Saturday, October 20, 2007

Utah School Vouchers

This is an unorganized post of me trying to think my way through the whole school voucher debate. Currently I'm undecided, so I should be relatively neutral. (Although if they keep running those stupid anti-voucher adds all the time I'm going to vote FOR the vouchers) here's my areas of research:

Why would vouchers hurt schools?
The voucher money isn't coming from the general education fund.(1)
How do schools get money in the first place?

What happens now if a child goes to a private school? If a child is home schooled?

How does this change with the vouchers?

If vouchers pass:
If, as a blog post I've seen seem to imply, that vouchers don't really help the poor, does that matter?
Yes, the voucher doesn't pay the full amount of tuition. It does pay part which means that people that were close to being able to pay can now pay.
How many children are currently enrolled in private schools? (I will assume that all of these will apply for vouchers.)
How many children go to private schools for a while (less than 5 years), then come back to public schools? or conversely, how many children go to private schools for their entire education? See, after five years, the public schools loose the extra money from the vouchers. If a child returns during that time, the school gets the full amount of money.
Will more people put their children in a private school now with the vouchers? Will home schoolers switch to private schools?
If they make vouchers and no one "new" switches to private schools then does it matter if the bill passes?
Is it constitutional that public money can go to religious schools?
The ACLU thinks this is wrong, but then, as the anti-voucher supports point out, a voucher won't cover the full cost of tuition. Does this mean that the public money can go to the public part of the education and the parent's money can be seen as paying for the religious part of the education? :)
If no one uses vouchers, is it better to have them to let people have a choice or is it better not to have them and reduce bureaucracy and cost to the state?

Most obnoxious claims
  • Vouchers will help reduce the burdon on public schools -- this bugs me. Since we have decided public schools are a good thing, it is up to the legislature to make sure all children can be educated and not push it off on private schools.
  • More than half of utah counties do not have access to private schools (2) - yes, but the majority of Utah's population is only in a few counties. Assuming that the counties that don't have private schools are also the least populus, those counties have a population of less than 15,000. Also, anti-vouchers shouldn't point this out because this means the arguement of "parents can already send their kids to private schools if they want" doesn't hold true in half of Utah's counties. Thus, vouchers wouldn't change anything in those counties, except maybe encourage a private school to start.


Useful facts:
The bill is HB 148
The ammendment is HB 174
  1. KSL's analysis of annoying adds.
  2. daily herald

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