Voucher Accountability: The Best Auditor (Referendum 1)

The anti-voucher side is well funded by the NEA (National Education Association), and has blown some of the money on ads trying to tell people that private schools are not accountable. Implicit in the ads, however, is that the NEA and anti-voucher groups do not believe that parents have the sense to place their children in the most appropriate school. They indicate that parents are incapable of making the right decision for their child.

Obviously, I find the ads entirely absurd.

If parents decide to send their child to private school, the voucher won’t cover the full cost and parents will be chipping in a portion of tuition. I don’t believe that parents will just blow the money on a school that is failing, especially when the same parents were already involved enough to determine that another public or private school was not meeting their child’s educational needs. These parents will, without a doubt, expect a return on investment.

Further, if the private school fails to satisfy the parents, what will happen? Tough accountability – the money and child shift to another school (public or private). The school will know they failed when they see the “pay cut” and poor performing private schools will, ultimately, go belly up.

Additionally, most private schools participate in accreditation programs as well as auditing procedures. Again, parents are not going to blindly and stupidly shove their kids in any old school to use a voucher, especially when they are still going to have to sacrifice and pony-up some money themselves. Parents, in my estimation, are the best accreditor and auditor of their child’s eduction. The first hand view of their child’s educational progress/results trumps any auditor’s matrix or spreadsheet.

Long story short – I place my trust in parents knowing what is best for their individual children, not me, nor government entities or professional organizations based in Salt Lake City or Washington DC.

Additional reading: David Miller also has an insightful post regarding his position on vouchers (it is also a trackback on one of my posts dealing with vouchers).

11/2 Update – See also: Consolidated Voucher Post (Referendum 1)

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6 thoughts on “Voucher Accountability: The Best Auditor (Referendum 1)

  1. If parents care about their kids’ education it doesn’t matter what type of school the kids are in they generally succeed. Why do we need to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars over the next few years financing private school tuition when kids are just as likely to be successful in existing public schools if their parents are a part of their education?

    I say if someone wants to their kids in private school they should have to do it on their own dime…not mine. Taxpayers are already paying enough for public schools. We shouldn’t get stuck with paying the tuition bills for kids in private schools too.

  2. I agree that most involved parents and children will work within the current system to address their children’s needs. I also don’t believe that will change after vouchers are passed. That is already evidenced by the fact that wealthy folks (“the rich”) who can already choose and afford private education do not. Their kids are in public schools. If/when vouchers pass there will be no mass exodus – the vast majority of us will stick with the public schools and, first, work within them to address any issues we perceive.

    Let’s face it, typically, people immediately take the easiest path to an objective. Their child is already in public school and has a problem – I find it much easier (as will everyone else) to first work with the school to address the problem rather than jerking my child away from friends etc, searching through several schools to find one that is the “best fit” (assuming it will even accept a voucher), applying for the voucher, jumping through the administrative hoops (bureaucratic and private), then paying any additional uniform, tuition, material costs that will also be associated with the new school. I will also have to work out some transportation or figure on spending extra time and gas ($) to the school. I don’t think all that effort comes close to the “easiest path” (more like a pain in the …).

    If, on the other hand, after trying to work things out within the public system (see above for the motivation to do so), my child just isn’t progressing (be it discipline problems, disabilities, non-challenging environment…whatever), then vouchers are a very good relief valve to catch these “fall through the cracks” children of our current system. Assuming parents are willing to make the above sacrifices. Again, a child who would have, otherwise, become disinterested, dissolutioned, or drop out, etc. can be placed where the likelihood that they can excel and reach their full potential is significantly enhanced.

    Like I’ve stated before, vouchers are simply and enhancement and tool for the fulfillment of our current educational system and its goal of offering a quality education to the public’s (your) children regardless of individual ethnicity, personality, or challenges.

  3. Pingback: The Missing Voucher Column (Referendum 1) « Utah Rattler

  4. Pingback: Letters On Vouchers (Referendum 1) « Utah Rattler

  5. Pingback: Utah’s Referendum 1: 5 articles you don’t want to miss reading | Russell Page - on PR

  6. Pingback: Consolidated Voucher Post (Referendum 1) « Utah Rattler

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