maureen—but like you, I have an obvious partisan preference.)

Dunwoody Mom

May 23rd, 2012
6:55 pm

@Choice, what does this have to do with “choice”. This representative is clearly initiating parents into how to get around a law that was supposed to help disadvantaged students. Of course, as most of us realized from the beginning this law was nothing more use public funds for private schools. Where is the outrage from the other lawmakers?

Erica Long

May 23rd, 2012
7:00 pm

Prof

May 23rd, 2012
7:02 pm

@ Choice is American. Your comments have nothing to do with the topic here of the video by state Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn. promoting the state’s private school state scholarship.

You may have a “partisan preference,” but don’t impose it on the rest of us. You’re a bore. Stick to the topic. Do you approve then of Representative Casas performing this bait & switch, and why?

bootney farnsworth

May 23rd, 2012
7:37 pm

David Casas & Anthony Tricoli.

separated at birth?

bootney farnsworth

May 23rd, 2012
7:37 pm

choice is American.
theft is not

Anonmom

May 23rd, 2012
7:44 pm

In reality, when we give to this tax credit — I know that my money is going to a particular fund that is then being used for kids that can not afford the private schools –plural — that I’ve been involved with — that are screening –really screening for need. I asked once if I could possibly qualify the one time that I was eligible when a child moved from public to private to get my money that I was setting aside in this program for my $20,000+ in tuition money (which I was paying per child in addition to my taxes for schools that absolutely failed my oldest child) and I was told I need to go through the needs based assessment process — which we were not going to qualify for – even with 3 kids on tuition — but it isn’t easy to pay 3 tuitions with after tax money — this program is a tiny, very tiny, tax break for a very small portion of one of our tuition payments and it helps one child attend our school who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend but it isn’t going for my own child. If other schools don’t do it this way, perhaps the state should look into how they are running their programs.

Choice Advocate

May 23rd, 2012
7:46 pm

so let me get this straight – I send my kid to a private school, but my tax dollars still go to the public school (who continue to complain that they don’t have enough money, though me and many others are paying for NOT sending our kids there) I file this scholarship tax return to get a $2500 tax credit – to recoup a miniscule portion of what I’ve sent to the school – and you’re calling ME the thief? Am I missing something here or is your point of view as preposterous as I think it is? Maureen, you are COMPLETELY against school choice. You should come clean and find a job teaching at a public school instead of falsely representing a newspaper that should be unbiased.

Living in an outdated ed system

May 23rd, 2012
7:48 pm

@Bootney, with all due respect, you are the Clarence Thomas to @Maureen’s Antonin Scalia.

DeborahinAthens

May 23rd, 2012
7:50 pm

Wow! I really didn’t see that coming! (sarcasm). When will the idiots that vote these greedy, unethical slime balls into office realize that they do not have our interests at heart. I have said repeatedly (screamed it) that the voucher system and the plundering of our schools to fund corporately run charter schools is a way for the upper middle class and the well to do to eviscerate the public schools. Our tax dollars help people whose kids are already going to private schools help pay for their little darlings’ tuition. Meanwhile poor, middle class students will get a voucher that will not cover full tuition, and will remain behind in schools that have to make do with less. You cannot have a vibrant growing country without a good education system. The Repulitards are hell bent on destroying the foundations of what made this country great. What they do with their policies is like the evil dictator keeping his black boot on the neck of the middle class. And when we point out this very obvious point, they predictably start screaming class warfare. And they are right it IS class warfare–on their part. They want the rich to be educated and get richer and the poor to be the serfs.

Cassie

May 23rd, 2012
8:00 pm

Thank you for posting this video, Maureen. It is a valuable document.

Some quotes:

“I was elected in ‘02 and starting working on the education committee….this [tuition tax credit] came on the heels of Senate Bill 10, GA’s first voucher bill for special needs children, in 2007….

“Now, tuition tax credit is a whole different ball game, because – it’s an amazing program. It’s something that we worked on with the purpose that the legislature and the governor would never get involved in something that would have be to appropriated every year. (Big smile) So if you’re worried about a program that can go away, don’t worry – this can’t go away!

“You can take this chunk of money and make it….even go to the student of your choice…

“When I see what’s Bob’s doing, with GASSO (?) it just makes total sense. This is exactly what we envisioned it to be.”

Then he discusses how he’s using this bill to send his children to private school and urges everyone there to “take advantage”.

Casas then states that they currently get $50 million to use every year, but he is now working to get an automatic increase (!!!) put into place, so that when they reach the $50 million expenditure mark it will just go automatically up to $100 million every year.

“They have it already in Florida…”

Excuse me while I go throw up.

typical politician - buying votes

May 23rd, 2012
8:03 pm

it’s the main reason that a flat tax will never be enacted in this country. If politicians can’t use tax breaks to buy votes, then they’d have to actually govern and be reelected on merit.

