Giving students choices is no laughing matter

Have you heard the one about the priest, the rabbi and the Baptist minister who went to a political rally? This one’s no joke.

To understand what was special about Thursday’s school-choice rally at the state Capitol, you didn’t have to hear what was said or feel the freezing temperatures which more than 100 attendees braved.

You had to look at the crowd, which didn’t look at all like what the machinery of the education status quo would have you believe. It was a crowd that was multiracial, multi-ethnic and multi-faith.

The minorities present were not token representatives. They were a reflection of the fact that school choice — including charter schools and vouchers — is an issue that concerns all Georgians, not just a privileged few.

So much so that, in imploring the crowd to remain persistent, Rich Thompson, a Southwest Atlanta parent and school-choice advocate, chose to cite a dictum from the abolitionist Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

So much so that when Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers described school choice as “the moral calling of our time” and compared it to the civil rights movement, no one in the crowd blinked.

School choice brings together blacks and whites, the rich and the poor, Catholics and Protestants and Jews and the unaffiliated, even Republicans and Democrats. That fact is one of the least remarked attributes of the cause.

Here’s another: Despite the urgency of improving education for Georgia’s children, and the radicalism of which they’re accused, school-choice supporters have been awfully willing to accept incrementalism.

Shaking up an old and ineffective system, an apt description for much of public education in Georgia, does require some radicalism. We need to do something radically different if we’re to achieve radical improvement.

Still, patience has been the practice.

First came vouchers for children with special needs. Those kids now can spend the state tax dollars allocated for their education at the school of their choice. (Note that this option includes other traditional public schools as well as charters and private schools.)

Now, Rogers proposes vouchers for Georgia’s 15,000 foster kids and tens of thousands of children in military families.

Combine this incremental approach to vouchers with the tendency of charter schools to spring up in areas where students can’t afford other options, and it’s clear that school-choice supporters are keeping their word about first serving those with the greatest needs.

It’s a good-faith effort to earn the public’s trust little by little. Compare that to the “comprehensive” overhaul of health care and restriction of carbon emissions — whether you like them or not — favored by the left.

Amid the patience, however, Thompson reminds us that thousands of kids’ futures are at stake.

“I understand the rationale for incremental progress,” he told me after the rally. “But my daughter will only be in the fifth grade one time. So I don’t have the time or the patience for gradually fixing the [Atlanta] middle school system.”

All the more reason for school-choice advocates to take heart from their achievements so far, but also to view them as motivation to keep going.

147 comments Add your comment

LA

February 19th, 2010
6:12 pm

“The minorities present were not token representatives. ”

Uh oh Kyle, dewstarpath is gonna come up in here and call you a racist!

Ivy

February 19th, 2010
10:11 pm

I was very hopeful when HR 251 – public school choice – was passed by the Georgia legislature and signed by Governor Perdue. Unfortunately, I do not think the county school systems acted in good faith in enacting the spirit of the legislation.

One tired American teacher

February 19th, 2010
10:18 pm

This is where you and I part major company. I have no issue with competition when it comes to education when and ONLY when private education advocates take all the situations that public education has to take and make “silk purses” with. Performing miracles while still bearing all the scapegoating this byword of a governor and his Gold Dome snake charmers throw at us, we public school educators have done a pretty darn job. Come and see what happens in my classroom any day-my students (most of them) make it happen on a daily basis.

Michael H. Smith

February 19th, 2010
10:37 pm

End the government education monopoly now. Let the money follow the student!

Michael H. Smith

February 19th, 2010
10:43 pm

“The minorities present were not token representatives. ”

Uh oh Kyle, dewstarpath is gonna come up in here and call you a racist!

Yeah, for what?

If every student receives the same amount of dollars to buy the education of their choice it will only make things better: Money means mobility regardless of geography, geography without money means you are stuck with what sucks!

Morrus

February 20th, 2010
7:34 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

I've seen both sides

February 20th, 2010
8:13 am

My three children spent an aggregate 25 years in APS and 11 years in private schools. The differences in the quality of education, focus of the teachers and administration, expectations of both students and staff and handling of discipline could not have been more stark. And my children went to the best schools in APS. And the divergence of the academic and social outcomes with my own children bear clear witness to that.

