Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vouchers Satisfy Parents, play to their Insecurities!

It's funny and deceptive the way Republicans like Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, a former teacher, steer clear of the 25 year substandard private voucher school record, by touting how "satisfied" parents are with the program.

The old cliche "parents know what's best for their children," is getting a lot of mileage, and is patently ridiculous. Really, parents somehow have an innate insight into the latest teaching techniques and course work they feel is best for their kids?

From WPR audio this morning, Thiesfeldt did the old switcheroo, shifting from a callers question about private school accountability to the magical "satisfaction" levels of voucher parents. And he thought I wouldn't notice:

Republicans have always played on the fears and insecurities of parents who want to do what's right for their kids. Giving them "a choice" is nothing but manipulative pandering. Thiesfeldt pointed to studies of satisfied parents. I just happen to remember that study:
According to the University of Arkansas: Researchers with the School Choice Demonstration Project report that having a choice of where to send their children to school boosts their satisfaction with and involvement in schools (in Washington, D.C.). 
That’s right, parents are more satisfied simply because they got to choose. But are kids more educated? Three quarters of the voucher parents didn't care. Public schools aren't held to that same standard: 
Patrick Wolf, director of the School Choice Demonstration Project said, “Even D.C. parents whose children ended up returning to public schools tended to say that they were happy that they at least had a choice.” 
After decades of bashing, even laughing at the idea of smaller class sizes, Republican backed vouchers schools can't play it up enough, finding a very receptive audience of appreciative parents. Still, it's all about touchy feely stuff and not about better academic outcomes:
The factors these parents considered most important in making a choice included smaller class sizes, school safety, religious or values-based environment and rigorous academic curriculum ... Many parents placed greater emphasis on attitudes and behavior of their children, rather than test scores, as a basis for evaluating their progress. None of the parents polled considered standardized test scores when assessing their children’s progress.
President George W. Bush's NCLB's testing extravaganza emphasized testing as a way to fail most schools, so they could be turned into private religious schools. Testing went into overdrive and that's why we have what we have today. But for vouchers, testing isn't important:
Most parents measure their children’s progress almost exclusively by the level of enthusiasm the students express ... Actual grades and test scores are secondary concerns. By this standard, the vast majority of families reported that their children are succeeding or progressing in very important ways.
That same caller gave Thiesfeldt an example of how cutting education funding can actually hurting our kids. Of course, Thiesfeldt lamented the tight budget he and his band of plundering republican pirates have created.

Remember when everyone in the state paid taxes and supported education and infrastructure? Not anymore, since manufacturers and big ag got a $240 million tax cut and soon won't be paying any state tax at all. That's freeloading, sticking even conservative tightwad voters with the bill. And not a peep.  


  1. "Teaching techniques" and "coursework" is not the same as knowledge, skills, and wisdom.

    I fear that you are filling your children's ears with progressive nonsense on how to be reliant on the state for the necessities of life rather than think for themselves, stand on their own two feet and question everything.

    If you want to drop your kids off at the local brainwashing prison so they can learn about transgender studies and sex education rather than be responsible and teach them anything that will actually get them ahead in this world, then you are a lousy parent. But don't be surprised when most parents don't want to do this.

  2. The article is spot on.