Vouchers --- Parents, Don't Depend On ThemWritten 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).
Parents --- Your Children's Report Card May Be RiggedWritten by Joel Turtel
Under "No Child Left Behind Act," public schools whose students consistently fail standardized tests can be shut down. To protect their jobs, teachers and principals are now under intense pressure to cheat — to fudge test scores and report cards to fool parents and school administrators.
Myron Lieberman, author and former high-school teacher, listed some of ways public schools can “cheat” in his book “Public Education: an Autopsy”:
1. Poor students were excluded or discouraged from taking tests
2. Teachers assigned tests as homework or taught test items in class
3. Test security was minimal or even nonexistent
4. Students were allowed more time than prescribed by test regulations
5. Unrealistic, highly improbable improvements from test to test were not audited or investigated
6. Teachers and administrators were not punished for flagrant violations of test procedures
7. Test results were reported in ways that exaggerated achievement levels
In December 1999, a special investigation of New York City schools revealed that two principals and dozens of teachers and assistant teachers were helping students cheat on standardized math and reading tests.
Andrew J. Coulson, in his brilliant book, "Market Education: The Unknown History," sites an example of how public schools deliberately lie to parents about their children’s academic abilities:
“Consistently greeted by A’s and B’s on their children’s report cards, parents of Zavala Elementary School had been lulled into complacency, believing that both school and its students were performing well. In fact, Zavala was one of worst schools in district, and its students ranked near bottom on statewide standardized tests. When a new principal took over helm and requested that statewide scores be read out at a PTA meeting, parents were dismayed by their children’s abysmal showing, and furious with teachers and school officials for misleading them with inflated grades.”