Obviously this clown Casas feels compelled to buy votes – as many as $100MM will buy it appears.

disgusting and unethical.

MA

May 23rd, 2012
8:27 pm

Very well said Choice Advocate and Choice is American!!!!

Eric

May 23rd, 2012
8:47 pm

After watching the video, I would like to ask Mr. Casas to explain his solution to the logical (market) impact of government dollars flowing to private organizations–almost certain tuition hikes! Thus, we we will have the corporatization of American education. Hardly follows democratic principles. These middle class people championing education “welfare” are just plain greedy: My child has to have the best! Sounds similar to the situation we have with rising health care costs so that we can have “the best,” while others get less care.

B. Thenet

May 23rd, 2012
8:51 pm

Getting a $2500 tax credit for making the choice to send your child to private school, when that credit was meant to help poor children escape failing schools, IS stealing. You are stealing money from Georgia.

I really don’t see how hard that concept is to grasp. What makes you any different from someone who qualifies for food stamps and then sells them so they can spend the money on other things. It’s free money from the state, right?

A Teacher, 2

May 23rd, 2012
8:54 pm

And, the guy will probably get re-elected!!

Wondering

May 23rd, 2012
9:00 pm

Let me understand the logic. If I don’t think police protection in my neighborhood is adequate, I can hire a private security guard. When I do so, I shouldn’t have to pay taxes to support the police since my guard can protect me and mine. This is important to me since most of my tax dollars for police protection are used elsewhere in my county. My area doesn’t have a lot of crime so my police department focuses its resources elsewhere.

I get all of this except where I get to divert public funds for my personal use. Maybe I need to buy myself a representative to pass a law that he or she knows is flawed and will allow me to steal from the government.

GNGS

May 23rd, 2012
9:03 pm

@Choice is American

It is so much easier to attack the messenger.

zeke

May 23rd, 2012
9:04 pm

The film “waiting for Superman” is full of inaccuracies. Much like the “documentaries” of people like Michael Moore, people just ignore falsehoods as long as the film supports their views. It is a very very misleading film.

B. Thenet

May 23rd, 2012
9:12 pm

You really need to watch this to do it justice. This State Rep might as well be wearing that green suit covered with question marks like the “get free money from the government” guy.

We have $50 million, if you don’t use it we will spend it.

I wonder how badly these fake public school enrolled students affect the states graduation rates.

Choice is Available

May 23rd, 2012
9:12 pm

@ Choice Advocate- Couldn’t parents of high school seniors attending
college outside of the state of Georgia, or deciding to work after
their high school graduation argue why their tax dollars are being
used to subsidize your child’s college education in the future ? If
you decided that you wanted protection from a private security
company in your neighborhood, should the city, county ,and state
be obligated to give you a tax credit? I don’t think your a thief for
taking the tax credit, but I do think you should appreciate getting
any money as a subsidy for your child’s private school.You have
choice ,because you have opted out of sending your child to a
public school.If you advocate that the tax dollars should follow
your child to the school of your choice,then why shouldn’t
property owners with no children in your neighborhood be able
to argue that they should have to pay a lower rate than you?

teacher&mom

May 23rd, 2012
9:14 pm

How noble….private Christian schools gaming the system. They should be so proud.

teacher&mom

May 23rd, 2012
9:15 pm

@Choice is American:

Here’s a video I’m sure you will enjoy…

http://vimeo.com/41994760

Johhny Boy says

May 23rd, 2012
9:16 pm

And your point ? We pay school tax and this gives us a way to use our own money. So, what is your issue ? You don’t like us having a choice in schools we send our kids to ? You are right though, it keeps our kids clear of your government indoctrination. I see !!!

Choice is Available

May 23rd, 2012
9:16 pm

I don’t think you’re a thief for taking the tax credit, but I do think you should appreciate getting
any money as a subsidy for your child’s private school.

RAMZAD

May 23rd, 2012
9:22 pm

Don’t cry for me Argentina- Until public schools wake up to the fact that most parents feel about them that they are the alligator they have to sleep with and given a choice would not sent their children to one these types of initiative will continue to grow. Public schools are doomed to extinction without transformational
change.

B. Thenet

May 23rd, 2012
9:22 pm

You have all the choice in the world when it comes to where your children go to school.

1. You can pay for it out of your own pocket, while paying local school taxes, just like most people who send their kids to private school do.

2. Move to a school district with a school system you are happy with, which is what plenty of parent choose to do.

In the real world, these kind of situations are what we would call taking ownership of a problem and finding a solution. It is the kind of thing conservatives used to believe in.

