Skip to comments.Obama and the AFT (Obama flip-flops on school vouchers)
Posted on 07/14/2008 4:02:14 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
Senator Obama apparently felt free enough from obligations to the American Federation of Teachers, which is meeting in his home city of Chicago, that he skipped their convention and appeared by video. The AFT had endorsed Mr. Obama's opponent, Senator Clinton, in the Democratic primary. Too bad Mr. Obama doesn't feel free enough to deviate from the union's policy agenda.
That he is captive to it was made clear by his prepared remarks. "What I do oppose is using public money for private school vouchers. We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them," Mr. Obama said. During the primary campaign, in Wisconsin, Mr. Obama had suggested he would be open to vouchers if empirical research showed that they improved educational outcomes. His new stance the latest in what seems like a never-ending series of flip-flops seems to foreclose any support of vouchers, ever, no matter what the research shows.
(Excerpt) Read more at nysun.com ...
NEA = good
competition = bad
Charter schools -yes, vouchers- no way. The government whos currently in charge of funding public schools now handing out free money to whoever or whatever constitutes a school.
A simple example of why I think a voucher system fails. A voucher school sets the rates of what it will cost a student to attend. If the government gives out lets say $300.00 vouchers and the local parents dont want the riff raff to attend their school theyll just jack up the cost of attending to lets say $500.00. My 2 cents.
For everyone else, vouchers would provide choice — choice leads to competition, competition would improve the services for everyone.
Vouchers wouldn't be set at a flat rate. Special needs students would receive different vouchers — upon testing (the same type of testing that's already being done to screen them into special schools, or special classrooms, or to qualify for learning assistants, etc.)
“The wealthy can already pay whatever tuition it takes to send their progeny to schools that keep out the riff raff. The vouchers wouldn’t make a lot of difference for them.”
I’m not talking about private schools that the wealthy already favor. I’m talking about schools in nice neighborhoods that aren’t run down, that have kids in the higher percentile for state testing etc.
“For everyone else, vouchers would provide choice choice leads to competition, competition would improve the services for everyone.”
Charter schools already provide choices and competition and they don’t cost the taxpayers anything extra. Vouchers as much as the government says will not increase our taxes; well you can trust them I’m not.
“Vouchers wouldn’t be set at a flat rate. Special needs students would receive different vouchers upon testing (the same type of testing that’s already being done to screen them into special schools, or special classrooms, or to qualify for learning assistants, etc.)”
Why would vouchers prices be different for each student? Thats a lawsuit just waiting to happen. There would be a set price that would increase as the school sees fit to keep the test scores up.
Vouchers are based on the same principle as rewarding teachers for the students receiving passing grades. That worked out really great in the Los Angeles area. They popped a bunch of teachers for fudging grades for profit.
I can answer this question. We'll have to just agree to disagree on the other points.
There would have to be different vouchers for different students; or there would be lawsuits. Public school systems are required to provide special services for students with “special needs”. Depending on the student, these services include: separate schools, separate classrooms within regular schools, mainstreaming with learning assistants in a regular classroom, mainstreaming without learning assistants, etc. All of these services cost money — the costs are buried in overall school board budgets & are averaged out. For the more expensive services (special school, learning assistant, etc.) the student is screened by an educational psychologist.
A voucher for an “average” student — just receiving the blue-plate special — would cost governments less than the reported cost per pupil of public schools. Vouchers for special needs students would have to be worth more.
Schools that wanted to keep the “riff raff” (your words) out would just receive the average value vouchers. Other schools would want to attract special needs students, because the vouchers would be worth more.
The only alternative would be heavy-handed direct regulation — i.e. requiring schools to accept any and all comers, without discrimination. Such a system would be much more top-heavy, and much less effective than simply using market forces and vouchers with different values attached.