Thursday, November 1, 2007

Vouchers - the real agenda

There have been a lot of theories about why conservatives support private school vouchers, and especially our Utah private school voucher program which would create one of the largest state entitlement, state taxpayer funded programs in the country.

I came across this tonight. From someone who is not from Utah but watching with interest. Hits the nail right on the head.

Copied from trakker with the link here:

"George Will writes about one of today's conservative's biggest issues, educational vouchers and open school choice. These would supposedly give parents, especially low income parents, funds to allow them to enroll their kids in private schools which conservatives assure us are much superior to public schools (because by their definition the private sector always does things better and more efficiently than the government).

"While I believe there are some lower income students who would benefit from such a system, I'm convinced that in the long run all it would do is put an end to public schools, and cut teacher's salaries all over the country in half (need any more reasons to explain why teacher's unions are fighting vouchers?). It would result in just as many bad private schools as there are bad public schools, but because the schools would now be a private sector activity, it would be much harder to solve the problem without massively regulating education, which the conservatives would fight tooth and nail.

"Also, little alarm bells go off in my mind whenever conservatives talk about doing something good for low income children and for improving racial balance, because let's face it, when have you ever heard conservatives really give a damn about the poor and racial minorities? These are not constituencies that conservatives lay awake at night worrying about. They have spent decades trying to convince voters that the poor are poor because they are either lazy or refuse to take responsibility for their actions. And the only time conservatives think about racial equality is when they want to scare white bigots into voting Republican (and let me insert here what a hoot is was to read about racial diversity when writing about a program in Utah, one of the nation's whitest states!).

"Why then are conservatives so intent on school vouchers and school choice? Well, their real objective here is to bust the national teacher's unions and abolish public schools. Conservatives hate the teacher's unions for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that the unions have been able to negotiate for decent wages for teachers in general...The idea of a guaranteed decent wage and job security is anathema to their view of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.

"Conservatives hate public schools because public schools are subject to public regulation and laws. In theory public schools are supposed to be secular and fact based. While they don't always do this well, abolishing them and replacing them with a hodgepodge of private schools - many of them religious in nature - all competing for the voucher money, and subject to no regulation other then what consumers exert over the marketplace, would result in disaster..."

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