School Vouchers : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

The following Web Site,, has two articles one from the Right and the other from the Left, stating their positions on the recently funded school voucher program for Washington DC schools. The program provides Vouchers that can be used in private school to families whose income is 185% of the poverty level or less. Please visit the web site and read these two articles and share with us your opinion.

I fully support the Voucher program because our disadvantaged kids will be the primary benificaries of this type of program. In reading the articles, the view from the right presented a logical argument for Vouchers with supporting facts while the view from the Left contained mostly rhetoric and played the "race card" extensively.

Given that the government will spend all of our "Tax Money" on something, I cannot understand why any argument can be presented that would convince any black or poor person to not support vouchers.

What do you think?

-- Anonymous, February 09, 2004


Rev. Paris,

Among all of the other topics, I lost sight of this.

Most of those against the voucher system are the School Boards. Think about it: In California, each child represents $3,000 from the state and Lord knows how much from the Lottery COmmission per year. If we just use the 3k figure per child:

Los Angeles hasn't built a new school in 20 years. I will bet that between Bond Measures and Taxes, none of the school buildings has a mortgage. Each 30-person classroom, therefore represents $78,000 per year. I believe the teachers max out at $60K per year, starting out at around $25K. That means each classrom represent a pre-book, pre- staff profit of $18K-53K per year. Multiply this by 9 grade levels (K-8) and 2 classroom per grade level, and each school has $324K- $954K budgetary money to spend on books, custodians, the principal, security, medical, etc. Again, this does not include Lottery money (which is based on attendance).

If you allow people to pull their kids out of the public school system (into safer, more educationally rich programs), you are allowing choice. You are forcing the school districts to do what every other employer in the U.S. has to do: compete for its customers, and pay competitive wages to its employees.

It's a massive undertaking that the districts aren't ready (or prepared) to accept.

-- Anonymous, February 24, 2004


Your analysis is interesting but you leave out some significant expenditures, building maintenance, employee benefits and retirement. The government is usually required to be fully funded and although you identify a surplus, that money is easily consumed. And although you point out that your district has not constructed any buildings in 20 years, then your district is incurring significant building upkeep costs, and you also did not include lighting, insurance and the bureaucracy that is necessary to run the place.

With regard to vouchers: It would be nice to be able to use the money to send our children to top shelf private schools but let's face facts, a top shelf private school tuition would far exceed the amount of the voucher, and where are the spaces going to come from? Many private schools are very aware that more kids means more in the classroom. And what about the public school retirement system? We still have to fund it.

-- Anonymous, February 24, 2004

The real problem that school vouchers face is state constitutions that prohibit the funding of religious schools. These prohibitions were implemented in the heyday of Catholic schools and were strongly supported by Christians who at the time were not operating schools in great numbers.

These prohibitions are not statutory but constitutional and it will require a number of states to amend their constitutions to reject the previous arguments.

Which only points out that all the federal noise about vouchers is just that noise. As long as the state is the primary funder of public school education, vouchers will continue to have a difficult time. The only reason that this is an issue in Washington DC is because this is the only district where the federal government is in complete control of the purse strings.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2004

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