Vouchers offer falsely simplistic answer to complex problem

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers expressed deep frustration with his fellow senators, more specifically his fellow Republican senators.

Citing international comparisons, Rogers pointed out that American students typically perform worse than their foreign counterparts on standardized tests in science and math. Even among underperforming American students, Rogers said, Georgia children generally perform worse than their counterparts in other states, ranking 46th or 47th.

Yet in a state Senate that Republicans dominate by a 36-20 advantage, the majority leader complained, he still couldn’t get enough votes to pass a bill that would significantly expand the use of vouchers to pay for private schools. As a result, Senate Bill 87, which Rogers calls “The Georgia Educational Freedom Act,” had to be tabled.

“It’s not me that’s losing today,” an angry Rogers said from the Senate floor. “The people that are losing in this state are the children, and they’re losing because we’re fighting other adults instead of giving them the options they deserve.” The children hurt worst would be those in underperforming urban schools, Rogers said, explaining that his bill was intended to give the children of Bankhead Highway the same available to those in Buckhead.

However, Rogers’ concern for the schoolchildren of Georgia would be somewhat more convincing if he had fought against state budget cuts that have shortened school years and forced teacher furloughs and layoffs. Instead, Rogers has championed continued tax cuts that would force even deeper reductions in education spending.

Rogers’ case would also be more convincing if he could point to other countries that have used vouchers to raise educational performance. Instead, almost all of the countries that outperform the United States, and all of the other states that outperform Georgia, somehow manage to do so through the public school model. In places such as Milwaukee, where voucher programs have been in place for two decades, there is no evidence that they have produced better educational outcomes.

In 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation granting vouchers to special needs and handicapped children, arguing that public schools could not always give those students the attention and programs they need. SB 87 would expand that eligibility to foster children and children of military families, including those whose parents are in the National Guard or reserves. In other words, the bill represents another step in an incremental, largely undeclared assault on public education that Rogers and others dare not propose directly. And that’s precisely why some of his fellow Republicans won’t enlist to support it.

It’s also important to think the vouchers argument through to its ultimate impact. From the beginning of the American experiment, public schools have been understood as a mechanism of assimilation and a means of giving us a shared understanding. They have been the “common schools,” the place where as children we are exposed not just to a common curriculum but to others unlike ourselves.

Fully implemented, a voucher program threatens to break that model. It would allow Hispanic immigrants to be educated in Spanish, Catholic children to be educated among other Catholics, fundamentalist Christians to be educated among others who think and believe as they do, all at taxpayers’ expense. Black parents could and in some cases would choose to educate their children in Afro-centric schools. Such division would not be a side effect of vouchers; the ability to “opt out” at taxpayers’ expense is one of the chief motivating factors of those proposing such a change, which is what makes the proposal so dangerous.

— Jay Bookman

446 comments Add your comment

TnGelding

March 22nd, 2011
6:21 am

Dangerous? I wouldn’t go that far. It’s time we took a serious look at public education. Our current system is not suited for the 21st century and has never performed as efficiently as needed. We’re spending as much nationwide as we are for a bloated Pentagon. Children will learn if the desire is instilled at an early age, and even if they don’t they will have many chances to redeem themselves.

Karl Marx

March 22nd, 2011
6:41 am

Typical, throw more money at a system that we have thrown more money at for decades with no results. Mr. Bookman the money well is going dry. It’s time to change the model and offer choice and competition. If you truly want kids to succeed in Georgia then offer them more that one choice to get there. The one size fits all may be fine for clothing but not for education.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
6:42 am

Until and unless every child in Georgia is given a voucher why should there be only a few. How will it be operated, by lottery? Instead of “No child left behind” this sounds more like “Thousands left behind”.

Mongo

March 22nd, 2011
6:48 am

Just like with public colleges, Georgia republicans are hellbent on putting taxpayer money in the hands of private (and well connected) hands so their friends can profit.

Road Scholar

March 22nd, 2011
7:03 am

TnGelding: As long as the actions taken don’t resemble the change to the math ciriculum that is now being dropped. Teach the material. Find a way to put discipline back in the schools (Perhaps a military style school for the chronically unfit students.)

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:03 am

Senate Bill 87, which Rogers calls “The Georgia Educational Freedom Act

and which, experience shows, you can just tell with something like 98.5% certainty, from the title alone, is going to suck without even reading it.

Maybe Chippy should double down on the stupid and call it the “Anti-Job-Killin’-Educational Act” next time around.

Blitz Wolfer

March 22nd, 2011
7:03 am

Mongo – The Libs want to put taxpayer money in the hands of incompetent union thugs. What’s your point?

Jimmy62

March 22nd, 2011
7:06 am

Vouchers offer a simplistic, but perfect, solution.

