School vouchers: Should there be more quality controls?

Georgia will likely see another legislative attempt at vouchers next session, something that thus far has failed to gain much traction in the General Assembly.

An investigation by the Washington Post will likely revive the debate over whether we should allow parents to receive tax dollars to pay for private schools, especially religious schools.

Most vouchers do not cover the full cost of private school tuition. So, many parents in areas with vouchers send their children to parochial schools, which typically charge less than other private schools.  And, indeed, many of the families receiving vouchers in Washington send their kids to Catholic schools.

But what folks don’t consider is that once vouchers are approved for one religious school, they can’t legally be denied to others. Taxpayers could find their money going to schools run by cults equivalent to the Branch Davidians.

The Post found vouchers going to quite an array of schools.

Here is an excerpt of the piece: (Please read the entire story before commenting.)

Congress created the nation’s only federally funded school voucher program in the District to give the city’s poorest children a chance at a better education than their neighborhood schools offer.

But a Washington Post review found that hundreds of students use their voucher dollars to attend schools that are unaccredited or are in unconventional settings, such as a family-run K-12 school operating out of a storefront, a Nation of Islam school based in a converted Deanwood residence, and a school built around the philosophy of a Bulgarian psychotherapist.

Yet the government has no say over curriculum, quality or management. And parents trying to select a school have little independent information, relying mostly on marketing from the schools. The director of the nonprofit organization that manages the D.C. vouchers on behalf of the federal government calls quality control “a blind spot.”

“We’ve raised the question of quality oversight of the program as sort of a dead zone, a blind spot,” said Ed Davies, interim executive director of the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. “Currently, we don’t have that authority. It doesn’t exist.”

Republicans in Congress established the D.C. voucher program eight years ago to demonstrate the school-choice concepts that the party has been espousing since the 1950s. Vouchers were once thought to be moribund, but came roaring to life in 2010 in states where Republicans took control. Fourteen states have created voucher programs or expanded existing ones in recent years.

Some states, such as Wisconsin, now include middle-class families in their voucher programs. Other states, including Virginia, have begun indirectly steering public dollars to private schools by offering tax credits to those who donate to scholarship funds.

In some cases, the public has pushed back against the idea of routing state dollars from public to private schools. Legal challenges are pending in Colorado and Indiana. In the November elections, Florida voters rejected a ballot amendment that would have permitted tax dollars to flow to religious institutions, including parochial schools. That would have enabled the state to revive a voucher program that had been declared unconstitutional in 2006 by its highest court. Yet Florida continues to offer vouchers for disabled students who want to attend private schools and awards tax credits to corporations that donate to private-school scholarship programs.

But the most comprehensive study of the D.C. program found “no conclusive evidence” that the vouchers improved math and reading test scores for those students who left their public schools. The study, released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010, found that voucher students were more likely to graduate than peers without vouchers, based on data collected from families. And parents reported that their children were safer attending the private schools, though the students themselves perceived no difference.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

57 comments Add your comment

Whirled Peas

November 19th, 2012
8:37 am

“assume that parents will use the vouchers for parochial schools.” Its our money, why shouldn’t we spend it as we chose? There are an awful lot of tyrant and dictator wanna-bees out there who think that government should be in control of the people and that people should do what government wants them to do. This is Soviet Union thinking. Our founding fathers understood that good government was when people were in charge.

Tony

November 19th, 2012
8:40 am

Once a private school begins receiving government money, it should also become responsive to audit requirements, curriculum requirements, equal access requirements, and all the other rules and regulations related to public schooling. To remain private, a school should not accept government money in the form of vouchers, grants, or any other form of government assistance.

