Monday, December 26, 2005

School Choice

The Main Editorial in the latest Gilbert Magazine was titled "The Truth about School Choice" and it addresses the common misconceptions and arguments against school choice.

Our family homeschools. There are times when I wish our state (Illinois) offered vouchers to me, because every year I pay an astronomical amount of property taxes (I believe I heard the state of Illinois was the 49th worst state as far as using property tax money un-evenly to pay for public education) of which I never see any benefit. Even the public schools in my area, as good as they do manage to educate some certain segment of our population (mainly those with interested parents or "those who take care of 'you'" as our librarian refers to parental substitutes), they are constantly on academic warning about the test scores or lack there of.

However, what strings come attached with vouchers? If you take government money and use it toward private schools, will the government (either now, or in the future when they discover a loophole) want to regulate what happens with their money, no matter where it is spent?

Because of strings or the potential for strings, I am not eager to take voucher money, even if offered to me.

Here is another amazing set of figures:
--to educate a child in an elementary public school in Illinois=$4-6,000-8,000 per child (and take this into consideration, every homeschooled child in the state deprives that district of its "share" of the money that should come in (that's the way they see it and why teachers in general aren't too fond of homeschoolers), and yet, we "save" the district the burden of having to educate our children)
--to educate a child in private school in our area=$2,400-3,000 per child
--to homeschool a child at home in our area=One dedicated parent and $500 per student (average)

So, back to the editorial. I agree with it all, but I wonder. Is school choice really the no brainer it appears to be? Does the government really stay out of the way of whatever school that voucher is used for?

Another reason I wonder is because our local Catholic school took government money for meals in the cafeteria for needy kids, and teh government came in and made all kinds of inpections, rules and regs necessary in order to accept their "gift." Makes me leary of that kind of gift.

If anyone lives where they have vouchers (Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Wash DC) and either uses them or decided not to, chime in here and let's discuss this issue.


  1. Here in Colorado, one state senator hopes to require private schools to take the same student competence tests that public schools are required to take to prove they're doing their job. I imagine it's a short step from that to requiring homeschooling parents to test their own children.

  2. I wonder if it would be wise to post GM articles that Nancy references/discusses on this blog. Dale?


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