Democrats offer no solutions at all, other than to throw more money at teacher’s unions, and do everything they can to make sure poor kids living in areas with bad schools have no options. Vouchers at least give options to some of the kids and families that give a hoot about education. We gotta change the culture, and that’s got nothing to do with class size or so many of the other things lefties want to throw tax dollars at.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:09 am

Wolfer @ 7.03, are these the “union thugs” you speak of?

If not, then who are you talking about?

Please be specific, and show your work. Thanks!

Martin the Calvinist

March 22nd, 2011
7:10 am

We’ve been wasting tax dollars for years throwing money into the public school systems. We haven’t seen any improvement! Besides, when are you going to argue that parents need to take more of a role in educating their children, I wasn’t home schooled but, I knew I was going the meet the Board of Education so to speak if I misbehaved and didn’t do my best in learning what I was taught. People send their children to school for two meals and some baby sitting and they don’t stress the importance of education to their children. More money isn’t going to fix that problem. Truth of the matter is we are going broke as a nation and as a state, we can not continue at this rate of spending. Or we are going to have to give over more and more of our income to support a system that refuses to run smartly, the government.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:10 am

Oh, and with this thread, make sure to play the Conservative Edumakashunal Drinking game, and throw back a shot every time you hear the term “throwing money.”

(You get a beer chaser every time you hear about those very dangerous “union thugs.”)

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
7:12 am

“… when are you going to argue that parents need to take more of a role in educating their children?”

Martin, I’ve made that argument repeatedly here.

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
7:13 am

Grand Tuesday morning all y’all…

Todays funny…see Luckovitch and this

http://news.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/03/21/political-pictures-grand-moff-stephen-colbert/

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
7:14 am

Put taxpayer money back into pubic schools and not vouchers.

Jimmy62

March 22nd, 2011
7:18 am

Stands for decibels: There were a lot of really creepy death threats and other thuggish behavior from the teachers in Wisconsin. Now the teachers in Georgia are an entirely different group, but I don’t think it’s a big stretch to imagine the same sort of behavior from them. Certainly there were more documented evidence of death threats from teachers in Wisconsin than anyone ever found from the Tea Party. But since the press is mostly left wing, they are deliberately not reporting those death threats from the left, while highlighting every last little conceivably violent thing anyone on the right says.

So yeah, if teachers in Wisconsin act like thugs, and they certainly did, then I will call them thugs, and point out that they abandoned the right to say “It’s about the kids first!” since it was obviously about the teachers first, last, and always. And if teachers in Georgia adopt the same sort of behavior when politicians do something they don’t like, I will call them thugs, too.

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
7:21 am

Jimmy,
Those “threats” starting coming at a very opportune time…just when Walker was taking it on the chin…I’d blame the Koch Brothers and their organizations for the supposed “threats”.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2011
7:23 am

What’s next for the voucher squad and their intentions to continue to divide us? “FOX News School”?

It’s not funny.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:24 am

Jimmy62, you are assuming an awful lot in your 7.18.

The way I see it, in order to come to your conclusions, you’ve taken pre-packaged “news” reporting you’ve been spoon fed by right wing outlets, assuming this behavior hyped by those outlets represents the behavior and attitudes of the majority of organized labor, and then making a mighty leap from there to GA.

that said:

And if teachers in Georgia adopt the same sort of behavior when politicians do something they don’t like, I will call them thugs, too.

It’d kinda help if they actually did such a thing, first, yes?

Del

March 22nd, 2011
7:24 am

The public school system once an effective learning institution for our children has become an abysmal failure. Much of the failure is a result of national teacher unions who’ve indoctrinated too many teachers with an entitlement mentality that even pollutes the systems in states like Georgia who’ve broken away. Factor in the liberal far-left that permeates within the national public schools and into our university system and we’re turning out educated dummies. Time for a complete change and school vouchers do offer possibilities that shouldn’t be ignored.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
7:25 am

“when are you going to argue that parents need to take more of a role in educating their children?”

You can argue it all you want, but the bottom line is that you can’t FORCE those parents to do it. Teacher have to work with the children assigned to them. And they have to teach the best way they can…but I have been in classes with gifted, inspiring teachers who took the “rough diamonds” assigne to them and who transformed them into students eager to learn. And the involvement of their parents, or lack of it, had nothing to do with it.