JF McNamara

November 19th, 2012
8:44 am

I would not care if Satan himself, if such a person existed, ran the school. I want to be able to shut down those that score poorly on tests. That’s all I care about. If it does not educate well, give me my money back to the public school

Bill Mackinnon

November 19th, 2012
9:04 am

Vouchers are a boondoggle for “private” schools, regardless of their affiliations (religious or secular). It certainly challenges the constitutional separation of church and state. Charter schools at least have a modicum of oversight systemically. (of course this is severely effected by politics). Sending my hard earned tax dollars to institutions that aren’t certified in some way by the local (preferred), State (ugh! or Federal (horrors!) Boards of Ed? Not on your life. Vouchers will not improve the schools, it will just enrich those that have the wherewithal: read that the better off in our society. They don’t need the help. Now if the vouchers were to be used to fund outreach programs specifically targeted to uninvolved families-to provide continuing education opportunities, training and job skills development opportunities, that is a different question.

By the way Maureen, the Buckhead Reporter has a front page story about the North Atlanta High School mismanaged administration removal. It seems that the whole thing was orchestrated by Board Member McDaniel with Errol Davis carrying his water. Apparently the “rumors” of anonymous racism accusations were in fact truthful. It begins to smell like a political powerplay. If true then perhaps SACS should look into this. It looks to be a similar situation as occurred in Clayton County a few years ago: Micro management of the Board or Board members who are meddling in the day to day management of the system.
The issue of racism accusations is very troubling. the Way it has been handled makes it very difficult to ascertain whether racism is actually occurring or not. It also obscures whether “reverse racism” is in part or whole going on. Being accused of racism is as damaging to the alleged racist as being accused of sexual misconduct or predation. It unalterably stains the accused professional. I believe that an anonymous accusation is unfair and could be either slanderous or libelous and should be treated as such. Just because the accuser, and the recipient of the accusation, are of color is no reason to automatically assess the accusation as true. Racism is at its worst when it hides in the shadows. it needs to be examined in the “bright light of day.” The original acts or events to the North Atlanta affair are not described or clarified for scrutiny, have not been investigated but have been “remedied,” to the severe detriment and pain of all involved.

Disgusted in Dekalb

November 19th, 2012
9:13 am

If parents are taking vouchers and taking the responsibility for their kids’ education, they can send the kids wherever they want. But don’t come crying to the state when your kids can’t get into college or get a job. You want it, you got it.

What we need is an oversight board for the local school boards. They seem to be the ones out of control and responsible for this public school education mess. The only problem is the state is no better.

Can’t wait for the next election, vote out ALL incumbents and start fresh. If they can’t do it, vote them out.

Lee

November 19th, 2012
9:19 am

No to vouchers. Yes to tax credits.

By far, the easiest to administer and it avoids the systematic destruction of private schools by onerous government red tape and bureaucracies as described by @Tony at 8:40am.

Ron F.

November 19th, 2012
9:29 am

Lee: At what point does accountability matter? There are some wonderful private schools and some not so good, just as we have now in the public system. Whether we use the direct route via vouchers or allow tax credits, how do the taxpayers know the money is going to legitimate schools that are, in fact, successfully educating kids? We have the often dismal information provided by tons of test scores for public schools, but what do we have for the private schools? Granted, schools like Westminster and Woodward are obviously succeeding, but what about some of the schools mentioned in the article? How do we insure that all schools, whether public or private, are doing the job? Do we just rely on parents to hold the school accountable, and is that enough?

I’m not in favor of more boards and governmental layers of nonsense by any means, and clearly current boards in many districts ought to legally removed or charged with all manner of crimes. But at the same time, I can’t see letting happen here what is going on in DC without some kind of oversight and accountability.

Centrist

November 19th, 2012
9:35 am

As long as vouchers remain only a percentage return of parental school related tax dollars, I am for them. Choice is good for the system and for parents, and making parents pay twice is not much of a choice. Making them pay for part of public education is a proper share the wealth application.

Sure there are going to be abuses and poor choices by parents. There will be independent (and probably government) reviews of school choices for parents to consider – but it should be their choice.

LoganvilleGuy

November 19th, 2012
9:39 am

No to vouchers period. If you want your child to go to private school, pay for it. My tax dollars aren’t for your child to go to private school.

