The October 2nd Clipper had a decent (albeit brief) pro/con article on vouchers. My only ‘beef’ with the article is that the pro side didn’t focus as much attention as they should have on the intent of vouchers (which also is the strongest, and most convincing, argument for them, in my opinion). They did address it, but it was, unfortunately, one of the shortest paragraphs and the seventh point (rather than the first):
7. Referendum 1 provides a choice for students who struggle in their assigned school.
“Public schools are the best option for most students, but it’s just not realistic to expect one system to meet the needs of more than a half million diverse learners,” Bell said. “Not all children get what they need at their local school. Those kids still deserve the best education we can give them, and sometimes the best option will be a private school.”
I’ve blogged on the fact that all children have different educational needs. The majority fit well in our current system (although I feel the educational quality has dropped – that’s for another time, however) and do well therein. A minority, however, don’t fit well within our system – whether that be from a documented disability, different learning method, or social problems (they are bullied or choosing bad influences as friends…), etc etc. These are the kids we see fall through the cracks and often they and society miss out on their potential for a successful and highly productive future.
These are the children who end up being a portion of the statistics found here: Utah High School Dropout Rates are Up (the video provides more details). From their stats:
2006 High School Dropout Rates
Salt Lake City 31%
Another article worth a look is here: One-quarter of graduates fail Basic Skills Competency Test – Failing the UBSCT (Utah Basic Skills Competancy Test). The article also notes that the figure doesn’t include dropouts. UBSCT is not the Federal NCLB, but a Utah specific evaluation.
Vouchers will not be a silver bullet but will provide an additional tool for parents with struggling children who can’t find a solution to their child’s needs in the current system and an additional tool for our educational system to meet its goal of providing the best education possible to each, individual, child.
Anyway, I won’t get anymore detailed than that since I’ve blogged on this several other times (click here for all my posts on this issue). My previous posts include more details and links.
Finally, some other posts/articles I stumbled upon that are worth a look:
Voucher Vote – Overview article.
Most high schools in Utah make the U-PASS grade – A bunch (30%) still didn’t pass, and the pass rate is inflated. U-PASS is not NCLB, it is an evaluation system passed by Utah (us) and not the Feds.
Weighing in on the Utah Voucher Program – Detailed post I stumbled on (I’m referenced somewhere in the lengthy post).