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Louisiana judge rules that school vouchers to private schools are unconstitutional Options · View
lafayettemister
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 11:27:05 AM

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Location: Alabama, United States
Public funds cannot go to private schools

Can public tax payer dollars go to vouchers to fund private school education? Does that violate Separation of Church and State? As mentioned in a prior thread, it was said that if the government gives money to a church, then the government can tell them how to spend it. If the decision on vouchers is over turned, will government have the ability to tell private schools (mostly religious/church oriented) what they can and cannot teach?

Basically, in this system. A kid from a low performing school could leave that school and go to a participating private school of his choosing with a state issued voucher. If that student was low to middle income. Which is another sticking point for many people in the state. A family of four with a total income of around $57k could qualify for a voucher. Which left many middle income families, without the same recourse to change schools.

Another argument against vouchers is that if a school is already struggling, why allow good "high scoring" students to leave? Thus bringing the scores of the school even lower.

Proponents of the voucher system believe it should remain in place because it allows children, who'd otherwise have no options, to receive a better education at a better school.

What do you say, Lush?





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
MrNudiePants
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:47:46 PM

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Governments already do have the "ability" to tell schools what they can teach and what they cannot. Every state has its own mandated minimum standards that its students must meet before they're allowed to graduate. Everything from scholastic minimums to minimum number of days present in school are mandated by the government.

As for the vouchers, I believe that each state should be allowed to make its own determination as to what's best for its children.

keoloke
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:03:41 PM

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I do feel it’s unconstitutional. I do understand that it would allow (for some) more educational choices but I still lean toward not distributing funds to private schools.

Why not keep the funds to create a better education in those schools that most need it. Giving away the funds to private schools only help a few students anyway. Striving for better methods so to give the best possible education is the way to go. Education should only be at one level. We will all benefit from it.

If we must keep things the way they are, than yes we can distribute (just to make believe) some funds. Today private (the word) education doesn’t say much anyway. There are many levels that you can take, it all depends on what kind of money we are willing or as usual can spend on it.

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Life is simple; we are what we eat and what we read. Talk is superfluous.
lafayettemister
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:50:02 AM

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Location: Alabama, United States
MrNudiePants wrote:
Governments already do have the "ability" to tell schools what they can teach and what they cannot. Every state has its own mandated minimum standards that its students must meet before they're allowed to graduate. Everything from scholastic minimums to minimum number of days present in school are mandated by the government.

As for the vouchers, I believe that each state should be allowed to make its own determination as to what's best for its children.


Yes, government does have minimal educational requirements that must be met. I meant outside of those guideline, the "extra" things taught or done at church funded private schools. For instance, my area is predominantly Roman Catholic and there are numerous Catholic primary, Jr. High, and High School schools. Every Wednesday, the students and faculty attend Mass. Also, once or twice a week, each student attends a "Religion" class. And they get a grade on it like any other class.

If a Methodist or atheist student receives a government issued voucher, can the school be made to exempt that student from Mass or religious studies. If the school has many voucher paid students, can the government make them stop teaching anything religious in the school?





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
LadyX
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:42:12 AM

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Joined: 9/25/2009
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lafayettemister wrote:


If a Methodist or atheist student receives a government issued voucher, can the school be made to exempt that student from Mass or religious studies. If the school has many voucher paid students, can the government make them stop teaching anything religious in the school?


I think so, yes. And I know that a religious school wants no part of Big Brother telling them how and what to teach. Therefore, I think the whole concept of vouchers is a bad idea. Not only does it raise issues such as this one, but it also signals an admission to the idea that public schools are beyond saving, and are bad use of tax dollars (though typically, the person who says this usually can't come up with any good use of tax dollars, aside from the military). I think it's great that private schools exist. Not every educational venue should have to carry the same flavor as our (mostly) secular public schools, but taking tax dollars away from them to subsidize attendance elsewhere only worsen the problems that already plague them.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:19:40 PM

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lafayettemister wrote:


Yes, government does have minimal educational requirements that must be met. I meant outside of those guideline, the "extra" things taught or done at church funded private schools. For instance, my area is predominantly Roman Catholic and there are numerous Catholic primary, Jr. High, and High School schools. Every Wednesday, the students and faculty attend Mass. Also, once or twice a week, each student attends a "Religion" class. And they get a grade on it like any other class.