If my tax dollars aren’t going to public education, don’t take them from me. Let me spend my money as I see fit. If I want to turn around and donate it to a kid to go to private school, that is my choice and not yours.

Bill Mackinnon

November 19th, 2012
9:43 am

@Disgusted in Dekalb-
Great sentiment to vote them all out, wish it were true. Problem is the ones we want out are elected by voters in other districts, not our own. Unless you can successfully campaign against all the other Board Members to get them turned out, “Voting them Out” is a delusional belief. We need to make all Board Members electable at large by the whole county. then we can get rid of the ones who can’t do it.

Centrist

November 19th, 2012
9:47 am

@ LoganvilleGuy – You misunderstand vouchers or tax credits. They are not affecting your tax dollars negatively. Only some of their tax dollars go with the child, and it will relieve the public school of his/her associated education expense. The reduced net tax dollars those parents must continue to pay will subsidize public education just like taxpayers who do not have children in public school systems do, and actually relieve you of some of the tax burden.

Democrat Man

November 19th, 2012
9:50 am

Parents can never be allowed to make these types of decisions.
Only the government knows what is best.
Plus, the unions need more union members…i.e., teachers.

Lee

November 19th, 2012
9:52 am

@Ron, we currently have the federal college tuition tax credit. I would submit a private school tax credit at the state level would work in a similar manner.

Pride and Joy

November 19th, 2012
10:05 am

What is really going to happen with vouchers?
Will as this blog predicts, create a bunch of cults like Branch Davidians?
Or, will the citizens of the country use them to pay for reputable schools for their children?
There will always be crazy people — and what this blog doesn’t understand is that those crazy people will be Branch Davidians whether or not their are vouchers. People won’t suddenly become a Branch Davidian because they get a voucher. Vouchers don’t make people crazy.
Vouchers give parents choices.
What will be more likely to happen is that concerned parents will remove their child from a traditional public school and put them into a reputable private school and more private schools will be built.
All that will take students and tax money away from traditional public schools.
Then, traditional public schools will either improve so that parents will want to send them there or they will close or consolidate.
Either way, it’s a win win.
Just like charter schools do already, vouchers will give children a better education by providing more options.

Pride and Joy

November 19th, 2012
10:12 am

What would I do with a voucher?
I’d use it to send my child to the best private school I could afford.
What would most people do with a voucher?
The same thing.

Jarod Apperson

November 19th, 2012
10:16 am

Most people are not very good at judging quality/value without a basis for comparison. For example, parent surveys show that most think their school is academically rigorous whether the school’s test scores are at the top or the bottom of the pack. Over time, private schools will probably build reliable reputations, but for a time there will be some parents who misguidedly choose bad schools. It would seem to make sense that private schools accepting vouchers at least be required to report the same information charter and traditional schools report.

historydawg

November 19th, 2012
10:18 am

@peas, You understand the founding fathers created public education, demanding that it not be a private commodity but a public good, right?

historydawg

November 19th, 2012
10:19 am

Money cannot and will never simply follow the child. That is not how public funds work on any resource. We cannot, for example, claim our own acre in public parks. The reason we can offer education to all is that we pool our resources to educate all of our children, not a select few.

teacher&mom

November 19th, 2012
10:21 am

If we going to subsidized the tuition at private schools, then we should insist on the same accountability standards for all schools receiving public funds.

Same standardized testing requirements, teacher certification, IEP’s, accreditation requirement, etc.

@Lee is correct: The red tape will strangle the private schools. Most won’t accept vouchers for that very reason.

Centrist

November 19th, 2012
10:23 am

Look, the Branch Davidian scare is like all the other straw dog arguments liberals put out whenever Charter, Choice, Tax Credits, or Vouchers are brought up. Liberals want ONLY public education and more and more net tax dollars to be taken from suburban taxpayers to pay a lot more per child in urban and rural areas. Never mind that money alone will not solve the cultural/ disciplinary gaps that disrupt education in urban and rural areas. Liberals only tolerate private schools as long as taxpayers pay twice.

what's best for kids???