To the teacher who is tired, I would say even more wholeheartedly that competition would improve your lot as well. When the primary focus of the school administration is delivering an effective, targeted education to paying customers, the teachers will receive the support they need to execute that mission. Do you really believe that is the case now in your school?

Mr. Chips

February 20th, 2010
8:19 am

Typo on the front web page:
Kyle Wingfield: School chioce is making strides
Especially sweet on an education article!

random observer

February 20th, 2010
8:47 am

If each and every student could afford to choose the “best” schools, it would NOT change the fact that some will succeed and some will fail. The only difference will be that private schools would garner bigger profits for it. I’m so tired of the old arguments. The reality is that public schools are not for profit; private schools are for profit. The public school boards of education members don’t receive monetary dividends based upon the success of public school students as compared to private school boards. As more students “choose” private schools, the public schools are left, primarily, with the students who cannot afford the private schools and even though a smaller teacher to student ratio in the public schools would help, it would not change the fact that less money would go to the public schools, who cannot make a profit on their outcome while more money, taxpayer money, would go to the private schools who would profit. And, by the way, the parents of these students do not get to share in the monetary profits; they just get the “satisfaction” of knowing their child made better grades! My hat’s off to you who keep perpetuating this scheme which, ultimately, makes more money for your private schools which is, of course, your ulterior motive as far as I’m concerned! For if you truly wanted students to succeed in public schools, you wouldn’t complain so much about your “taxes” and you’d do more to support a system whose primary objective is to educate students, NOT make a profit!

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
9:28 am

Hooey! I’m tired sending my money to schools. I’m not paying taxes to educate a school. Another thing, after reading the crap and hearing it as well from some of these teachers and the gub’ment employees and their rotten UNIONS I don’t give a rip about supporting that so-called non-profit garbage any longer.

I’ll feel better about what is done with my tax dollars when our kids can compete against the kids in European schools where the money goes to the student and at least break even on test scoring competitively, even happier when their scores rank at the top.

I’m on team U.S.A. and I make no apologies for America or Americans winning at anything. That especially includes making a PROFIT!

random observer

February 20th, 2010
9:50 am

And, Michael, how were YOU educated?

You seemed to have missed the point, but I’m not surprised considering your views about unions and, as you say, “gub’ment”! You can pay ALL your money to private schools and it will NOT change the FACT that some students will do better than others. No doubt, you feel that “throwing money at a problem” doesn’t help! I’ve heard that, as you say, “crap”, all my life too and when people say it, they are referring to those “gub’ment” programs, YET you think that throwing money into private schools is going to make it better! It might, but it will NOT make every student succeed and I’m willing to bet that you don’t support money back guarantees because that would lessen the private schools’ almighty PROFIT!

dewstarpath

February 20th, 2010
10:09 am

LA – Listen up, loser.

Don’t try to use my handle to start drama.

Your stupid rants are your responsibilty. I called YOU a racist
because that’s what you are, based on your posts.

dewstarpath

February 20th, 2010
10:18 am

Michael H. Smith – 9:28 Feb. 20

You have a point. The disparity between school districts is
unjustifiable, with a lot of the proceeds from state-run
Lotto programs. Competition from overseas demands
a better solution.

Kyle – Great quote from Frederick Douglass.

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
10:21 am

random, I had no choice of how I was educated. If I would of had the luxury of a choice outside of the GUB’MENT education monopoly would have taken it and would not have given a rip about who made a profit. Now that I’m much, much older and wiser I will fight till my dying day to give others the very choice I never had and if that just kills your GUB’MENT loving soul, destroys those beloved rotten UNIONS you admire and makes all those teat feeders at the public trough have to get out into the private sector to bust their butts just to eek out a pension-less guaranteed livelihood like so many of the rest of us in the non-entitled for PROFIT world, then all I can say is, oh goody.

YET you think that throwing money into private schools is going to make it better!

Darn right I do and I don’t have to think as you say. The empirical facts not the abstract opinions have shown that in Europe where the money goes to the student those kids score higher than when compared to our kids in the U.S. .

