Why I'm against vouchers

Posted by marshafamilaroenright 2 months, 4 weeks ago to Education
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The unconsidered dangers of using vouchers to liberate education.
SOURCE URL: https://fee.org/articles/i-run-a-private-school-and-am-against-school-vouchers-here-s-why/


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  • Posted by  $  Your_Name_Goes_Here 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    Send your child to a private school and you're looking at $10K or greater per year for a lower-end school. So practically speaking, the public system of "education" has no competition today. I've been a college Board member, and have seen the beast from the inside. It NEEDS competition. I totally get your concern about the Feds getting involved, but we sorely need to break the monopoly of public indoctrination of our children. Vouchers offers that as a potential solution.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Ayn Rand argued for tax credits for private education as a means towards breaking up the government school monopoly in her 1972 article "Tax-Credits for Education", reprinted in her anthology Voice of Reason. That article was in response to a Nixon proposal to impose a national sales tax to expand the public school system and government funding at all levels of education, but she first advocated education tax credits in her Los Angeles Times column in 1962.

      Tax credits allow taxpayers to pay themselves for their own or others' education tax free. They are not vouchers, which are government payments.

      Ayn Rand opposed the expansion of government subsidies for education, including vouchers. Direct government funding requires government controls since the government must be responsible for what it is paying for.

      As long as taxation is still recognized as taking money that belongs to the taxpayers -- in contrast to the increasingly promoted progressive notion that tax cuts are an "expense" to the government -- tax credits are less susceptible to accompanying complete control and they limit the inevitable growth in government spending for new government programs.

      Tax credits also avoid the inherent contradiction of government voucher payments to religious schools: Public funds to support religious schools are and should be unconstitutional, yet children of religious parents should not be denied what is available to the non-religious.

      Tax credits are not a permanent solution, but are a common sense first step towards opening up school choice on a free market. They are opposed by the teachers' unions and statists of all kinds, whose monopoly situation is far more entrenched now than when Ayn Rand was writing. The unions are more powerful, the scope, amount and intensity of government funding and controls are much greater, and government is far more entrenched into funding and controlling what is left of "private" education.

      At this point almost anything that increases school choice would probably help, but we must always advocate and maintain proper principles in reform measures on the way to private choice. Adopting statist collectivist premises inherent in plans like vouchers only further entrenches the problem.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    I love this quote.
    Our present-day culture is paradoxical. On the one hand, there’s tremendous admiration for great achievements, shown through the passion for Steve Jobs’ work, the celebration of SpaceX and Blue Horizons, and the enthusiasm for Airbnb’s offerings. On the other hand, there are the endless attacks on capitalism as an evil, greed-laden system and an obsession with “equality.” The consequence: the resurgence of socialism as an ideal, fueled by ignorance and guilt, on the part of the young, and deception on the part of the old who should know better.

    I don't see what any of this has to do with vouchers, but I like the idea of a graphic novel that's a gateway to another gateway (the original books) to radical ideas of liberty.
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  • Posted by rbunce 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    Vouchers should go through the parents so Feds have no foothold with the private school the parents select.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Yes, that's why I argue for tax credits.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Vouchers that "go through the parents" are not tax credits. If the government gives people money it is responsible for how it is spent, especially for something as controversial as competing educational philosophies and methods. Tax credits are for those who choose to use their own money, with limited standards on how it may be used tax free.
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  • Posted by  $  qhrjk 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    About adapting Anthem:
    My high school English class required us to read Anthem (August 2018) over the summer.
    That was what got me into Ayn Rand (among other things). However, the majority of the class never even read the book and the rest claimed it was "boring" while spewing a variety of other ignorant remarks.
    We then had to read either Fahrenheit 451, A Brave New World, or 1984. Everyone disliked it. In hindsight, some liberal girls seemed to enjoy it and began to use the books as a talking point for their self diagnosed mental illnesses. This is not an over-exaggeration: out of around 15 girls in the class, I can only name 3 who aren't in therapy.

