Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Guest post: Florida should allow private-school vouchers

23

March

VoucherMoney is tight. Florida needs to do more with less. Former New York educator Dan Insdorf, who has written columns for the Winter Haven News-Chief, suggests the answer lies in vouchers. They cost less than public school education, he argues in a guest column that takes shots at much of the education establishment.

On his site schoolvoucherpetition.com, Insdorf goes so far as to advocate changing the Florida Constitution to say give all Florida students a voucher worth 75 percent of a public school education. Check out what he has to say and then let the discussion begin:

It costs approximately $14,000 per year to send a child to a Florida public school. Graduation rates average 60% to 70% with 50% of those entering college needing remedial education.  President Obama and Vice President Biden send their children to private school as do 50% of Florida elected officials. The average private/parochial school tuition is $6000.

A simple solution to the current budget crisis is to offer parents of public school students a $6000 voucher.

This would save Florida Counties 50% of the cost of educating our young people and the quality of the education would be vastly improved.  

If vouchers for all grades would not be acceptable, vouchers for high school are an absolute must.  Academic high schools are a big waste of time and money and do not properly serve their population.
Vocational and technical schools can be utilized for non-academically inclined students. Instead of spending $50,000 per year to produce a minimum wage earning high school graduate or $25,000 to produce a drop-out, a $10,000 voucher to a vocational school would create employable young people. The correctional officers union may object as this would diminish the prison population.

In my opinion, high school graduation should not be the goal of public school. A good paying job needs to be the focus. Today, the majority of high paying positions are in the skilled trades. And yet, there are no vocational high school alternatives at this time. There were when I taught school thirty five years ago. Academic high schools are a waste of time and money for most young people. Academically inclined students should be segregated from vocational and technical students. Neither party is served by mixing the two in a high school setting.

I believe that the Democratic Party is vehemently opposed to school vouchers in order to keep society ignorant and in need of public assistance. Teacher unions simply fear the competition. The NAACP, whose constituents would benefit most from private school vouchers, have sold-out to the Democratic Party and oppose vouchers.

Teacher unions contribute 95% of their dollars to Democratic candidates who must oppose school voucher initiatives. Single unwed mothers now represent 40% of the US population in large part due to failing public schools (42% in Florida 50% in Polk County 67% for Afro Americans). More than 50% of Florida’s budget goes to welfare and related services.

This country will legally import 65,000 highly skilled workers from other countries this year. The big three auto makers spend more on benefits than they do on wages. The cost of health insurance for a teacher is equal to the cost of educating a student ($10,000). Education is the key and unless the public school monopoly is broken, this country will not be able to compete in a demanding global economy.

(Photo from Education Next)

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:18am]

    

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