Gerald West

February 20th, 2010
10:25 am

Kyle, your enthusiasm over school choice is premature and overblown! As for the enthusiastic demonstrators, just remember that many Americans will demonstrate over anything that involves a protest about something and the promise of a shallow, ill-advised solution.

The notion of competing schools and parental choice is good, but some groundwork needs to be laid. Competition requires a level playing field. We need a core school curriculum that defines the basic education for children growing up in 21st Century America. And with it, we need a series of standard tests that can indicate the child’s progress through the curriculum. Then, both public and private schools would know what to teach, the public could decide which private schools are worthy of tax assistance, and parents could make a rational school choice.

If you take tax money away from public schools to fund private schools, the primary result will be to reimburse the parents who already pay private school tuition. The public schools will lose funding without a commensurate reduction of student enrollment.

What’s more, tax money would be used to support a lot of religious schools that teach mumbo-jumbo about miracles and creationism rather than appropriate life skills, awareness, and knowledge.

America doesn’t need worse public schools and another dumbed-down generation!

To Michael

February 20th, 2010
10:38 am

There are no teacher unions in Georgia. There are “professional organizations” who can lobby, but there is no collective bargaining. If you’re working at a job without a pension and that bothers you, then find a new job.

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
10:57 am

Don’t have that pension problem and that little tidbit of news about those poor teachers not having a UNIONS just lousy little old “professional organizations” without the rights of collective extortion really is heartbreaking – NOT!

To Nameless: If you don’t like this right to work state then find another state to live in. In case federalism escapes your knowledge that is the reason we have states in this country and states rights, so if you don’t like the way things are done in one state you have the choice to live in one that makes you happy or happier.

I-20 west, all lanes open, no delays reported – Outbound!

Algonquin J. Calhoun

February 20th, 2010
11:05 am

Separate but Equal is the very next thing! The Republinazis will be really psyched about that!

Algonquin J. Calhoun

February 20th, 2010
11:08 am

Michael H. Smith, the school you attended is of no import. You could not have learned at any of them. in order to learn one must possess an intellect and you are without even a modicum of intelligence!

dewstarpath

February 20th, 2010
11:28 am

AJC – Welcome back! It’s been a while.

@@

February 20th, 2010
11:34 am

I’ll take those incrementals, Kyle. As long as women have the choice to terminate their unborn, those who choose to bring them into this world should have the choice of where they’re educated.

Simple as that.

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
11:56 am

Brucie Calhoun Wilcox, killing the messenger doesn’t defeat the message, it only reveals you are a defeated adversary.

A couple of things Brucie Calhoun, take notes here, you really need them: Money, like education, is a great equalizer in this country. Having the power of one of these two is a pretty good thing. Having the power of both is pretty darn close to an unbeatable superiority.

Give the students the money not the public schools and they will have the power of both to determine their own destinies.

historydawg

February 20th, 2010
11:58 am

M H Smith, are you will to take the autocracy, monarchy, and aristocracy which still governs the European models. The innovative schools in Europe are simply replicating the system which you so ahistorically are denouncing. The purpose of education in democracy is to preserve the Republic and the opportunities for all students, not simply a select few. End racial, class, and religious segregation. E pluribus unam.

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
12:24 pm

historydawg

Very humorous comment however inaccurate and fatally flawed. Education does not have to be a public education under a government run monopoly in order to serve the purpose of preserving this Republic which is not a Democracy. When every student has equally the same education dollars to buy the education of their choice all students are made equal regardless of geography, ethnicity or religious preference; which is very much in keeping with E pluribus unum and the truths we hold self-evident in our individual unalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Jacque

February 20th, 2010
12:28 pm

If an educational institution receives public funds (obtained through taxation), then let them be required to be bound by all the rules and regulations that bind any other publicly supported schools. If the group under the gold dome feels that any institution should be excused from these rules and regulations, let them simply remove the offending rule or regulation. Thereby excusing all from that or these offending rule or regulation. What is difficult about that? Is equal application of the law now an alien concept?