November 19th, 2012
10:37 am

Vouchers will do one thing: drive up the price of private school.
I agree that tax credits are the only way to go if we are going to do this for the kids…remember, that’s who we are trying to help: the kids?

Pride and Joy

November 19th, 2012
10:43 am

To what’s best for kids — why wouldn’t tax credits drive up the cost of private school?

Mary Elizabeth

November 19th, 2012
10:43 am

I read the entire article in the link, and although I found the last story to be heartwarming and inspirational, I recognize that that mother’s choice represents only one example.

I found these words from the article compelling:
——————————————————————————————-

“While public schools must report test scores and take action when they don’t meet goals, private schools participating in the D.C. voucher program are insulated from such interference.

The schools must administer a single standardized test, but can choose the type. Those scores are not made public, and schools can stay in the voucher program no matter how their students fare.”
——————————————————————————————-

So, my response to the posed question is of today’s thread is: “Yes, there should be more quality controls on school vouchers.”

The growing educational thinking, as shown through the content of this article, is that parents are the best assessors of the quality of a school. That thinking has limitations, which I hope many will recognize, although I do support parental (or guardian) input into their children’s education. It should be a matter of degree of parental input in an overall professional educational setting, as I see it, having been both “the educator” and “the parent,” at different times and in different settings. The fundamental educational question that needs to be raised and answered is this: Who holds the final decision as to a school’s quality – the educators or the parents?

We are in danger of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” unless there is more introspection as to what this overhaul of traditional public education may be doing to America’s educational delivery for our young, in the long run. I see a growing, unthinking, popular “bandwagon” trend toward a glorification and romanticism of what the “school choice” movement will be able to accomplish, realistically, in educating the masses of children in our state and nation.

As I have often stated on this blog, I advocate not to dismantle traditional public schools, but instead to improve them from within – with the aid of public charter schools that will work in harmony, rather than in competition, with them, as well as with meaningful interaction with and support of parents. That seems to me to be the more sensible, stable, and long-lasting approach toward solving our nation’s educational problems. Moreover, that approach is based neither on political nor profit-making considerations, and it builds upon the educational foundation that has already been laid by thoughtful educators of the past instead of than destroying that foundation.

Active in Cherokee

November 19th, 2012
10:45 am

As many of the previous posters have stated, public funds should only be used to assist in funding for any school following all of the state/federal regulations. This includes the new Common Core standards, required testing, teacher certifications, school accreditation, and all of the other things handed down. One of the huge attractions of vouchers for private schools and charter schools is parents can choose schools that don’t have to follow all of those regulations. I won’t get into the argument over whether those requirements are for better or worse, but it is unfair to give public money to schools that do not follow all of the regulations while at the same time telling another subset of schools they must follow all regulations or risk a possible lost of funding.

Janet

November 19th, 2012
10:49 am

Not all vouchers are for religious schools. I am just starting to dig into this voucher system plan as we are coming to the realization that my 1st grader has dyslexia. In fact, we (the school and her parents) believe that she is a gifted dyslexic. Among other things, her reading comprehension is 4-5 grade levels above her actual reading level. Public schools do not even acknowledge dyslexia, but I have read there there is a possibility of getting a voucher for a specialized dyslexic school. If left in public school, she will likely be put into IEP classes grouped with kids who have severe learning disabilities. My daughter is above average intelligence, she just needs a different style of learning than the public school can provide. So please don’t lump all voucher programs in with “parents who want a religious education but don’t want to pay for it” category.