In fact, an inspired student can help to teach their parents the value of education. It’s not always the other way around.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2011
7:26 am

Del got his degree from “FOX News School”.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
7:27 am

If I was a parent with a child in a private or religious school (and paying the full tuition) I would be very upset that someone was getting a free ride who was not there on a academic or sports scholarship. So what’s to happen. My first argument as that parent would be… this is not fair, I pay more taxes then they and the entire price to send my kid here. Next thing you know everyone would be eligible for the voucher program, regardless of income and then our education money will go the way of HOPE. Everyone in needs to understand that life’s not fair and you might have to struggle to get a good education. “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”, so to speak. And I’ll bet every dollar I have that in ten years or so the voucher program will seen as a give away to the poor and undeserving and these very same people pushing for it today will be crying foul to the welfare cheats.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:27 am

And another thing:

Certainly there were more documented evidence of death threats from teachers in Wisconsin than anyone ever found from the Tea Party.

what does that even mean? Is someone actually keeping score of every online or emailed threat from everyone who considers themselves affiliated with something vaguely known as “the Tea Party” but which doesn’t really exist as one unified, organized body?

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
7:29 am

You can argue it all you want, but the bottom line is that you can’t FORCE those parents to do it.

well, and there’s the little problem of how this is about more than parents and teachers and even the mighty Chip Rogers.

It’s all about who wields actual power, and how, and about the political food chain, and it’s interwoven with a lot of factors that are utterly beyond the control of educators or, in a lot of cases, the parents themselves.

It’s really about a Republic that was designed to give individual states too much power, forming race-to-the-bottom standard-of-living pits throughout in order to attract this or that business that will somehow provide enough tax revenue, someday, and enough jobs to get the poor states back on their feet again. But it never really works.

You fix those inequities and then we can talk about fixing that which affects those at the bottom of the food chain, the kids. Until then you all are just re-arranging the damn deck chairs on the Lusitania, or Titanic, or whatever metaphorically doomed vessel you prefer.

(Sorry to be so grim but I felt someone needed to cut to the chase.)

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
7:33 am

“You fix those inequities”

I have long held the opinion that education funding needs to “trickle up” to the state level and that every school district in the state should receive the same amount per student…and have to prove they are actually spending that much per student in every school.

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
7:35 am

In other words, Del, every problem in the world comes down to “liberals caused it.” That’s the extent of your analytical effort.

Again, how is it that those “union thugs” in Wisconsin schools are producing students who rank first or second nationally in the SAT and ACT, while our non-union Georgia schools rank near dead last? How does that fit into your simplistic and purely ideological world view?

The more complex truth is that public schools — including those in Georgia — are probably performing better today than they have at any point in their existence. In fact, these golden memories of “the good ol’ days” when Johnny brought a highly polished apple to his favorite teacher are largely false. The truth is, an awful lot of Johnnys would drop out 30 or 40 years ago, but the consequences of doing so weren’t so bad. They could still make a decent living without a high school education.

That’s no longer the case. What has changed, in other words, is the consequence of a bad education. While our schools are improving, slowly, the rate of improvement isn’t fast enough to keep pace with a rapidly changing world. That’s the challenge.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
7:37 am

stands for decibels @7:10 am

You were never so right. Let the drinking begin!

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
7:37 am

“I would be very upset that someone was getting a free ride ”

but they wouldn’t be getting a “free” ride…their parents would still be paying their taxes. I don’t approve of a voucher program, as I think it’s a backdoor way to get the state to fund religious education…but IF we had one the students wouldn’t be getting into private schools for free.

Del

March 22nd, 2011
7:39 am

“Del got his degree from “FOX NEWS SCHOOL.”

That childish comment is an example of the failures that have been turned out from our public school system.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2011
7:40 am

Del you should really try to understand Jay’s take-down of your partisan nonsense.

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
7:42 am

I believe that the woes of public education comes from defunding and taking away the right of the teachers to discipline students. Let teachers teach. And Unions wouldn’t be necessary if teachers didn’t feel threatened by their superiors, period.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
7:44 am

stands for decibels @7:29 am ”
It’s really about a Republic that was designed to give individual states too much power, forming race-to-the-bottom standard-of-living pits throughout in order to attract this or that business that will somehow provide enough tax revenue, someday, and enough jobs to get the poor states back on their feet again. But it never really works.”

I stand corrected, this was never said better. Your self called “grim” assestment was spot on. But still loved your 7:10am

HDB

March 22nd, 2011
7:45 am

People consistently fail to note that the paradigms of private and public education differ; public education focuses on the masses…private education focuses on the discriminate few! Unless private schools are not allowed to discriminate, i.e., pick and choose, whom they allow to enter, all vouchers would do is to systematically divert funding from public education.

What really needs to be done in order to effect changes in public education is this:

1) Create a multi-tiered approach – vocational/technical along with college prep
2)Consistent funding for public schools….not the persistent threats of cutting educational spending! That’s anathematic to the purpose!
3) Re-instate disciplinary codes in schools
4) Create alternative schools for those that don’t fit into the normal systems
5) Teach the curriculum…not the test!
6) Assist in parental assistance to ensure parental involvement
7) Require that at least ONE foreign language be taught in the curriculum to foster the spirit of worldwide competition

That’s a start!!