To Michael

February 20th, 2010
12:35 pm

“Don’t have that pension problem…”

Glad to hear it – then why did you mention it? It seems like all these folks who want to talk about lack of pensions have them themselves. What’s the deal with that?

“…and that little tidbit of news about those poor teachers not having a UNIONS just lousy little old “professional organizations” without the rights of collective extortion really is heartbreaking – NOT!” ”

I wasn’t telling you to break your heart darlin’ – I was tryin’ to inform your poor ol’ ignorant self so people in the know don’t immediately discount your opinion as uniformed trash…but I’m guessin’ you don’t need lil’ ol’ me to save your old conservative behind.

“To Nameless: If you don’t like this right to work state then find another state to live in.”

I actually have no problem with the concept of “right to work” – I pay no union dues for my job and I’m glad about that. However, “right to work” has nothing to do with lack of teacher unions in Georgia (a common misconception). I have heard it is illegal for state workers (which teachers, despite being hired by local systems are technically considered) to collectively bargain and/or strike. However I have also heard that there is no law on the books SPECIFICALLY against that in this fine state (although other states do have a law on the books).

“In case federalism escapes your knowledge that is the reason we have states in this country and states rights, so if you don’t like the way things are done in one state you have the choice to live in one that makes you happy or happier.”

Your point? I said nothing about being unhappy – I was only trying to point out the error of your statement. Bash away, but do so in an informed manner, and people might actually pay attention. And I understand the concept of federalism. Duh.

“I-20 west, all lanes open, no delays reported – Outbound!”

And you’re leaving when? Let me know so I can throw a “Don’t let the door hitcha’ where the good Lord splitcha’ party.”

Tchau, y’all (and before someone bashed the spelling of tchau, look up Portuguese goodbyes).

historydawg

February 20th, 2010
12:56 pm

MH Smith, your ignorance is underwhelming. Have you read a history book? Do you know the origins of public schools in the United States, which is a democratic republic or republican democracy, whichever you choose. Do you really think that our nation is not a democracy? I know that Boortz is big on advocating this bad history, but democracy does not mean direct democracy. Denying that the US is a democracy is moronic at best. Our founding fathers, namely Jefferson, disagreed with you wholeheartedly about education. Many worked tirelessly to create free, public education for all students, not simply for the elites, as it was in Europe. Most state legislatures in the 1780s and 1790s followed Jefferson’s lead. I am sure that you understand that the nature of our democracy changed since then (as all white men, then women, (then finally) African Americans earned the right to vote). For the next two hundred years, most Americans agreed that schooling for all was something worth funding and their neighbors were actually worth it (paying taxes for education). This is democracy for sure. I could give you names, but it is clear you are not interested in evidence, simply your own self-interest.

Tom

February 20th, 2010
2:15 pm

C’mon, historydawg, don’t go confusing proud conservative like Smith with nasty facts.

jimmy62

February 20th, 2010
2:22 pm

historydog- Your analysis has a major flaw. By any reasonable measure, the system isn’t working anymore, and sticking to the same thing isn’t going to magically put our kids on par with kids in other industrialized countries. Nor is throwing more money at the situation, as has been proven in school districts across America.

It’s interesting how the left will fight to change a health care system that most Americans are happy with, but be stubborn and against change when it comes to an education system that isn’t working, and traps poor kids and minorities in bad schools with no hope.

historydawg

February 20th, 2010
2:54 pm

I am not arguing that the system is working well. We can reform the system within the principles that make the US unique and special–opportunity for all to achieve and learn to live together in a single community. Vouchers and “school choice” will simply eliminate accountability and enable some to opt out of community. Other industrialized nations are simply educating a select few; that is what makes the US unique–that we welcome all. Two years ago US News reported on one thing that Americans could learn from other nations. For education, the editors selected Finland which was successfully implementing the system which we have used for 200 years. It is crazy how blind people can become when, since the Cold War, schools have been failing. We have to put money in the right places, places that would benefit all students and all communities. Public monies toward segregation schools, of the race, class, and religious varieties, with no accountability is not the answer and certainly not American.

historydawg

February 20th, 2010
3:02 pm

The trend of blaming public schools for society’s failures began with Sputnik. Rather than blaming the industrial and military complex, Eisenhower targeted the public schools. This refrain has increased in ferocity since that time (e.g. Nation at Risk in 1983 and NCLB in 2000s). It seems that our schools simply reflect who we are as a people–the work ethic, the values, etc. that we share. When we denounce public schools, we are ultimately critiquing our society at large.