Maureen Downey

November 19th, 2012
10:51 am

@Centrist, The Branch Davidians are an extreme cult, but such a cult would qualify for vouchers if it started a school under current policy that mandates the “hands-off” policies that many folks advocate.
That means that Alta Academy, a private school for the children of the 10,000-member sect led by convicted rapist Warren Jeffs, could qualify. Warren was the principal of the school, which had hundreds of children.
These cults have been happy all along to take welfare benefits.
In this CNN interview, an ex- member of Jeffs’ group tells the interview that “they’re getting about $20 million to $30 million, possibly more than that, in welfare benefits, food stamps, that type of thing.”
I have no doubts that such groups would step up for vouchers, if vouchers were available to them and there was no oversight of what was taught or by whom.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1107/27/ddhln.01.html
Maureen

Concernedmom30329

November 19th, 2012
11:02 am

Janet

Actually, your child probably won’t be served well. But the Special Ed Vouchers (SB 10) cover just a bare fraction of the cost of the schools that best serve children with dyslexia. You may want to consider hiring a special ed advocate or special ed attorney to see if there is a way to force the system to remediate her dyslexia. If a dyslexic child can learn the strategies that work, they can be successful in a regular classroom.
My nephew who has similar challenges as your child is using a special ed voucher. It covers about 1/3 of the cost leaving about ten thousand to be paid by his parents.

Ron F.

November 19th, 2012
11:05 am

“there is a possibility of getting a voucher for a specialized dyslexic school. ”

You should qualify for a voucher under current law. That type of situation, where specialization is needed beyond what a public or charter school can provide, should be made available. I’ve supported vouchers for special needs and hope you can find what you need.

On the whole, vouchers without specific accountability for their use creates problems. At the very least, public schools are transparent and accountability is specified. The layers of red tape make it difficult, but not impossible, to remove administrators and teachers to try to make those schools improve. With the lack of accountability typically required using vouchers, how will we determine where the money is going and if it is being used correctly? If we have problems now, what could we have if there was little or no follow up?

Rick L in ATL

November 19th, 2012
11:41 am

From the article: “The Obama administration says that public dollars shouldn’t be spent for private schools and noting that they are not a real solution to the troubles facing many public schools.”

Many of you who gather here feel the same way.

But you don’t have a plan to fix public schools. Whining about funding is not a plan. Wringing your hands about uneducable children (yes, I know you are horrified to see the phrase “uneducable children” in print; just breathe into a paper bag) and their do-nothing parents is not a plan. Consigning high-upside children to years of futility alongside disruptive, disinterested classmates–maintaining the status quo, in other words– is not a plan.

There is no plan because there is no fix. There is no fix because to fix schools we’d have to confront parents and make extraordinary and unprecedented demands on them–and those parents are not about to give up their notion that K-12 education is and always must be a free no-strings entitlement.

So, yes, many of us have concluded is enough–we’re going to jettison traditional public schools for vouchers or charter schools or ANYTHING else we can get, because whatever else we choose it’ll be better than what our dreary municipal employees and our frightfully incompetent school boards are offering up.

Mountain Man

November 19th, 2012
11:47 am

“But you don’t have a plan to fix public schools.”

You are perfectly correct, Rick.

No one wants to address the REAL issues of schools because that involves tough choices and difficult stands against parents and the students.

Science Mom

November 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Since it is a question of money…
Why isn’t the money simply attached to the student?
That will make all schools compete for the money, even the public schools. If looking for a model, try Belgium.
For all “metrics” to be even, stick to ITBS, CogAT, SSAT etc… and time them better to refelct on student learning and progress.
GA test standards are not worth the extra effort.

Centrist

November 19th, 2012
12:09 pm

@ Ms Downey 10:51 am – Like I posted, liberals put out such extremist straw dog arguments.

Cults exist without vouchers. Kids are more easily influenced to join them and some parents are seduced – but not for financial reasons. Fear of them expanding because parents will get a small tax break/voucher is not rational, but makes for a great alarmist argument. Well done.

jd

November 19th, 2012
12:19 pm

Vouchers are just another means of breaking down society so when the takeover comes — we will be too worried about our individual rear ends to think about the national problems.

Jessica

November 19th, 2012
12:23 pm

No.

Who is going to do the quality-controlling? The same bureaucrats who oversee our inadequate public schools? That would be counterproductive and wasteful.