Choice is Available

May 23rd, 2012
9:23 pm

@ teacher&mom Unwarranted attack on the private Christian schools. Many serve a valuable
service. I support public schools, but see no need to attack Christian
private schools

AngryRedMarsWoman

May 23rd, 2012
9:30 pm

I don’t understand how parents are designating their own children to receive the scholarship money when the law says this:
O.C.G.A. 48-7-29.16 (2010) Qualified education tax credit
“(d) The tax credit shall not be allowed if the taxpayer designates the taxpayer’s qualified education expense for the direct benefit of any dependent of the taxpayer.”

GNGS

May 23rd, 2012
9:34 pm

Public education is like public transportation. You can choose to use public transportation, which is subsidized by tax, or not. If your choice is to take a taxi, or to use your private car, the question is whether you should get your tax back to support your choice of not using public transportation.

bootney farnsworth

May 23rd, 2012
9:47 pm

@ Johnny boy

people pay taxes which go to the military as well.
you want to let the people dictate troop deployment? ROE?

Gwinnett Parent

May 23rd, 2012
9:55 pm

These students could just come back into the public schools and cost us $9,000.00+ per year each.
I would rather spend $2,500 to an entity that has produces a good product on a regular basis instead of $9,000.00 on one that has been deteriorating for decades. It saves $6,500.00 each student, regardless of family income. Sounds like a group of people wanting the hard working students, which use the smallest portion of the budget to hold up the rest.

teacher&mom

May 23rd, 2012
9:55 pm

@Choice: But don’t you find it ironic that some of the biggest offenders are the private Christian schools? Schools that pride themselves on building strong moral character.

I have no problem with private schools. I do have a problem with cheating the system and theft.

teacher&mom

May 23rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Open up the tax credit for public schools and colleges. Why should private schools have all the fun?

Wake Up

May 23rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Well said RAMZAD, Choice is Available, Choice Advocate.

Zeke if you are so into data, why don’t you provide some instead of just ranting why you don’t like Waiting for Superman. Even if the producers got a few facts wrong, the premise is still the same. The reality of those kids in the movie is still the same. The tears flowing from those parents eyes when their number was not called for the lottery is still the same. I don’t think those were exagerations.

Every child is unique and not all children get the attention that would enable them to excel. Some kids need extra help. Hell a lot of kids need extra help! We all know about the budget cuts and the # of kids in classes creeping up. I live in an exceptional public school system. My child’s school was just awarded the GA School of Excellence. I am fortunate. But I also have a child with a special need. My child will excel further in his private school vs the public one across the street. We have had financial hardship and I am extremely thankful for that $2500. I’m paying the public school in my taxes but my child will not get the focused individualized guidance that he needs. I want that choice.

Besides if you want to save the state money. Try addressing the EBT card. It is ridiculous how many of those are handed out and to whom. I deserve a choice in education for my child and I APPRECIATE that the state recognizes that and allows some of my tax dollars to shift somewhere else if I make that choice.

Stan

May 23rd, 2012
10:06 pm

For those of you who think that just because a school is private that it is automatically good are wrong. Yes, there are some very good private schools out there, but there are also some very poor ones. I have worked in both public and private schools, and I can’t say that one is better than the other overall. Private schools get to pick and choose whom they accept, so it’s easy to say that they are better schools when they are getting only the highest achieving students. I must say that some of the worst teachers I’ve ever seen were in private schools and some of the best were in public schools. You just never know, but it definitely isn’t a level playing field.

zeke

May 23rd, 2012
10:12 pm

I didn’t rant. I just said that there are inaccuracies. Someone posted a video which pointed out some of them. Here is a list of the many factual things they got wrong.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/guest-bloggers/what-superman-got-wrong-point.html

I also didn’t say that the reality of the kids was false. All kids deserve a good education, but when you purposefully present your case in a factually incorrect manner you do more damage than good.

Thewayifeel

May 23rd, 2012
10:20 pm

My choice is to send my children to private school. I pay over $1600 a month. My shoes have holes, my car is falling apart, my house needs work, and I work 3 jobs to make this happen for my kids. I DO NOT USE THE SCHOLARSHIP…NOR WILL I! But…I pay for your kid’s public education too. (YOU’RE WELCOME!) I would like to see public schools start charging a tuition fee on top of tax dollars to help their schools. And I think it should be double for parents that cannot pass the tests their own kids have to take. Because its a known fact that stupid parents have stupid kids. And stupid kids take more resources to educate. Maybe if you had to pay for it, there would be more parents involved in the learning process or less idiots reproducing.

Ed Johnson

May 23rd, 2012
10:21 pm

Erica Long says “Shameful” when she, hubby Rep. Ralph Long, Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, the Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO), and similar others steadfastly stand in support of quick-fix “Choice” and all that represents? Erica Long says “Shameful” all the while being willingly or unwittingly in service to ALEC?

Now, that’s shameful.

Whether willingly or unwittingly doesn’t matter; the effects are the same and, in either case, evidences profound lack of maturity, wisdom, foresight, and respect for those who so valiantly struggled to sustain democratic ideals in service to the common good, such as public education for all children, for example.