Barry

February 20th, 2010
3:58 pm

Sadly, Mr. Wingfield has chosen to join the ranks of the hopelessly deluded who consider school “vouchers” to be a conservative triumph.

They aren’t. Precisely the opposite, in fact.

Unless voucher proponents advocate the complete dismantling of the public school system – which few of them have the guts to suggest – they are they setting an exceptionally liberal course in which they call for the creation of a second, parallel public school system alongside the current public school system. Over time, this will lead to the creation of a second set of bureaucracies that will siphon even more money from the classroom, further deteriorating the state’s public school system and increasing demands for more cash infusions.

By then, of course, Wingfield and the other such poor, deluded saps will have moved on to some other loopy cause – like, say, advocating vouchers for private security guards for people who dislike their local sheriff’s office.

truth

February 20th, 2010
4:57 pm

Private schools work because they kick out all the students who can’t behave. Those kids ruin public schools. It takes a long time before public schools get rid of them. So when they kids get kicked out of private school, which will happen, then they go back to public schools and further bankrupt the system. I say this because the private schools will not refund the “money” that follows the student.

LA

February 20th, 2010
5:26 pm

“Separate but Equal is the very next thing! The Republinazis will be really psyched about that!”

LOLOL!!!!!!! Talk about pot calling the kettle black!

Maybe the Democommies can go back to the days of Robert Byrd and the KKK.

Ya know, the Democrat Party has had more klan members than the GOP. The democrat party has an active member of the KKK sitting in the Senate right now.

HELLO ROBERT BYRD!!!!!!!!!!!!

LA

February 20th, 2010
5:41 pm

“School chioce is making strides’

Good grief, is it REALLY that hard to spell check? That is the title on the home page of the AJC beside Kyle’s name.

Looks like dewpstartrash did the proof reading! LOL

LA

February 20th, 2010
5:42 pm

“If every student receives the same amount of dollars to buy the education of their choice it will only make things better: Money means mobility regardless of geography, geography without money means you are stuck with what sucks!”

Tell that to Obama who killed the voucher program in DC.

Liberalism = do as I say not as I do.

Yes we can..no wait…..why are democrats leaving???? LOL

LA

February 20th, 2010
5:44 pm

“You can pay ALL your money to private schools and it will NOT change the FACT that some students will do better than others.”

You’re right! It comes down to parenting and discipline. But the fact that parents who pay for their kids to be taught in private schools means that those parents have a more active role in standards for their child’s education.

myron

February 20th, 2010
9:49 pm

Private schools can select the caliber of student and public schools cannot. It is not about the money following the student or even about choice. The conversation remains–as it always has–what is the education environment we want for our children and how do we get there? Many public schools have a great history of producing students who become active, productive citizens in our country. Until parents, teachers, and children have ownership for education, it will not matter where the children go to school.

Michael H. Smith

February 20th, 2010
10:20 pm

Until parents, teachers, and children have ownership for education,

That means the money will have to follow the student, so it certainly is all about education money being controlled by the student and their parent or guardian not some forced or restricted choice to a GUB’MENT monopoly school system.

What happened to my previous post Kyle?

The Tar and Feathers Party

February 21st, 2010
8:24 am

If school choice means my tax dollars go to fund someone else’s private school education, then I oppose it. If school choice means more kids leave the bloated over priced and under performing public schools that I am forced to fund, the I am all for private education, but on the private schoolers parent’s dime, not mine.

The Tar and Feathers Party

February 21st, 2010
8:27 am

End the government education monopoly now – Let the taxpayer keep his money.

