I think a little description of the rabidrunner political orientation is in order. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. We all know I’m a registered Pervertarian but that has nothing to do with politics. If I had to choose (and the way things are looking, I might have to one day), I’d be a Libertarian. Why you ask? It’s simple. Don’t tell me what to do - AND - I don’t mind a little taxation here and there, but please let me keep as much of my hard earned money as possible.
To save you the agony of deciphering where I stand on this whole Voucher issue, I'll state it clearly: I want vouchers. I want a choice in my child’s education.
As it stands now, you pay income tax, you pay property tax, you pay sales tax. Then your child gets to go to the assigned school and your child gets to have the assigned teacher. It’s not a bad system, really, when it works out. Lucky for us it is currently working out. But if it doesn’t? What do you do? You pay income tax, you pay property tax, you pay sales tax and you pay for private school.
So here are some thoughts to munch on:
All income tax gathered in the state of Utah is used for education. This means 10-30% of all of the money earned legally in the state of Utah is used to educate our children publicly.
The voucher is based on the federal eligibility guideline. Which means if you qualify for free school lunch, you qualify for the full $3,000 voucher. For example, if you are a family of 4 (2 parents, 2 kids), your income must be under $38,203 to get $3,000 for each student you have in a private school. For every 25% increase in household income above the eligibility guideline, the voucher payment goes down $250. In the same family scenario mentioned above, suppose the household income is roughly $96,000 a year. That would give our 4 figured family a whopping $500 (per child in private school, a max of $1000 per year). Look at the voucher make the rich richer.
I know a few people in the 80 – 120k per year situation. Most of them are unable to cough up enough cash to send their kids to the private school of their choosing. I’m sure the $500 a year will send them in droves. Because private school is that cheap. If you’ve done the research, you will find that most private school tuition is roughly the same as our local colleges. Right Vera?
Another argument I’ve heard is that all of the “dumb” kids will end up in public school. That is already happening - only it’s among certain schools within the system. When you don’t like the school you’re assigned to, you move. If you get enough snooty people moving out of the slums, the slums will become slummier (or more slummy?) Anyway, my point is - we’re social classed beings and we’ll do all that crap the educators are so afraid of without the help of the vouchers. Just take a gander at Southern California. They buy their houses based on the schools in the area or they go to a private school. They don’t have vouchers (but they DID have a voucher war similar to ours a few years back).
There’s also the “don’t take any more money away from our teachers” argument. To this I answer, how many times have we given the school districts more money for teachers and of those many times, WHEN have teacher’s received a pay increase for it? (Maybe the Winder would care to comment on this one.) If each school district loses $100,000 (but is still receiving $700,000 for kids that aren’t even attending their schools), maybe they’ll be forced to manage their funds more sensibly. Just a thought. For example, don’t spend $600,000 on a new cafeteria at Orem High School when they’re going to tear the whole school down in two years and rebuild it (that’s a true story by the way).
I’m not anti education. I’m not anti public education. I just want a choice. And a slight lift in the financial burden might help.
Here are my sources (I'm too busy researching to make it fancy and marked up):
- http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/iegs.htm. (Federal Eligibility Guidelines)h
- http://www.livepublish.le.state.ut.us/lpBin22/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0 (Individual Income Tax Act)
- http://le.utah.gov/~2007/bills/hbillamd/hb0148.htm (H.B. 0148 - The Parent Choice in Education Act).
- Cousin Brad in California.