Drugs and Violence In Public SchoolsWritten by Joel Turtel
Many public schools not only fail to educate our children, they can also be dangerous places. These schools are a natural breeding ground for drugs and violence. Children are packed into classrooms with twenty or more other immature children or teenagers, all same age. Here, peer pressure becomes socialization, pushing many children into using drugs and alcohol.
Put twenty teenagers in same room, or hundreds of teenagers in same school, and you have a breeding ground for violence. Young boys and girls have raging hormones and budding sexuality, and male teenage testosterone levels are high. Teenagers are in half-child, half-adult stage of life and often lack judgment and are emotionally immature.
Pack these teenagers together into cramped little classrooms, six to eight hours a day, and you have a mixture that can lead to trouble. It’s inevitable that violence will break out—it’s built into system.
Also, even most conscientious teacher is usually too busy and overworked to give children individual attention they need. Critics of home-schooling often say that home-schoolers don’t get proper socialization. However, so-called socialization in public schools is often cruel and violent. Bullying, peer pressure, racial cliques, sexual tensions, and competition for teacher’s approval all create a stressful, sometimes violent environment.
Compulsory-attendance laws also contribute to violence in schools. In most states, these laws force children to stay in school until they are sixteen years old or graduate high school. Teenagers who hate school, or are aggressive or potentially violent sociopaths, can’t leave. As a result, they often take out their hatred and aggression on other students. Those children want to learn are forced to endure bullying and violence by these troubled teens.
Also, law is on side of violent or disruptive students who are classified as “disabled.” In 1975, Congress passed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Based on this legislation, in 1988 Supreme Court ruled that schools could not remove disruptive disabled children from classrooms without a parent’s consent. If parents don’t consent, teachers are out of luck. Those ‘disabled’ children who are socially impaired, can’t get along with other kids, or sometimes turn violent, therefore fall under this category. Of course, this adds yet another layer of potentially violent children who teachers can’t remove from class.
Vouchers --- Parents, Don't Depend On Them Written by Joel Turtel
Vouchers, which give tax money to parents to pay for tuition in private schools, sound good in theory. The problem is that voucher programs are few and very far between. The Supreme Court declared vouchers constitutional in 2002, but currently only thirteen cities or states have created voucher or education tax credit programs.
Some of these voucher programs are tax credit programs, whether personal or corporate, and cover only a fraction of tuition costs. The voucher programs have various restrictions that limit their benefits to a relatively small number of children (such as Florida programs that are limited to disabled students or to schools that get an ‘F’ grade). Also, many of these programs pay only part of tuition costs. In ‘tuitioning’ programs in Maine and Vermont, most eligible kids simply transfer to public schools in other towns. In effect, these programs barely scratch surface —they only help a tiny fraction of approximately 45 million school children who now suffer through public-school education.
Also, education establishment, teacher unions, and most state and federal legislators in Democratic party are against vouchers. Teacher unions fight voucher initiatives tooth and nail with lawsuits. When unions take state voucher plans to court, these lawsuits can drag on for years. The voucher fight is going to be a long, bitter, ongoing legal battle between parents, states, and teacher unions.
Also, most states today are running huge budget deficits. As a result, states are cutting back on programs already on their books, so they can hardly afford expensive new voucher programs. California had close to a $13 billion budget deficit (which they “closed” by typical near-sighted trick of borrowing money with new state bonds), Texas a $10 billion deficit, and New York about an $8 billion deficit.15 (these deficit numbers keep fluctuating, depending on which politician is citing which new study, but deficits are huge).