There should be a set amount of money that follows each child to ANY school his/her parents choose. As long as test scores show that the academic instruction is adequate and students are not being mistreated, the government shouldn’t interfere. If parents want to choose a school that requires higher tuition than what a voucher covers, they can pay the difference themselves.

I don’t care if the school offers religious instruction, ballet classes, or a two-hour daily Lego workshop. The vouchers cover the academic instruction, and what the school teaches in addition to that is the concern of the parents, the students, and the school.

Centrist is far from it

November 19th, 2012
12:34 pm

Anyone doubt that Centrist would be leading the mob if was discovered that a private Muslim school receiving taxpayer vouchers was teaching anti-American sentiments?

I believe Centrist — undoubtedly because you’re the center of your own fan club — takes it for granted that vouchers would only be used for good Christian schools.

indigo

November 19th, 2012
12:38 pm

I’ve been saying since day one this school voucher issue is nothing more than an attempt(successful now) by Georgia Republican politicians to give their fundamentalist base the ability to control local school boards.

Looks like someone besides me is finally realizing what is actually going on.

Entitlement Society

November 19th, 2012
12:40 pm

Parents are parents for a reason. They are accountable for their children. Of course it makes sense to provide them with vouchers so they may select the school that will best serve their children, not the school that the government assigns them. If they want to send them to a cult school, so be it; it’s parental choice and responsibility. I, on the other hand, like the majority of warm blooded Americans would use it to pay for a portion of the best private school education suited for my children. The government fails to provide this for us currently, so there is a pressing need for an alternative.

Mortimer Collins

November 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

This is no surprise. Every tom dick and harry that gets some form or another, from the govt, is on the take. Those violating the restrictions should be brought up on charges and if the violations merit such, then tossed into jail.

Centrist

November 19th, 2012
1:19 pm

@ far from it – If parents want to send their children to a Muslim based school with a partial voucher/tax credit, I’d have no problem (unless it or any other school was teaching anti-American sentiments). Since I am personally secular (and as a centrist am mildly pro-choice and pro Buffet rule millionaire tax), I have no affinity for Christian schools. I am as pro-choice for parents selecting schools with some of their school tax dollars as I am for women making their own decision about unwanted pregnancies.

KB

November 19th, 2012
1:30 pm

As a teacher, I don’t fear vouchers or tax credits because 95% of the teachers in 99% of the schools are doing the best they can with the students who walk in their classroom doors.

America’s problem is not our schools; it is how ill-prepared and unmotivated our children are before they ever enter a school. Solve that problem, and you will solve many, many of our other concerns.

Hillbilly D

November 19th, 2012
2:33 pm

In my opinion, keep the public schools public and the private schools private. School choice among the public schools, is a different issue from this one.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 19th, 2012
2:58 pm

We currently have a voucher program – Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act

§ 20-2-2115: Eligibility Requirements
A participating school must regularly report to the parent and the department on the student’s academic progress. Participating schools must be approved by the state board.

Seems logical that any extension to the existing voucher program in Georgia would have at least the same controls.

Ed Advocate

November 19th, 2012
3:08 pm

As a supporter of charter schools and other school choice options, I draw the line at vouchers and tuition tax credits. I would feel slightly more comfortable with quality control additions which ensure students utilizing vouchers are actually benefitting from the education financed by public dollars, and I will not “take the parents’ word for it” in this regard. I expect no less of public schools.

It’s ridiculous that folks feel entitled to the use of public dollars to send their children to the private school of their choice. Would we allow this with fire or police services? What about our military? Public education is essential to the success of our country and state, and we should all have a say in expenditures in this regard. We’re all paying for it, and will “pay” for it on the back end if it fails.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 19th, 2012
3:13 pm

what’s best for kids,
If vouchers will drive up the price of private schools, would you say the Hope Scholarship has done the same for college tuition? If so, do you advocate to dismantle the Hope Scholarship?