Del

March 22nd, 2011
7:47 am

Jay, it is, what it is…attempting to throw out narrow manufactured stat’s won’t make your argument. BTW, what we all witnessed during those childish demonstrations in Wisconsin made many parents wince at the thought of these so called teachers instructing their children.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
7:47 am

“And Unions wouldn’t be necessary if teachers didn’t feel threatened by their superiors, period.”

And – actually – that is true of ANY employee

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
7:47 am

Doggone/GA @7:37 am

It is free if you are not paying the tuition. Just like food is free with food stamps.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2011
7:48 am

Del doesn’t believe in facts that go against his partisan nonsense. Instead, he doubles down on his factless nonsense.

ByteMe

March 22nd, 2011
7:52 am

HDB’s analysis matches my own: vouchers are a scam to divert public money meant to educate the masses to private enterprises that benefit the few who get accepted into a private school. The “competition” is only between private schools, it’s not between private and public schools, because private schools get all the “draft choices” and public schools then end up with all the undrafted students. Want to put together a football team with no draft choices year after year? What do you think you end up with?

carlosgvv

March 22nd, 2011
7:55 am

Many Republicans have never accepted Social Security, Roe vs Wade and school integration. They can and will do every devious thing you can imagine to overturn these programs. This school voucher business is just the latest in a long list of Republican scam proposals.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
7:57 am

“It is free if you are not paying the tuition.”

But they WOULD be paying tuition. The whole point of vouchers is that the tax money those parents pay would be vouchered to the private school instead of going to the public school system.

Bob

March 22nd, 2011
8:00 am

What fools, can’t these repubs see the valuable work being done by the Atlanta Public Schools ?

TaxPayer

March 22nd, 2011
8:04 am

Clearly, what we need more of in this ever more unrestrained libertarian coporate capitalist society is less government and more items on the shelves at the company stores. For example, if Koch Brothers needs coal-fired power plant operators, then they should offer up a $19.95 book entitled, “Operating a Coal-fired Koch Brothers Power Plant for Dummies,” and make ownership of said book a prerequisite for hiring perspective employee. A good corporate education is all one really needs these days and who better to provide it than corporations. It’s the profitable, taxpayer-generating, responsible thing to do. All this Rogers fella needs is a better sales pitch and likely a better deliverer of said sales pitch. I would suggest someone with a little more charisma. A Jimmy Jones type. Someone that can connect with the audience. Especially since Limbaugh doesn’t seem to be able to devote sufficient time to the masses these days to get the job done.

SOUTHERN ATL

March 22nd, 2011
8:04 am

Such division would not be a side effect of vouchers; the ability to “opt out” at taxpayers’ expense is one of the chief motivating factors of those proposing such a change, which is what makes the proposal so dangerous…..

In other words, this would be just another form of “legal segregation”.

james

March 22nd, 2011
8:06 am

N Fulton high schools which are very diversified compete with any private school. Parents and the local society including (education) competitiveness amongst the pupils is the main driver. The gov’t, as always, believes it is a little too important in the success or failure of folks.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
8:09 am

While our schools are improving, slowly, the rate of improvement isn’t fast enough to keep pace with a rapidly changing world. That’s the challenge.

I think that’s pretty well put. My “doomed ship” metaphor @ 7.29 should be amended so that rather than sinking, I should say, perhaps, that the ship is being swamped by the wake of the other ships.

By the way, I don’t think all of our international economic competitors are always spot on, either. As well educated as Germans are, for example, I find it appalling that their kids get railroaded into this or that educational path based on what they manage to achieve at the age of 15 or 16, and I wouldn’t be comfortable with us applying that method here.

(Still, though, the kids in Germany who do wind up in nonprofessional trades are assured a living wage, good educational opportunities for their kids, affordable healthcare, a serious unemployment safety net, etc…)

Just one example I know a little bit about, just putting it out there.

Greg

March 22nd, 2011
8:13 am

How about every student gets a voucher. The money follows the student, if they feel their local public school is the best choice, they take their voucher there. If an accredited private school is their choice, their tax money follows their child there. The schools, public and private would have to compete, and the poor ones would close or improve. Competition works.

Finn McCool

March 22nd, 2011
8:15 am

Give the Republicans a way for our tax money to pay for their child’s private education without giving the same benefit to middle class families, working class families, or minority families in general and you will know what the Republican “American Dream” is all about.

arnold

March 22nd, 2011
8:16 am

Why continually blame the teachers? Aren’t the students and their parents ultimately responsible for themselves?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
8:18 am

Good morning all. We understand that the educrats are offended that a huge majority of the population now believes the system in place is ineffective. We also understand that the educrats believe their feeding trough would be diminished if the citizenry removed the educrat entitlement to taxpayer largesse. What we don’t understand is why anyone would object to parental election in education.

