I’ve frequently referred to previous posts, keywords, or category links for more background on my voucher posts. I’ve noticed that, those methods aren’t the most efficient way of finding the information etc I’ve put up here. So for reader (and my) benefit, I’m putting this up as a means of having rapid access to my more recent posts as well as new information (at the bottom of this post).
Voucher Accountability: The Best Auditor (Referendum 1)
Parents Know Their Children Best (Vouchers)(Referendum 1)
Voucher True or False (Referendum 1) (update) *Based on the KSL “Truth Test” report including video of and links to the newscast (click here to go to the KSL report).
Letters On Vouchers (Referendum 1)
The Missing Voucher Column (Referendum 1)
Voucher Arguments (Referendum 1)
Vouchers and Entitlements
Carson Smith Scholarship
Education: Nanny State Knows Best?
Here’s the new information:
I found an insert in the newspaper from the pro-voucher folks. I am constantly irritated by the large print, three-bullet-point, information-poor pamphlets put out by candidates/groups. We all know them, the “I love families have never hurt a kitten”, “I will do great things for the community” write-ups which always leave you wondering if they hurt a puppy and what “things” they consider great. Admittedly, they work (but I still hate them). However, kudos go to the pro-voucher group for the four page, small/normal print insert which includes references. It is one of the best political pamphlets I’ve seen. Fortunately, you need not take the paper to view it. The brochure is available here (in pdf):
I also recommend their Facts page, which includes an overview of how the voucher program would work and a link to the voucher law text as it appears in Utah Code.
UPDATE (10/31): I love irony. Today I received a four page brochure (entitled “A Voting Guide for Referendum 1”) from the anti-voucher folks. It was exactly the opposite of the above. It had huge lettering and amounted to 5 vague, single line, ‘bullet point’ items. Three of the items were discussed in the KSL report (as being false) and four have been discussed here on various posts.
The brochure implies that private schools hire criminals as their teachers (a semi-new tactic). If that were true, private schools would be committing institutional suicide. All would be out of business from being sued into oblivion. So, I called five or six private schools (from well known to small) in Salt Lake and Davis Counties. All require criminal background checks prior to hiring teachers (one specifically noted they require it of all employees – I failed to ask the others about that, sorry).
While public schools do also run checks, let’s face it, they have had their problems. Here are the most recent (this week): Southern Utah Teacher Arrested For Sex With Student and Piute High School coach resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations (these are two, separate cases).
As I recall there have been a couple of teachers in Tooele, one in the Jordan (maybe Granite as well) District who’ve been arrested for fairly serious infractions (usually involving students, it seems) within the last year. Let’s face it, background checks aren’t a silver bullet and this stuff will happen however, they should think twice before making such disturbing implications.
Additionally, Citizens For Tax Fairness asked the Davis School Districts to require contractors to verify social security numbers of their employees (fugitives, illegal immigrants etc use fraudulent numbers to obtain work – for more information, see this or this or this). So far, no word has come back from the District (it’s still ‘looking into it’). To date, it appears ID thieves and fugitives can still become contractors for the District.
Lastly, one point I’ve mentioned in the past that has been dredged up again by the anti-voucher crowd is that private schools will discriminate against those with disabilities. Again, a little research and common sense sinks that too. Just look at the Carson Smith voucher (yes, Utah already has vouchers for special needs students) and the schools accepting it. This is just another scare tactic.
I will admit, however, I did find one school (there are probably some more) who do discriminate on disabilities. The “Carmen B. Pingree” school only accepts special needs students. The nerve!
They also play the religious discrimination card – I know LDS folks who send their child to a Catholic school. Just because it’s Catholic, doesn’t mean you must be as well. I’ve found the exact same thing living in Australia – plenty of religious schools (especially Protestant and Catholic) with Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Mormons…(name it) in attendance.
Whatever the case, this still all comes down to who I trust more to make the best educational choice for a child. For me that is not a school district – it’s mom and dad.
UPDATE (11/1): I heard another ad about ‘diverting money from public schools’. The argument is pure sophistry.
The money was never allocated to the schools, it was just part of the surplus money (nothing was taken away or lost as they imply). The same type of argument would say returning money to taxpayers would be diverting money from transportation, parks & rec, WIC…(name a government program/department). Not expanding a specific government department is not diverting funds! The only reasonable argument that could be made here is that the money was diverted from taxpayers (but then, the same could be said of education, transportation, etc budgets as well).
Finally, Davis County Watch also has some new columns on the vouchers by some well known folks (see: Liberal or Progressive, Same Old Nonsense and Utahns Can Vote For School Choice Tuesday). Another good one is If Not Vouchers, Then What.
Bottom line for me, this still comes down to who will make the best decision for a child’s educational needs: mom and dad or school district bureaucrats. Again, check the links at the top of the post for more information.
Irony Update (11/2): Yesterday I said: “The same type of argument would say returning money to taxpayers would be diverting money from transportation, parks & rec, WIC…(name a government program/department). Not expanding a specific government department is not diverting funds!”
From today’s anti-voucher brochure (entitled “Referendum 1 is too expensive”): “…it will take money away from roads, Medicaid, seniors’ programs, colleges…”. I had to laugh. They really are consummate bureaucrats at heart – if your money isn’t spent on government programs, it wasn’t spent wisely (even if returned to taxpayers).