Anonymous Jones

February 21st, 2010
9:05 am

Choice would be good if public schools could choose to send that 20% who make public schools appear to less effective on standadized tests to a private or charter school with their vouchers. This strategy would be cheaper for all concerned in the long run, and make our public schools truly superior. Give Choice to the public schools about who they would like to keep and who should gladly go with their vouchers and Georgia will move way up the education ladder.

Houckster

February 21st, 2010
9:49 am

After reading through the posts here I can only conclude that the vast majority of people here have not given the logical conclusions of a voucher system any kind of thorough thought. They are caught up in the ultra conservative mood where logic has simply disappeared. In effect, they are more of a problem than the schools themselves.

I can understand the superficial value of the voucher system. Force schools to operate more efficiently and they will turn out better students. It has as much reality as the good tooth fairy.

The voucher system ignores the realities of race and income disparity that will always be a part of our society. It also ignores the realities of the capitalist system.

Students with better means (those with vouchers and enhancing funds from parents) will go to better schools, public or private. Schools will compete for students at the high end and one of the ways they will attract high end students is to price themselves beyond the means of less well-endowed (financially and socially) students.

And what of the deserving student who is poor and has only the voucher the state provides? How does that student reach a good school? The answer is that he/she probably won’t unless that student has access to additional funds a voucher system would make available to students with a good academic record.

Lacking this accommodation, the voucher system means that some students who are equally diserving will probably never get the chance to reach their potential and will have a good chance of winding up in a low-end school that has a lot of students not interested in education and who will spend their funds at schools where they can follow their own priorities including closeness to friends, gangs and drug distribution. In effect the voucher system will subsidize these activities and be a complete waste of taxpayer money. This loss will be followed by further loss in revenue as these “students” will run afoul of the law at high rates while never providing any benefit to society.

The voucher system is a round peg in a square hole.

If the voucher system really won’t work – and it won’t – then what’s the real solution? The solution is that we have to put more money in the education system however much it hurts and we have to make sure that money doesn’t get absorbed in more and more overhead. Teachers have to be empowered. The school system is going to have to make even more of an intervention in the life of its students. It will have to be more flexible to accommodate the needs of individual students, especially those coming from challenging social and economic circumstances. The overall cost to society will be less than that of the voucher system.

The current system isn’t without problems but it is head and shoulders better than the education a voucher system would create. It’s not that we have a bad system, we just don’t fund it enough and we don’t manage it as well as we have to.

I was going to add that parents need to be even more involved in the support of the schools through communication with teachers and working together to right wayward students. Unfortunately, I’m not sure after reading these posts that is realistic.

This is a link to a discussion of the voucher system that seems to offer a fairly well-rounded view of the voucher system and what results it has produced: http://www.schoolchoices.org/roo/vouchers.htm

jimmy62

February 21st, 2010
10:09 am

Houckster- We have thrown more and more money at education, and it doesn’t work. Some of the best school districts in the country spend the least per student.

You said it yourself, what about the poor kid trapped in a bad school who can’t go to a good school even with vouchers? Well what about that kid now? Either way, he’s screwed. Does the fact that some kids are dealt a bad hand in life by being born to parents who either don’t give a crap or weren’t successful enough to live in a good area mean that ALL kids should be trapped in bad schools?

Here is what I know. There are kids living in areas with bad schools and their parents can’t afford to send them anywhere else. But with vouchers, these kids could go somewhere else. And you won’t let them, you seem to want these poor kids trapped in poverty no matter what. And the teacher’s unions do their best to support the status quo as well. There must be no change! Poor kids must remain poor! Choice is bad!

Michael H. Smith

February 21st, 2010
10:15 am

Here’s a question for these “not on my dimers”: Do you think that the parent that pays tax just like you is sending their child to a private school is doing so on your dime? If that be the case do these parents not have exactly the same valid argument as you, “not on my dime people”, to make against you and one of your children or grandchildren going to a public school to which they hold objections?

Any tax paying parent or grandparent has every right under the sun to exactly the same amount of education dollars for the purpose of educating their child or grandchild as do you or I, whatever our choice of school, whether it is public, charter or a private school that we individually believe can deliver the best possible education.