The theory behind taxpayer subsidy of education is that there is a social benefit to a well-educated populace. There is little evidence that our current system – government schools – produces a well-educated populace – perhaps there are too many psychology and history and education majors attempting to teach the useful courses, science and math and economics. Given that the educrats have been unable to deliver value, why should we not consider any alternative?

billy T

March 22nd, 2011
8:18 am

I often disagree with you, Jay, but you are spot on with this column. Not only are Milwaukee’s (Minneapolis, Colorado, …) not showing increased achievement, they are also proving to move only the most capable students from the public schools. Proportions of special needs and poverty children with large families are not moving anywhere, leaving the schools with even fewer resources to educate the most needy of all the learners. It was Einstein who suggested “there is a simple solution to every complex problem, and it is wrong.” Thank you

HadIt

March 22nd, 2011
8:19 am

My wife is a school teacher. I am tired of you right-wing scumbags calling her a thug. Do it to my face and I promise you I will stomp your worthless ass into the ground.

USMC dawg

March 22nd, 2011
8:19 am

“In other words, Del, every problem in the world comes down to “liberals caused it.” That’s the extent of your analytical effort.”Jay Bookman

Just like Jay and Obama Blamed George Bush for every problem in the world.
What a hypocrite.

How are you liking those gas prices? Oh yeah, it must be Bush and his oil buddies needing more money.

Is Obama starting a war in Libya for Oil just like “W” did in Iraq?

Finn McCool

March 22nd, 2011
8:22 am

Is Obama starting a war in Libya for Oil just like “W” did in Iraq?

That is certainly part of it.

Rightwing Troll

March 22nd, 2011
8:22 am

“Mongo – The Libs want to put taxpayer money in the hands of incompetent union thugs. What’s your point?”

As opposed to you wanting to put taxpayer money in the hands of incompentent non-union thugs?

What is the point?

Georgia kids are entitled, fat, lazy, and/or stupid, troll here for a few days and you will see exactly why.

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
8:23 am

Apparently a memo has gone out: teachers = union thugs.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
8:23 am

Doggone/GA @7:57 am
That is bull! When has tax dollars paid ever been delegated to where the individual tax payer wants it to go, I’ll tell you when, never. If that was the case I would stop my money from subsidizing gas companies and farm subsidies. I would want tax money to pay my electric bill, my cable bill and my water bill but it won’t be done. Leave public education money where it is in public schools. My mom and dad sacrificed to send my brother and me to Catholic school for our primary education. If you want you kids to go to a private school then pay for it!

And by the way what constitutes a “private” eduaction once they start taking public funds. It won’t be such a private place anymore and all the casha of having that diploma anymore becase it will be just another public institition.

And by the way what constitutes a “private” education once they start taking public funds. It won’t be such a private place anymore and all the grander of having that diploma won’t mean squat because it will be just another public institution.

Misty Fyed

March 22nd, 2011
8:26 am

Vouchers will not be the answer, but IN MY OPINION they should be part of the answer. They will allow gifted and advanced learners to go somewhere where they can be challenged. They will allow slow learners to be given the time and specialization they need. They will allow strongly religious families to place their kids in an environment where the teachers aren’t hostile to their beliefs.

The first step to fixing the public school issue; regardless of vouchers, is to take administrative roles away from educators and give it to business oriented people. My spouse is a new teacher in Gwinnett. The decisions made and prevalant attitutes will boggle your mind; and Gwinnett is one of the better districts. My wife has gifted kids in her class; average kids; known extreme discipline problem kids; and remedial kids. The gifted kids are bored, the slower kids are lost, the average kids are distracted by the trouble kids. The attention goes to the kids that have nothing a good spanking won’t cure but whose parents see it the job of the school to teach discipline. We are so test conscious that we mix the kids to raise the average score of the class.

We can’t put the gifted kids together, or the slower kids. Then one teacher’s scores would go through the roof and another’s would be low. The public would be crying “teacher performance” when in truth one teacher is driving a Corvette, while the other a VW Bug.

We need strong business oriented leadership who will implement common sense strategies that work and maximize to potential of each kid. Leaders who will use tried and true teaching strategies and not bend to some new fad like using dance to teach math. We need results not good intentions.

Finn McCool

March 22nd, 2011
8:26 am

I say we stop defining our education system around the kids that don’t get it. Set education goals to work FOR the top 33% of the class.

The next 33% will get it sooner or later and may need to retake a grade or more, the last 33% will have to repeat even more grades until they get it or are no longer of school age.