If a Methodist or atheist student receives a government issued voucher, can the school be made to exempt that student from Mass or religious studies. If the school has many voucher paid students, can the government make them stop teaching anything religious in the school?


Does the law state that the atheist student MUST attend a religious school? Thee are literally thousands of non-religious schools in the nation. Let the "athiest" children attend one of them.

MrNudiePants
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:32:01 PM

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LadyX wrote:


I think so, yes. And I know that a religious school wants no part of Big Brother telling them how and what to teach. Therefore, I think the whole concept of vouchers is a bad idea. Not only does it raise issues such as this one, but it also signals an admission to the idea that public schools are beyond saving, and are bad use of tax dollars (though typically, the person who says this usually can't come up with any good use of tax dollars, aside from the military). I think it's great that private schools exist. Not every educational venue should have to carry the same flavor as our (mostly) secular public schools, but taking tax dollars away from them to subsidize attendance elsewhere only worsen the problems that already plague them.


I don't think it tells anyone that our schools are beyond saving. What it does do is send a message to our educators that they've been failing in their duties, and parents are sick of it. I have nothing but respect for most teachers. They take on a task that only a hard-core masochist would want, and they do it for the love of the job, and the children that pass through their classrooms. Nevertheless, they're failing. The system is broken, and beds to be fixed. Want to talk about wasting money? Check out your local school board construction budget sometime. School administrators are no different from any other politician. It'll take something really drastic to madly them change their wastrel ways. Hit them hard enough in the pocketbook, and they may (may, it's not a sure thing) change their ways.

Like I've already posted- I don't think vouchers should be mandatory. But I do think it should be up to the states themselves to decide.

Ruthie
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:58:52 PM

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School vouchers probably do violate the separation clause. The main problem, as I see it, is that politicians are so willing to take money away from public schools to give to for profit and religious schools, but want to cut education funding for public schools more and more. In the south we are already raising a generation of idiots. We don't need private schools teaching nonsense like creationism. If public money is going to be given to public schools there should be a requirement that they teach an actual science curriculum including the correct age of the universe. I don't want my tax dollars teaching some kid that the earth is 5000 years old.
Guest
Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:03:38 AM

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I work for a school district so I can see that there would be no need to discuss this if the school admistration and teachers were doing their job. We have a test posted on the board from a sixth grade exam given in the 1880's that none of our students could ever pass. Some states no longer teach the basic 3 R's (penmanship is thought not necessary by some states). And the problem is college level also and what professors who aren't qualified to teach in public school are putting out as teachers. A good part of the problem in our district is the Teachers Union that is more interested in money from its members than the welfare of the teachers and students. The union has become a business and a way to finance politicians and not a service.

As for the voucher itself, if it isn't allowed to everyone regardless of their income then it is unconstitutional as it segregates. As a method of helping students because the public system and the public teachers are not providing the required service it is only a band aide stop gap. A private school, religious or not, once given the voucher students has a right to teach the method they wish as long as the students are getting a proper education and the parents agreed to send their students there. Once the government states that a private school meets the required subject levels than the government no longer controls the private system.

Education is the right of the State and not the Federal systems. Teachers who do not perform should be let go. One of the problems we have is the illegals who are in the system. They did not qualify for citizenship (and those who go thru the system actually are better educated then people born here in most cases). As a result language is a problem as it is in any country. Regardless of what some uneducated political leaders might say, our national language is Engllish. It is a very hard language and for those who do not speak it (I went to school in other countries so I have experience) reflects in the abilty of a schools general tests scores. What I am saying is that there are many reasons for a school being poorly rated. Some are the responsiblity of the District, the State, the Teachers, and the Parents.

I hate it when politicans say well the test scores should be lowered so blacks and latins can do better. That is a bunch of B.S. It is racists. Each student is an individual. No race is slower or smarter than another and to say such things shows what racists pigs we have as leaders.

Vouchers are not the answer, but until the public system returns to giving the education it gave in the past it is a choice for parents who have the main responsibility and right in seeing to the education of their children.