I personally object very strongly to my tax money by the force of law being monopolized by the GUB’MENT public school system. I pay property taxes to educate children willingly. I also pay property taxes to the GUB’MENT public school monopoly against my free-will, which by the force of law has total control of every dime that I meant to go to educating children not for the purpose of keeping the GUB’MENT public school monopoly power entrenched and its’ GUB’MENT employees in a job for all time.

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

- Thomas Jefferson

Houckster

February 21st, 2010
10:32 am

JIMMY62: You can throw a lot of money at a system, voucher or not and still get a bad result. You have to run the program well, whatever it is. That said, the system we have now does a reasonably good job. We’re not building machines here, we trying to create students. And the solution to a good student is different for each student. There is no efficient way.

If your’re going to change a system you better have a system with a proven track record. The voucher system doesn’t have that. Read the link I provided and you will see the voucher system does not guarantee quality.

More money, wisely spent in our current system will yield additional returns and redress problems.

You write: You said it yourself, what about the poor kid trapped in a bad school who can’t go to a good school even with vouchers? Well what about that kid now? Either way, he’s screwed.

No. The present system has the ability to bring quality schools to where the students are. If you adopt the voucher system, the good schools will often be too far away. Good schools will be chiefly in the affluent areas. It is NOT a case where either way the student is screwed. The present system makes a potentially good school within the reach of everyone. The voucher system creates personal mobility as a criteria for having a good school.

How you can conclude that I want “these poor kids trapped in poverty” escapes me. Getting out of poverty involves a good education but a good education has to be reachable from a physical standpoint. How is a student who can pull down good grades in a good school going to get that opportunity if they can’t get to the school in the first place? Distance alone can make a good education impossible. I work downtown so I use MARTA. I could drive to my job in a little over 30 minutes. MARTA on the other hand will take between an 75-90 minutes. Care to guess how long a child whose parents both work will have to travel to reach a school in North Atlanta from southwest Atlanta?

As I pointed out before, vouchers look good on the surface but the reality isn’t so promising.

The Tar and Feathers Party

February 21st, 2010
10:37 am

How does paying teachers more make the schools better? The complaint is that 20% of students are stupid, so paying the teachers more will not make these students smart. I think the students need to be divided according to ability and achievement. In the early grades, those who cannot read must be in classes that teach them to read, priority number one to improve school performance. The same with arithmetic, divided by ability in early grades. There is nothing worse than sitting in a class room completely lost while the teacher drones on, no wonder kids are disruptive. You can give special incentives to teachers who bring the non readers and non computers up to speed, they are doing something special. But take the money from the pay of other teachers who have failed with these kids already.

Michael H. Smith

February 21st, 2010
10:39 am

Thank you jimmy62, for speaking the truth. There will always be some mental cripple that illogically relies on the social crutch of a so-called race to argue against empirical reality.

If anything vouchers will provide a means to crush the remaining forces in place today that keep poor kids in poverty regardless of their ancestry or human ethnicity . Notice this line in Kyle’s article: “no one in the crowd blinked.”

I agree completely with and fully support Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers described school choice as “the moral calling of our time” and it is the civil rights movement of this Joshua generation.

Houckster

February 21st, 2010
10:49 am

MICHAEL H. SMITH: I find it rather reassuring that I am a “mental cripple” in your eyes.

Houckster

February 21st, 2010
10:53 am

TAR AND FEATHERS PARTY writes: How does paying teachers more make the schools better? The complaint is that 20% of students are stupid, so paying the teachers more will not make these students smart.
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I didn’t propose paying the teachers more although if that attracts a higher caliber of teacher, that is a step in the right direction.

TAR AND FEATHERS PARTY writes: I think the students need to be divided according to ability and achievement. In the early grades, those who cannot read must be in classes that teach them to read, priority number one to improve school performance. The same with arithmetic, divided by ability in early grades. There is nothing worse than sitting in a class room completely lost while the teacher drones on, no wonder kids are disruptive. You can give special incentives to teachers who bring the non readers and non computers up to speed, they are doing something special. But take the money from the pay of other teachers who have failed with these kids already.
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You don’t need the voucher system for this. The present system is just fine. Remedial classes in schools have been a reality for years. So are things like math clubs.