Like Maher told Olbermann after he took out his “Worts Person in the World” segment and finally left his show: “Quit arranging your life around the people that don’t get your jokes.” That’s damn good advice. Political correctness falls under this, too.

Misty Fyed

March 22nd, 2011
8:30 am

Rightwing Troll said: “Georgia kids are entitled, fat, lazy, and/or stupid”

No! You have it wrong. Georgia parents are entitled, fat, lazy, and/or stupid: The kids are just a reflection of that.

Call it like it is

March 22nd, 2011
8:30 am

Okay Georgia’s schools have stunk forever! Left or Right in charge no difference and the same results. I for one would be the first one to pony up for our Sect of Education to fly to these countries who are kicking our butts and see what they are doing then bring that system back home to us. Is it the schools, is it the teachers, the kids, the parents or all of the above? Hell start small, go to the number one state here in the good old USA and see what they are doing. Is everyone taking the same test? Is every child taking the test or just those college bound?

godless heathen

March 22nd, 2011
8:32 am

Seems to me that liberals pretty much took over public education beginning in the 60s and things have been going downhill ever since. But those in charge seem to never acknowledge that the methods might be part of the problem. When criticized for the results of the public education system, they get all indignant and point fingers at various bogeymen, parents, taxpayers, politicians.

I say bring back corporal punishment and smoke some of the little behinds until they learn something.

carlosgvv

March 22nd, 2011
8:33 am

Jay, I was in school many years ago when “Johnny brought a highly polished apple to his favorite teacher”. If anyone disrupted class they were sent to the principal. Often, the offending student was paddled and sent home. No one ever attacked teachers. No one ever brought guns to school. No one ever smoked at school. There were no “social promotions”. There were no drugs. So, you might want to re-think that remark about “the good old days”.

RB from Gwinnett

March 22nd, 2011
8:35 am

“In other words, Del, every problem in the world comes down to “liberals caused it.”

That’s rich coming from a guy whose entire livelyhood is tied up in blaming Republicans for everything bad, day after day after day.

Go buy a mirror Bookman.

PJ

March 22nd, 2011
8:37 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld @8:18 am

I went to a private school and believe you me there were some dummies and trouble makers there too. If you have money, and especially a legacy, any nincompoop could get into any school they want to. Can anyone say Yale.

stands for decibels

March 22nd, 2011
8:38 am

Apparently a memo has gone out: teachers = union thugs.

Golly gosh, Jay, whoever would write such a memo?

@@

March 22nd, 2011
8:39 am

“… when are you going to argue that parents need to take more of a role in educating their children?”

Martin, I’ve made that argument repeatedly here.

And to my knowledge, you’ve never laid out a plan as to how that can be accomplished, jay.

ON EDUCATION; Increasingly, African-Americans Take Flight to Private Schools

When white families pull their children out of big-city public schools, everybody pays attention and debates whether the cause is educational failure, racial bias or some other factor. When African-American parents do the same thing, hardly anyone seems to care or comment, as if blacks are just supposed to accept whatever the neighborhood school dishes up — good, mediocre or abysmal.

A bit more complex than even you let on, jay.

Wisconsin has a student population of 4% black and 4% hispanic. When it comes to minorities, Georgia’s ACT/SAT scores exceed Wisconsin’s. In other words…we’re doing a better job of educating minorities.

Iowahawk makes the case.

ty webb

March 22nd, 2011
8:43 am

“Jay, I was in school many years ago…”

Well color me shocked!

AmVet

March 22nd, 2011
8:46 am

Seems to me that liberals neo-cons pretty much took over public educationeverything in the entire South beginning in the 680s and things have been going REALLY, REALLY downhill ever since.

Gotta luv our fake conservatives – they’ve never found a fire they wouldn’t throw gasoline on…

Moderate Line

March 22nd, 2011
8:47 am

Rogers’ case would also be more convincing if he could point to other countries that have used vouchers to raise educational performance. Instead, almost all of the countries that outperform the United States, and all of the other states that outperform Georgia, somehow manage to do so through the public school model. In places such as Milwaukee, where voucher programs have been in place for two decades, there is no evidence that they have produced better educational outcomes.
+++++++++++
The article is misleading. Many industrialize countries who have higher test scores fund private schools. Whether it improves test scores or not is another question? Also, you don’t see Jay willing to cut government funding for private university. Where would Harvard be without the US government funnelling government research to Harvard? The research programs are what finances Harvard and allows to attract better researchers. It is an indirect way of financing private university. However, there is no threat to this funding because so many on the left support Harvard.

Only Iceland spends more money on education than the United States. So if private schools are not the answer then spending more money is probably not the answer either because we are already doing that.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
8:49 am

“Competition works.”