    I realize I got a bit off topic! But I'm not sure if adapting libertarian content into graphic novels, etc. will benefit my generation. Why dilute and change great works of literature into shallow comics? Sure, the values remain the same... but it just rubs me the wrong way. I would rather "remain true" to the text.
    I guess it's a moral dilemma. I also have a lack of faith in my generation. Despite the relevance of Objectivist values, no one seemed to care. I don't think turning the book into a comic would change the outcome either. Everything is digital now, so I doubt the graphic novels would achieve much success. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I don't see any wake up call that my generation is willing to take notice of.
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    • Posted by  $  TomB666 2 months, 4 weeks ago
      In reply to qhrjk's comment: The good news in your comments is that you (and your classmates) were required to read Anthem. You are lucky to have a teacher who recognizes the value of that book and I suspect the teacher is delighted to have even ONE student get it ;-)
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      • Posted by  $  qhrjk 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        I agree! I'm very glad the book was even mentioned, and I hope my peers read it in the future. I do like my teacher and we have good conversations. She seems a bit conflicted with politics. Often times she exclaims, "Why can't everyone just be nice!" She's also very hesitant to stray from leftist ideology. In response to Bill C-16 or the SAT adversity score, she indicates that she agrees with more conservative stances on the topic, but then has almost a battle with herself. I don't look down on her at all- if anything I look up to her. She has so much more life experience than I do and a lot more knowledge on well- everything. It's just interesting to see her moral dilemmas.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 4 weeks ago
      I can understand your pessimism about your peers, but I'm hopeful you're wrong. I'm hopeful that there are more people out there whom we can reach and I think using every means possible is important.
      The graphic novel is true to the book, so anyone reading it gets Rand's actual words.
      So many kids are just so jaded by school, they hardly respond to anything they "have' to read. That's a huge problem. But this might reach them even when it wouldn't if they "had" to read it.
      Oftentimes the disruptive kids in class are intelligent ones who haven't come across stuff that makes enough sense, so they checked out.
      If we can reach that active minority, that's great! If we can influence the sense of life of others, that's important too.
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  • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    I think you meant to use this link:

    http://www.thesavvystreet.com/i-run-a...

    It is a serious argument. On the other hand the vast majority of the children in America are being taught in government schools. The adoption of vouchers would help break the stranglehold that the NEA and the government bureaucracy holds.

    Of course with government money comes government control -- but government control comes without government money as well.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 4 weeks ago
      Thanks for catching that, I fixed it! Recently published at FEE. I messed up uploading several things at one time. ;-(

      In the article I outline the dangers of vouchers and offer an alternative to get kids out of the government schools.
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 months, 4 weeks ago
        I don't see tax credits as essentially different from vouchers. It will still be dependent upon the tuition being paid for a "legitimate school" -- as defined by the the government and the camel gets its nose under the tent on the other side.

        Also while lots of middle class people could use help, the poorest among us are most likely to be stuck in failing schools with no help of rescue.
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        • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          I agree with you that the same danger arise with tax credits, but there are reasons to think it's less likely - see Nevada's program. And there are ways to set up the tax credit system to incentivize people to pay for poor children. If Zuckerberg had used his $100 million to help children go to the school of their choice, rather than be thrown down the drain by the public schoolls....
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  • Posted by STEVEDUNN46 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    here is an idea. education should be funded by USER FEES. if you don't have anyone that needs an education, you should not pay for some one else's education. if you drive a car on a public highway, you pay a user fee in the form of fuel taxes. if you want to see a national; park, you pay a fee to get in. if you want to stay in a campground, public or private, you pay a user fee. and if you choose to home school your kids you can do it very inexpensively. so why should a home schooler pay for some one else's kids education if they choose a more expensive way
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  • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    Excellent reasoning and why Hillsdale College refuses Federal dollars for college loans.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Exactly! You know the story? For those who don't: Hillsdale was an abolitionist school from the start. Then the Feds tried to make them do affirmative action and they thought that was discriminatory, so they opted out of the govt loans, etc.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Hillsdale was founded in the nineteenth century as a stridently religious school, and still is. Another one that says it takes no Federal funds is Ozarks, also a religious school. That these schools do not accept Federal money and that they reject racism and affirmative action as the racism it is are good but that is not a defense of what they teach and promote, and they should not be endorsed by implication as a source of a proper education.
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  • Posted by Rex_Little 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    There are already government-mandated standards private schools must meet in order to satisfy the mandatory-education laws. Any voucher program should specify that vouchers may be spent at any school which meets the standards in existence at the time the program was instituted. This would avoid the danger of creeping regulation.
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    So, don't do something BETTER out of FEAR of future control?

    Sounds like a bad argument.

    No! DEMAND Vouchers, and DEMAND The government step aside. Parents absorb the risk by choosing which schools will produce what they need. PERIOD.

