But there is another issue gaining steam that will once again take money from public schools, and that issue is called vouchers. The public knows little about them as the concept has many different meanings depending on who you ask. Here is my understanding of vouchers based on what I have read and seen in other states.
Vouchers give parents choice in where to send their child to school.
- Currently without vouchers, parents already have a choice in where to send their children to school.
- Schools that fail to meet state accountability requirements must offer parents the option (at the district's expense) to send their child to another public school within the district. This is in place for districts with multiple enrollment schools.
- Most public school districts accept students who wish to transfer in from another school.
- For parents who wish to have their children educated through private schools or homeschool, that choice currently exists also.
- School choice already exists, and furthermore, this current form of choice doesn't take money from public schools!
Vouchers take Money from Public Education
- A voucher essentially takes money from a public school and gives it to the parent to use at the private institution of their choice.
- Parents could send their child to private school or homeschool and the state would pay the parents for it.
- The state will subsidize vouchers by taking the money from the public school system. There's no other way to pay for it. (BTW - Did I mention that schools currently are not adequately funded?)
- With a voucher system in place, public schools are left with less money to educate ALL kids.
Forget the Dollars & Let's Talk Sense.Let's forget the topic of money and just look at the issue of vouchers preparing all kids for the future. After all, the entire argument for vouchers is that it is a better way to educate all kids.
- What research supports vouchers as being a more effective way to educate ALL children?
- Will non-public school entities (private, home-school, etc.) that accept students with vouchers be required to be evaluated under the same TEA accountability standards as its public school counterparts do?
- Will non-public school entities that accept students with vouchers be held to the same End-Of-Course requirements for high school students as its public school counterparts?
- Will non-public school entitites that accept students with vouchers be required to have 100% percent of their staff meet highly qualified certification requirements as its public school counterparts?
- Will non-public school entitites that accept vouchers be required to be accredited as its public school counterparts do?
- Will non-public school entities that accept students with vouchers be required to administer all state tests as its public school counterparts do? (STAAR, STAAR-A, SOA, STAAR-Spanish, STAAR-Alt 2, TELPAS, TPRI, etc.).
- Will non-public school entities that accept students with vouchers be required to accept every student that shows up on their door step as its public school counterparts do and meet their individualized needs? (Special Education, 504, G/T, ESL, RtI, etc.)
- Will non-public school entities that accept students with vouchers be required to track every student and submit evidence (like public schools are required to do) to ensure that no child drops out of school?
- Will non-public school entities that accept students with vouchers be required to offer rigorous college AND career pathways (see House Bill 5) that help push every child to graduate under the Texas Recommended High School, Distinguished Achievement Program or the new Foundation High School Program as its public school counterparts do?
Some legislators tout that public schools are failing and private schools are not. That is not a fair statement because public schools exist in a punitive system of accountability while private schools make their own rules. Additionally, private schools pick and choose their students, while public school accept and educate ALL KIDS! There's just no comparison.
Vouchers aren't for ALL KidsThe last issue I have surrounds all kids. Have our legislators realized that taking money from public schools hurts kids? A voucher system is nothing short of taking money from public schools and giving it to private entities that currently do not have the same requirements or more importantly evidence of effectiveness.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not against private schools. I am against the state legislature taking money collected for the purpose of educating the public and giving it private schools.