It would only come close to working if the private schools could NOT “cherry pick” the students they will accept. And if they aren’t allowed to do that, they might as well be part of the public school system…because the ESSENCE of being a private school is that they don’t have to accept every student who applies.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
8:51 am

“When has tax dollars paid ever been delegated to where the individual tax payer wants it to go”

Welcome to MY side of the aisle. That is EXACTLY the point. Why should a few parents tax money be allowed to be sent where the PARENTS want it to go..when that option is not available to ALL parents?

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
8:51 am

What would those “many countries” be, Moderate?

And Harvard’s $27 billion private endowment has a lot more impact than the federal money it receives for research, most of which goes for, well, research.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
8:52 am

Good morning, PJ @ 8:37. We will always have the dummies and trouble-makers among us. Perhaps we would agree that private schools are no more effective with dummies and trouble-makers than are the government schools. I do not care about the dummies and trouble-makers. The topic today is whether our government schools are the highest and best education model available today. While I believe reasonable minds may disagree on that argument, I also understand that leftists believe only the government schools work.

P. McCall

March 22nd, 2011
8:54 am

Dear Mr. Bookman: I’ve learned over the years that when an editor writes and does not referrence a bill that I had better go read the bill to see what it REALLY says. Your editorial follows the pattern. SB 87 is the bill in question. Please note EXISTING law and SB 87 Section 4(b)(1) and 4(b)(2) state vouchers may be used in PUBLIC schools. 4(b)(2) state vouchers may be used in private schools. In other words if the school system has a school within its district that is not FAILING, then the voucher may be used within the same district to allow the child to escape the failing school within the same district. What motive do you or the State’s Educational Associations have to oppose Section 4(b)(1)? Why would anyon oppose a child trapped in a failing Clayton County school not be allowed to go to another passing PUBLIC school in an adjacent county as Section 4(b)(2) provides for?

As far as pointing out international countries…their public educational system is not the one failing and they do not need to find solutions to a non-problem. But I can point to a State next door where the voucher system has worked well. Look at Florida’s success in public education where they spend less money per student and far outshine our schools.

My point is simple; the Georgia system of public education has been failing. Continued support of a failed system perpetutes failure. SB 87 was designed – and it so states – to help the children of economically disadvantaged children by given them opportunities to move from a failed system to a system; be it PUBLIC or private that is succeeding in education. SB -87 is not meant for the children of North Fulton County or Buckhead. As Sen. Rogers said on the floor it is meant for the children of the single mom working two jobs on Bankhead Highway.

Read SB 87 on the General Assembly’s website. It is only 8 pages long.

Dave R.

March 22nd, 2011
8:54 am

“In other words, Del, every problem in the world comes down to “liberals caused it.” That’s the extent of your analytical effort.”

No analysis needed, Jay, when the conclusion is obvious.

And to the article, every taxpayer should have the right to withdraw their children and their amount of taxes paid into the local school system in order to put them into private schools. In our county, taxes pay for $1 million international food courts in our brand-spankin’ new high schools, as if teenagers need any incentive to eat. Waste of money. It can be more efficiently spent on real education if a parent chooses the private school route.

RGB

March 22nd, 2011
8:59 am

“I want to reiterate, there was no attempt to evade the plane.”

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

“And to the article, every taxpayer should have the right to withdraw their children and their amount of taxes paid into the local school system in order to put them into private schools”

and what about MY tax money that goes to the schools? I don’t have any children. Shouldn’t I – also – have a say in what is done with the money I pay for schools?

jm

March 22nd, 2011
9:01 am

“From the beginning of the American experiment, public schools have been understood as a mechanism of assimilation and a means of giving us a shared understanding. They have been the “common schools,” the place where as children we are exposed not just to a common curriculum but to others unlike ourselves.”

While this is a result, I don’t think this was an intent. And it has nothing to do with improving testing scores and aptitude.

dude

March 22nd, 2011
9:01 am

Home school your brat if you got a problem with public education.

AmVet

March 22nd, 2011
9:02 am

Bring back full-time PE. All the way through high school graduation.

And make the little couch potatoes run until they puke.

Tough love will make them better, stronger, more productive Americans…

jm

March 22nd, 2011
9:02 am

(off topic)

Q: Given Obama has implemented a surge in Afghanistan, kept troops in Iraq, and is raining bombs on Libya, will his Nobel Peace Prize be revoked?

Just curious.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
9:03 am

Dear Doggone @ 9:00, good morning. Nobody is saying you should not have the right to waste your money on ineffective government schools. We are just arguing that the parents who wish to send their children to effective schools should be able to similarly direct their funds.

Dave R.

March 22nd, 2011
9:03 am

“Why should a few parents tax money be allowed to be sent where the PARENTS want it to go..when that option is not available to ALL parents?”