As for court rulings, we all know our system of courts are poliical and have little to do with justice. If they were right then no case would have to be reviewed. And even the Supreme court doesn't knows the law or violates the Constitution as many cases are split votes, usually on political lines or by judges who vote in favor of those they use to be employed by.
LadyX
Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012 9:26:01 AM

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ScottFord wrote:
As a result language is a problem as it is in any country. Regardless of what some uneducated political leaders might say, our national language is Engllish.


Sorry, Scott. That's factually incorrect. There have been several proposals to make English the official language, but none of them have ever passed. A few states, to my knowledge, have passed a symbolic resolution stating English as the "official language", but most of them echo the Federal government in adopting no official language. As you know, many states have a high number of Spanish speakers, as well as increasing numbers who speak various Asian languages. In a de facto sense, English is the primary language, but if you venture into lots of lots of areas, including some in the city where I live, English is one of two or three languages heard, and that's if you hear English at all.
LadyX
Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:15:30 AM

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MrNudiePants wrote:


I don't think it tells anyone that our schools are beyond saving. What it does do is send a message to our educators that they've been failing in their duties, and parents are sick of it. I have nothing but respect for most teachers. They take on a task that only a hard-core masochist would want, and they do it for the love of the job, and the children that pass through their classrooms. Nevertheless, they're failing. The system is broken, and beds to be fixed. Want to talk about wasting money? Check out your local school board construction budget sometime. School administrators are no different from any other politician. It'll take something really drastic to madly them change their wastrel ways. Hit them hard enough in the pocketbook, and they may (may, it's not a sure thing) change their ways.

Like I've already posted- I don't think vouchers should be mandatory. But I do think it should be up to the states themselves to decide.


I get the emotional component of this, whereby citizens feel like schools need some sort of "wake up call", but let's look at the realities here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the following appears to be the theory of allowing vouchers as a pro-active way to wake public schools from their complacent slumber of mediocrity:

1) Vouchers become available for public school attendees
2) Many attendees use the vouchers and vacate the school system
3) Schools lose tax dollars, since their allocations are tabulated partially by enrollment.
4) Teachers get laid off, classrooms sit empty, and the remaining staff have a moment of clarity, whereby they realize they can no longer half-ass it and now have to actually try to educate students.

The fallacy in that scenario should be clear. Critical to the "send a message" scenario is a reality where teachers don't bust their ass already to teach the best they can, under the varied, uncontrollable circumstances they're in. I'm just very skeptical of this. Are there bad teachers? yes. Are teacher's unions at least somewhat suspect? In many cases, yes. Can the fundamental problems with our school system be laid at the feet of the teachers, as if the effects of demographics, modern family sociology, overcrowding, and lack of supplies and aids can magically be factored out? No way.

I know you wouldn't say that the teachers are solely at fault for the problems, either. But who else would this "wake-up call" sound towards, then? It's a huge, complex, gordian-knot of a problem. Not unsolvable, but not easily solved, either. And it's not like people aren't trying to solve it. I know bureaucracy lends itself to a certain inertia and lack of urgency, but depleting the schools of their best students and dealing with an immediate dearth of tax dollars seems like a punitive and dubious way to try to tackle it, as if austerity and stratification would have some sort of chastening, "lesson-learned" moment in store for all involved.
Ruthie
Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012 6:11:37 PM

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ScottFord wrote:
A good part of the problem in our district is the Teachers Union that is more interested in money from its members than the welfare of the teachers and students. The union has become a business and a way to finance politicians and not a service.


I see you've picked up the Republican talking point that the problem with education is the teacher's union. That just distracts from the real problem, that our education system is underfunded and run by politicians who don't want an educated populace. They took money away from the education system to give tax breaks to the rich people who keep them in office, and now they want to blame it on teachers and their unions. Here's a chart of how much education funding has decreased in the USA.



In my state, Georgia, spending on education has decreased 14.8% per student since 2008, and it isn't even top of the list. Now you want to take even more money from the public schools and give it to people who will use it to indoctrinate children in whatever their particular superstition is.

ScottFord wrote:


As for the voucher itself, if it isn't allowed to everyone regardless of their income then it is unconstitutional as it segregates.


