Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're Finally Making Sense: Rerouting voucher money from cash strapped public schools not the answer!

We're finally getting to the point where the honest problematic details of charter/voucher school proposals are leaking out to the public. The following video clip pretty much encapsulates the new debate that leaves the voucher advocates grasping at straws.

Progressillinois: As one of the state's most outspoken advocates of public education, State Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) stunned some of his biggest supporters last month when he introduced a proposal to hand out private school vouchers to public school students … But after clearing the Illinois Senate … the prospect that Chicago could become ground zero in a statewide voucher experiment gained some credibility.

Still, critics are calling Meeks' efforts a diversion that will only reroute more public money from cash-starved schools. Among them is State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago). "We can't just say give them a voucher," he said on Fox's Good Day Chicago this morning, "and that's going to solve the problem."

As Raoul points out, the measure is based on two questionable premises: that there will be enough private school openings to accommodate the students and that those private schools achieve better educational results. The Center on Tax and Budget
Accountability's executive director Ralph Martire echoed those sentiments, adding that there is no guarantee that a private school must accept disadvantaged students, either.

"The concept of public education is that every child, regardless of where they grow up, can get a quality education," Martire tells us. "If you don't have the resources to hire more and better teachers, to put technology in the classrooms, to have enrichment and afterschool programs to extend the school day ... how is competition [with the private market] going to make schools any better?"

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