Possibly the most ignorant comment of the year (although the year IS young).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

“Why should a few parents . . .”

as in THEIR own, hard-earned

“tax money be allowed to be sent where the PARENTS . . .”

you know, the people who earned and paid that money

“want it to go..when that option is not available to ALL parents?”

when the option is available to all parents – if they choose to exercise said option.

Dumb.

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
9:04 am

Mr. McCall, I applaud your initiative in going to read the bill. Unfortunately, you read the law incorrectly. The sections you reference, 4-b-1 and 4-b-2, apply ONLY to handicapped students with special needs, just as reported in my column. SB 87 would expand that to include foster children and children of military families.

Existing law does NOT allow children from failing schools to transfer to schools outside the district. In fact, such a law was proposed by conservatives back when Clayton County schools were having their troubles, but was quickly withdrawn when parents in counties surrounding Clayton made it quite clear they wanted nothing to do with it.

kimmer

March 22nd, 2011
9:04 am

American students on average perform worse than foreign counterparts yet we spend more per student than almost everyone else so it appears money is not the problem.

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
9:04 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
9:03 am

If religious based schools were left out of the mix, I would agree.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
9:06 am

Dear Normal @ 9:04, why do you object to ethics and religious education? Surely those are more valuable than silly, meaningless stuff like “Darwinism,” which is found in almost every school.

Dave R.

March 22nd, 2011
9:07 am

“and what about MY tax money that goes to the schools? I don’t have any children. Shouldn’t I – also – have a say in what is done with the money I pay for schools?”

You should have the choice to either pay the money or not pay the money based on what you want to contribute.

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

Ragnar and Dave R., the money in question does not belong to the parents. They have no legal or moral right to it, as you appear to suggest.

It is taxpayers’ money, generated in large part from non-parents.

Now, if parents want to use their actual own money for private schools, they of course have every right to do so.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

“We are just arguing that the parents who wish to send their children to effective schools should be able to similarly direct their funds.”

but the problem is: it WON’T be JUST their money they redirect. It costs more to send a student to school than most people pay in taxes. The system depends on MY money as well, to make up the difference. So some parent, somewhere, might be redirecting THEIR money AND mine. But *I* can’t have a say in it, either way. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

@@

March 22nd, 2011
9:10 am

Time for a new thread, jay. Your flight to fancy got shot down before it even got off the ground.

Can’t even call it a nice try.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
9:10 am

“u know, the people who earned and paid that money”

See my reply above about where that money ACTUALLY comes from.

jm

March 22nd, 2011
9:11 am

I’ve concluded this voucher issue, fundamentally, is looking in the wrong direction for the wrong solution. We need:
A. Continued testing for finding what and who works
B. Better actual teacher training
C. Most radical, to transform pure public funding for education to a model which combines partial public funding with senior credit student loans that are paid back with income from both the parents and children over a specified horizon.

Free products cause all kinds of bizarre incentives and distortions, and we need to find a way to eliminate them.

carlosgvv

March 22nd, 2011
9:11 am

ty webb “well color me shocked”

What do you mean by that?

Normal

March 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
9:06 am

I would rather let the child make his or her own decision when it comes to religion. And Darwinism is the accepted world wide standard for science. Of course to be educated, you have to develop an open mind and learn to think….and I must say, by reading some of your posts, I thought you would not have called Darwinism “silly”.

Doggone/GA

March 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

correction: See my reply above about where SOME OF that money ACTUALLY comes from

kayaker 71

March 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

Watched “Waiting for Superman” the other night. Quite a testimonial to our public school school system. The most heart rendering portion of the movie was watching all of the families participating in lotteries for spots in better schools. Sometimes 140 applicants for less than 20 places. It didn’t have too many good things to say about teachers unions either. These people seemed to be pretty involved in their children’s eduction but suffered continual setbacks in getting into a school that would offer what they wanted. The public model, for the most part, just didn’t work.

Dave R.

March 22nd, 2011
9:13 am

“Ragnar and Dave R., the money in question does not belong to the parents.”

Spoken like a true Socialist!

It did once, and it was taken by force. No matter how much you wish to deny that simple fact, the fact remains, Jay. You libs are the scariest people on earth, thinking you have a right to everyone else’s earnings to do with as you please.

Jay

March 22nd, 2011
9:13 am

@@, you’re welcome to take your business elsewhere if things here don’t suit your fancy. Shoot, you can even start your OWN blog and try to compete. Let me know when you set it up, and I’ll link to it for all your many, many fans here.

Typical Democrat

March 22nd, 2011
9:14 am

Jay is right.
Competition never helps.
Only government teacher unions can improve eduction.
Never give parents of choice.
Government should be in charge of all areas of our lives.