Republican conservatives like to boast their "helping the poor" credentials by pointing to education vouchers.
But who does education vouchers help? Is taking funding from public schools the way to fix failing schools?
For all the back patting that conservatives are doing in supporting vouchers to help the poor it should be noted they attempt to reduce funding for programs like SNAP that help many more poor that are much worse off. How well do you propose a child can learn when they are sick and hungry?
Let's repeat the republican argument against welfare programs: "It creates a culture of dependence."
Why is offering subsidies to help with food and health "bad," but offering subsidies to pay for private schooling "good"?
Are vouchers simply a method to introduce Christianity into education using public funds? Even I admit that sounds very "conspiracy theory" until articles are highlighted where support for vouchers is questioned when vouchers are made available to students for muslim school's.
It should be further noted that this offer of assistance from conservatives does not extend past graduation. Republican conservatives do not typically support money programs for college schooling.
"But Charter schools cost us less and do better!"
Do they cost less? Are they better?
If we look at the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, vouchers covered up to $8K to $12K depending. Depending on the school, tuition fees can vary and how much is required to still be paid by the parent after a voucher can vary.
So, what does that tuition cover?
- Does it cover transportation to school?
- Does it include band, engineering, or theater?
- Does it include football, softball, soccer, cheerleading, or other sports programs?
- Does it include the facilities to host and play those programs?
- Does the charter school use existing facilities paid for by public school dollars?
If charter schools do not include any of the above, are they better?
"But they have better academics!"
Let me ask two questions:
- What type of parent sends their kids to charter/private schools?
- What type of student is in charter/private schools?
The more involved a parent is the more successful a student is and charter/private schools typically have more involved parents.
As well, charter and private schools can reject students. Only students interested in being at the school are there. Public schools must accept all students.
It should be noted that a study of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program provided "No conclusive evidence that the OSP affected student achievement overall..."
I support a good student education, but I support all students getting a good education. In my opinion, a voucher is not the way to do it.
It is also my opinion, the republican conservatives patting themselves on the back for helping the poor via vouchers while removing funds from public schools that will hurt remaining students and defunding welfare programs like SNAP that insure poor students get fed, are not really interested in helping the poor, but are instead interested in making sure private schools succeed.