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).
Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-In-Wonderland Public-School TheoryWritten by Joel Turtel
As part of whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many public schools now teach what they call “invented” or “creative” spelling. Under this theory of spelling, teachers believe that forcing a child to spell a word correctly thwarts child's "creativity." So in classrooms across America, many public-school teachers now encourage children to spell words any way they like.
Also, many school officials now believe it is not important to teach correct spelling because, so theory goes, a child will “eventually” learn to spell correctly. Unfortunately, millions of children who start out as poor spellers, stay that way. How, in our Alice-in-Wonderland public-school classrooms, will a child learn to spell correctly if public schools think that correct spelling is meaningless?
Charles J. Sykes, author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids," provides following real-life examples of invented spelling in our public schools:
“Joan W. and Beverly J. [last names omitted for privacy] are not experts. They just didn’t understand why their children weren’t learning to write, spell, or read very well. They didn’t understand why their children kept coming home with sloppy papers filled with spelling mistakes and bad grammar and why teachers never corrected them or demanded better work. Mrs. W. couldn’t fathom why her child’s teacher would write a “Wow!” and award a check-plus (for above average work) to a paper that read:
“I’m goin to has majik skates. Im goin to go to disenalen. Im goin to bin my mom and dad and brusr and sisd. We r go to se mickey mouse.”
On another assignment where children were told to write about why, where, and how they would run away from home without their parents knowing about it, here’s what one child wrote: “I would run awar because by mom and Dad don’t love me. I would run away with my brother to musan in mlewsky. We will use are packpacks and put all are close in it. We will take a lot of mony with us so we can go on bus to musam. We will stay there for a tlong timne so my mom and dad know they did not love us.”