Disgusted in Dekalb
Superintendents, executive school administrations and associated organizations are to blame for this public school education mess. Local boards are relatively impotent and are accomplices at best.

Bill Mackinnon
Like you said, there are some good board members and some bad board members. If all the members were at large, the good people might be able to vote in all good board members. On the other hand, the idiots might be able to vote in all bad board members.

The school systems would be run entirely by the plurality (relative majority). There are counties with at large board members. It would be unfortunate if DeKalb were run by the likes of their at large board reps.

Ed Advocate

November 19th, 2012
3:24 pm

I have to add to my 3:08 post that I’m dismayed at the number of posters here who (sometimes quite rightly) strongly criticize public schools and then espouse a contradictory position on private schools.

If public dollars are being used for any endeavor, including and especially public education, shouldn’t we demand accountability and transparency from any entity using public resources?

Why do you hold public schools and private schools to different standards regarding public expenditures and student achievement?

DeKalb Inside Out

November 19th, 2012
3:26 pm

Question: Why would private schools using vouchers need transparency, accountability or quality controls?

What transparency, accountability or quality controls do we have on traditional public schools? Whatever you come with hasn’t helped education in Georgia.

Ed Advocate

November 19th, 2012
3:43 pm

@ Dekalb Inside Out, an entire industry and political movement has sprung up to provide accountability and transparency in the public education sector. From standardized tests, NCLB, and RttT at the national level to GA’s new teacher evaluation system, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, changes in the grad rate formula, and endless reports that public schools send to the state here in GA, there is an INCREDIBLE amount of reporting and accountability in the public education sector.

Are you saying you don’t think this information and these programs are necessary? Do you just “feel it in your bones” that public schools aren’t doing their job, or do you look to these accountability measures for proof?

I have concerns about several of the initiatives I cited above, but, if given the choice, I’ll take MORE information and accountability over “taking somebody’s word for it” any day.

Any entity using my tax dollars needs to be ready to show me how those dollars are being used effectively.

Entitlement Society

November 19th, 2012
3:48 pm

Why do you hold public schools and private schools to different standards regarding public expenditures and student achievement?

A: Because I have no choice (except to move and sell my home at a depressed price) with the rotten APS school in my neighborhood. They need to PROVE to me that they are doing their jobs. If I have a voucher to pay a small portion of the huge private school tuition I pay, I am SELECTING the school for my child, therefore I am accountable for the success or failure of my child in that school. I put him there, so there’s no one to blame but me. Simple as that. Parent accountability.

Ed Advocate

November 19th, 2012
3:55 pm

@ Entitlement Society, I see your point, and I agree that in a private school situation, the parent is ultimately accountable for the academic outcome. (Except in the case of momentous academic failure, in which case the unskilled, uneducated young adult becomes a societal burden on us all.) But, do you think it’s appropriate that you use my tax dollars for a portion of the tuition, and I don’t get anyone’s assurances but yours that I’m getting my money’s worth?

Entitlement Society

November 19th, 2012
4:12 pm

@ Ed Advocate – I know my tax dollars are going down the drain daily funding public schools that have abysmal graduation rates (i.e. North Atlanta HS), behavioral problems, racial tensions, etc. So I think it’s a much better use of tax dollars to send them to a top notch private school rather than wasted in the mismanaged, inept world of public education where no one seems to be happy – teachers always complaining about admin, parents, lazy students. etc. If teachers aren’t happy, no one’s happy and no one seems to be doing anything to make teachers any happier. I don’t think offering vouchers would really affect dynamics as much as people like to think. $20k a year is a lot to pay for private school and vouchers would probably only pay a minute percentage of that anyway. Lazy, uninvolved parents aren’t going to take the time to research schools, have their children tested, go through the application process, etc. It takes a lot of work to get into private school, so vouchers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They would demand a lot of work from parents to make them pay off anyway. I doubt vouchers would detract much from current public school enrollment. I think a lot of these anti-voucher people are crying wolf.