Perhaps Erica Long will care to post an account of her cohort of “young progressive Blacks’” latest visit to BAEO, expenses paid by BEAO.

Thewayifeel

May 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

I used to work in public education…I have another idea…If you use public schools you should be required to go to your kids school and meet their teachers at least three times a year…REQUIRED…hell, we can get emissions on our cars, but you can’t go meet your kid’s teacher? There is the problem. Most and I mean most parents of public school kids are too lazy to go see their kid’s teacher. Just look at turn out at parents nights and ptsa meetings. It is a disgrace. I worked in public schools, I KNOW! Less than 5% of parents is average. At my kid’s school, it is Standing Room Only…BECAUSE WE PAY FOR IT! And you bet your butt, we protect our investment.

another comment

May 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

The ironic thing is these people who send their kids to the Creationism Christian schools wonder when their kids drop out of or fail out of college. They don’t know the stuff to succeed, in any true profession.

Maureen Downey

May 23rd, 2012
11:03 pm

@Angry, My understanding is that the dodge here is that the official designation of the donor’s child is made by the school, not the parent. In some cases, I have been also told that parent A gives the money to the child of parent B and then parent B returns the favor to parent A.
Maureen

Truth in Moderation

May 23rd, 2012
11:04 pm

@AngryRedMarsWoman
“I don’t understand how parents are designating their own children to receive the scholarship money when the law says this:
O.C.G.A. 48-7-29.16 (2010) Qualified education tax credit
“(d) The tax credit shall not be allowed if the taxpayer designates the taxpayer’s qualified education expense for the direct benefit of any dependent of the taxpayer.”

The reason you don’t understand is because Maureen purposely left out the facts. In the past, my child attended a school that offered GASSO, but we didn’t use it. The parents are not allowed to direct a tax-deductible donation to the school in their child’s name, as per the law. However, grandparents or friends of the student can. THIS IS IN KEEPING WITH THE LAW AS WRITTEN. Elected officials voted this in. By the way, government schools are Unconstitutional. They violate the First and Thirteenth amendments. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” COMPULSORY education laws violate this principle. Compulsory education laws establish law that forbids freedom of religion in government school education, IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT!

The true law breakers are those that support government funded education. It is merely mob rule. Most wanted to abdicate their God-given responsibility to educate their own children and use the “gun” of the government to obtain other’s money to use for themselves. Of course the .01% got in on the act early and bought control of the “public’s” school. With a relatively small investment through their TAX EXEMPT foundations, they were given control of curriculum, aka the minds of future voters, while the sheeple footed the lion’s share of the bill.

Here is an eye witness account of this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sOthrywpxo
Norman Dodd, Reece Committee

Rep. Casas is using Constitutional means to undo the damage. Even if he were wrong, which he is not, WHY DO YOU IGNORE THE OBVIOUS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY THAT ALREADY EXISTS?

AngryRedMarsWoman

May 23rd, 2012
11:08 pm

Thanks for the clarification, MD. Combine that with the requirement that the donor “enroll” his child in the local public school as well as the private school and I can’t see how anyone can argue that this is not stinky. Mother always said that if you cannot “do it in the light” you probably shouldn’t be doing it. I called my son’s school today and asked them point blank if they engaged in this behavior – I was told that they do not and will be releasing a letter similar to that sent by Westminster.

Truth in Paranoia

May 23rd, 2012
11:23 pm

Wow…old Truth has really bought into the right-wing radio mentality. Typical complete lack of understanding of the constitution. No one is really surprised. LOL

YALLOweMe

May 23rd, 2012
11:28 pm

After watching the video, Representative David Casas has earned my respect. He is honest and knows what he is doing. Y’All leftists are just jealous because you have lost control over some of my money.

Truth in Moderation

May 23rd, 2012
11:33 pm

@Paranoid
Is your statement an example of your public school debate skills?
Please, elaborate point by point.
I’m interested.

Truth in Paranoia

May 23rd, 2012
11:35 pm

No elaboration will change your mind Truthie. Just be sure to turn in to Rush and Hannity tomorrow for your daily devotionals.

Truth in Moderation

May 23rd, 2012
11:48 pm

@Paranoia
Public school debate skills on display….EPIC FAIL!
Sorry, I don’t listen to the Foundation funded bastion of Catholic wisdom, Hannity and Rush.

Truth in Paranoia

May 23rd, 2012
11:55 pm

Let me type this very slowly since you can’t seem to read.

No one is trying to debate you. Anyone with half a brain knows its pointless to debate someone who won’t change his mind.

And my 12 years of PRIVATE school along with 4 more years of PRIVATE university have taught me to stay out of debates with those who couldn’t keep up. But good luck with your next TEA party meeting. Love your hats.