    As the father of a gifted Child (2 university degrees at 19). It is MY JOB to drive her. And she started out in Montessori, and loved it, but then their prices sky rocketed, and she was put in public schools (augmented with my own in house preparation). I believe she was 11/12 when she PASSED her SATs, but went to middle school, and when the bullying started, we found a better option for her.

    She loved it, and loved being around other bright kids, where she was one of many, not the top of the class. It challenged her. It taught her more empathy.

    But the lack of vouchers is destroying some communities. Where your address (all your parents can afford) determines your education.

    And they BEAT the LOVE of LEARNING out of you! And if they don't, the bullies and other students do!

    You failed to address the fact that the FAILING schools will probably be forced to let the teachers go (all union, all driving BMWs by me)... And start over!
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  • Posted by  $  Commander 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    A brilliant insight and iteration.
    Have you had the pleasure of meeting John Holt, John Gatto or Lil Katz?
    A friend of mine, from high school days, and I, are returning to Manitowoc WI within the next 6 to 8 months. We've only recently reconnected. Both of us are firmly against any standardized education system. Both grew up in households with parents who taught in the local and regional schools, K-collegiate. We've forgotten how many times "budget" correlated with "State" or "Federal" overtones of financing were spoken in front of us.....usually in some context of disdain. Well....we've decided on the "medium" of theater to use as a teaching platform. Both of us have extensive life skills to entreat the enthusiasm of the young into self-directed learning. Tangible interaction is one of the most important keys. In my dad's words: I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Samuel Blumenfeld wrote an excellent book on the early history of American compulsory, state controlled education, Is Public Education Necessary?, Devin-Adair 1981. It is a lesson in the role of ideas in public policy and how, on the other side, ideas drove the movement for contemporary public school control. It started as an ideological religious battle by New England Unitarians afraid of Catholic immigrants influencing education.
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      • Posted by  $  Commander 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        1860 to 1880 as I recall, to the last hold-out in Massachusetts. I think John Gatto referred to this in Dumbing Us Down. And then, I spent a lot of time among teachers trying to figure a new way apart from anything but local funding for education.
        The monster can be defeated. I'm listening to the music / rage of Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Tool, Korn, raging at the state of affairs. This is the crowd to offer solution, withdrawal from conspicuous consumption, corporatism and profiteering and immerse in community where all age groups interact. Above I mentioned an outlet through theater. I've an extensive background in Tech theater and manufacturing......and....I just located a property that would serve as community center, picnic / playground and manufacturing base for all this.
        I can't wait to get out of Minneapolis, despite some of the really neat things that are happening in education and youngsters finding a format to express themselves......this isn't "home".
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    So you're really not against vouchers at all, but against having the curriculum designated/mandated by government. That's an entirely different problem.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      No, we are against government "vouchers" as another expanding government-paid subsidy program that inherently includes more controls over all aspects of schools, not even limited to the curriculum. Tax credits means the taxpayer uses his own money tax free if he has it and chooses to spend it that way.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      How is that "entirely" different?
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Government control of curriculum = A. Vouchers = B. A != B.

        Vouchers are not dependent on government control of curriculum. They could exist completely independent if curriculum was independent. I'm not seeing where you are equating A and B or deriving the necessity of A -> B. So my question is given all that, why do you think they are NOT different?
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        • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          Did you read the article? I give my reasons there.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            Your argument isn't necessarily tied to vouchers - vouchers are peripheral to your actual concern: governmental control of the curriculum. I agree with your underlying concern about governmental controls. I simply point out that you associate vouchers as inseparably connected when I don't believe that is the case. I read the article and could find nothing that argues A -> B. There was only A & B. It is a false conflation/correlation.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
              The argument is about vouchers. The article is "Why I'm against vouchers". Vouchers are another big direct government payment plan inherently tied to and requiring controls. Ayn Rand addressed the problem and the proper solution long ago in Voice of Reason already discussed in this thread https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

              Milton Friedman made one of his big mistakes in advocating vouchers, just like his "negative income tax" for income subsidies and other attempts to ignore philosophical principles. Both Friedman and Hayek were welfare statists trying to make a welfare work in an artificial "market".
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 2 months, 4 weeks ago
    I am for vouchers.

    I know DiBlasio is hell-set against vouchers and anything he is against is good for education.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. There are a lot of ways to go wrong besides following DiBlasio. If you adopt whatever is done by someone you don't like as a standard for what not to do you are just as dependent on him as if you were to follow him. Independence requires thinking for yourself for what is right regardless of who else does or does not do it.
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