spectating participant

February 15, 2006

JS Online:What you need to know on vouchers

Filed under: review, news — suzanne henderson @ 12:20 pm

JS Online:What you need to know on vouchers

Milwaukee’s voucher program is an endless source of controversy. I remember when people were arguing about the validity of it and there were threats of it making its way to the supreme court to validate it. At that time, there was a big push to keep it out of the courts because that would open up a floodgates of simmilar programs in other states and many people did not want that to happen.

I must say that I am torn on the issue. I see the advantage of vouchers for low-income families that want their children to get a private eduction but cannot afford it. I deperately want to enroll my daughter in a school with values that I find important. Unfortunately, that means I would have to put her in private schools because public schools offer a limited scope of education and are so restricted by the [No Child Left Behind] act that all they can do now is teach for tests in order to stay funded. Now, there is a disconnect in the voucher and private school success idea. Private schools don’t have to report their scores or any information and there have been several cases in Milwaukee where schools sprung up in response to the voucher program and were doing nothing positive for the students.

So, how do you make this program work? If your using state funds to private schools don’t those schools have to show they are truly focused on the education of children? But, if you require them to show results, are you just placing another institution under Bush’s chains of reporting and then going to stamp out all of the education benefits a private school can offer?

I have a hard time supporting private schools because i’ve always felt that parents need to put their energies into making public schools better. But, our government is taking that ability out of our hands, just as many parents are placing that responsibility into someone else’s hands, and public schools are losing at an astounding rate. Does anyone think that our teachers in public schools think that what they are doing, the curriculum they are forced to use, is helping out students? It isn’t and I am glad that my daughter attends a school that doesn’t sugar coat their requirements and motives and that will speak to the fact that the curriculum and expectations placed on the classroom is not the best policy. But, it is hard to avoid feeling overwhelmed when it seems that our power as parents and community members is being removed and abandoned and government (at the hands of Bush, no less) is taking up the slack and leaving every child behind.