That makes absolutely no sense you know. A lot of spending is done in this country based on income. Not giving rich people extra money to keep their kids in elite schools isn't discriminatory. Making me pay to have somebody's kids taught that Jesus rode dinosaurs and the earth was made in seven days five thousand years ago is insane. I'm tired of the craziness that's going on in this country.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012 6:35:09 PM

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To me the concept of private schools are wrong in itself. Usually private schools can afford to pay their teachers more than public schools. This means they will get the best teachers, or at least they'll be able to pick the ones with the highest education level, which in most cases increases the quality of the education the private kids get. Also from what I've heard is that private schools are an easier way to get into the top colleges and universities.

So unless you get one of these magical vouchers what it does is that it gives the rich kids an unfair advantage. The other kids have to go public simply because their parents can't afford to send them to private schools. And they're already one step behind the rich kids.

Call me an idealist, but I just don't like the idea of kids being put at a disadvantage just because their parents aren't rich.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
lafayettemister
Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012 8:16:26 AM

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CoopsRuthie wrote:

In my state, Georgia, spending on education has decreased 14.8% per student since 2008, and it isn't even top of the list. Now you want to take even more money from the public schools and give it to people who will use it to indoctrinate children in whatever their particular superstition is.


Private schools do give religious instruction, but it's not full scale indoctrination. In my area, any university professor will tell you that the students coming from private school are much better prepared for college. Actually, I know of several people who are Christian non-catholics or atheist who still send their kids to private school because the public schools in the area are in shambles. They'd rather them deal with some religious stuff while getting a superior education than not get anything religious at a failing school. And not everyone that sends their kids to private school is filthy rich.

But I agree, public school funding continues to decrease. And teacher's unions aren't the problem, at least not wholly. Everyone bears some blame; teachers, administration, school board, mayor, govenors, state congress. But talk to any teacher and they'll tell you the biggest problem is the students/parents themselves. Most teachers leave the profession within 5 years of starting it, the number one reason they leave... students/teachers.

elitfromnorth wrote:
To me the concept of private schools are wrong in itself. Usually private schools can afford to pay their teachers more than public schools. This means they will get the best teachers, or at least they'll be able to pick the ones with the highest education level, which in most cases increases the quality of the education the private kids get. Also from what I've heard is that private schools are an easier way to get into the top colleges and universities.

So unless you get one of these magical vouchers what it does is that it gives the rich kids an unfair advantage. The other kids have to go public simply because their parents can't afford to send them to private schools. And they're already one step behind the rich kids.

Call me an idealist, but I just don't like the idea of kids being put at a disadvantage just because their parents aren't rich.


Actually, private schools are notorious for paying less than public schools. Many private school teachers are retirees from the public sector. They're working at private schools while drawing retirement from the state. The starting salary for a first year public school teacher is about $12k more per year than the starting salary for a first year private school teacher. STudents from private schools do tend to do better in college.

Again, not everyone that goes to private school is loaded rich. I grew up in a typical middle income family and went to public school. The school system did very well and there were only a handful of private schools, all with very low enrollment. The area I live in now, the school system is in shambles. Routinely ranked in the bottom 5 parishes in the state. Consequently, there are numerous private schools. Most of whom have students from middle income families.

It isn't fair, but if parents are willing to pay to send their kids to a "better" school, no one can stop them. Can't blame them for doing what they feel is in the best interest of their kid. The problem with vouchers is that it "marries" church and state when they shouldn't be. Also, there's the desegregation issue.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
elitfromnorth
Posted: Friday, December 07, 2012 10:34:37 AM

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lafayettemister wrote:


Actually, private schools are notorious for paying less than public schools. Many private school teachers are retirees from the public sector. They're working at private schools while drawing retirement from the state. The starting salary for a first year public school teacher is about $12k more per year than the starting salary for a first year private school teacher. STudents from private schools do tend to do better in college.


I was talking generally and from experiences here, where the private schools pay more or just as much for less work from the teacher's point of view.

And I don't disagree with the wanting to do better for your kids part. If I had kids and had the money and could send them to a top notch private schools where they'd get a better education I wouldn't hesitate for a second. But you have to admit that it's unfair for the poor kids that don't get vouchers.

As for religion it shouldn't be allowed IMO, especially not if the government or state pays for it. If you want your kid to be taught up religiously then send it to Sunday school or somewhere else it can learn the Bible. Not regular school.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
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