Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat and school board member from University City, Mo., supports allowing students in unaccredited public school districts (low-performing) to receive vouchers to attend private, non-religious schools. When she questioned the fairness of forcing parents to pay taxes to fund public schools and, at the same time, tuition to pay for their children’s private education, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared that to be a selfish motivation for school choice. (Note: students in University City would be ineligible for private vouchers based on the current proposal.)
The newspaper editors declared Sen. Chappelle-Nadal to be “clueless on the value of public schools.” They expounded on that value by discussing the ways public schools benefit the general public, including increasing home values, greater economic development, higher incomes and more. Naturally, an educated population improves the greater public good.
But those public benefits don’t magically disappear if more kids are educated at private schools using publicly funded vouchers (or even privately funded tax-credit scholarships). The benefit ensues WHEN students are educated, NOT because of WHERE they are educated.
If privately funded vouchers improve educational options for children (and the vast majority of research says they do), then society is better for it. Society is worse off if we eliminate options for students struggling in schools simply because newspaper editors and politicians are concerned about the geography of where the education occurs.
Ultimately, parents have another selfish motive beyond double paying tuition – they want the best education possible for their own children. That’s just good parenting. Why do these editors want to stand in the way of that?
Grade: Needs Improvement
Gordan Laffer – Economic Policy Institute
Last week Gordon Laffer, an associate professor at the University of Oregon and research fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, made a case against charter schools in a report titled “Do poor kids deserve lower-quality education than rich kids?”
Well obviously, the answer is “no,” but the title offers a clue as to how the report unfolds. The main thrust of the report is to study the impact of “privatization” (aka charter schools) on low-income students.
However, Laffer ignores what other researchers say about that subject. In fact, when he cites the CREDO report on charter school performance, he only mentions the results for all students of all income levels.
But what does CREDO actually say about the charter school impact on low-income students? Continue Reading →