Monday, June 13, 2005

George Will: Teachers are slave masters

Vouchers are bad public policy. Period. They aren't a solution to the problem of troubled inner city schools; to the contrary, they will exacerbate the problems.

George Will weighs in on the voucher debate, likening vouchers to the underground railroad, and I guess by extension, likening public school teachers to slave masters and truancy officers to slave catchers. What a great metaphor, George. Real smart.

He also blames teacher unions for fighting against vouchers but fails to notice that, in Texas at least, it was Republicans that derailed them. Will also accuses voucher opponents of osbcurantism. Hello, pot? The kettle's calling.

The arguments against vouchers are not obscure. They will drain money from already underfunded public schools. Is that clear enough for you?

Oh yeah, giving tax dollars to religious schools (who could then legally exclude children who have different religous beliefs) is also bad public policy. Seems pretty clear to me.

Oh, one more thing, using vouchers for religious schools is against the state constitution of Florida. Yeah, yeah, Will says that it's a bad amendment that put it in there. Fine. That may be true, but it's still in there and -- any strict constructionist should understand this, right? -- if you let one part of a constitution go, it's a slippery slope. Where do you stop? If you want to change a constitution, you must amend it.

Or are George Will and the conservative movement calling for judicial activism on this one? Hmmmm... Funny how principles are so malleable these days, isn't it?

5 Comments:

Blogger Instructivist said...

"The arguments against vouchers are not obscure. They will drain money from already underfunded public schools. Is that clear enough for you?"

If pupils flow from public schools to other schools, then there will be fewer (possibly considerably fewer) pupils in public schools. If there are fewer pupils, then there will be less need for money. If the number of pupils approaches zero, then the need for money will also approach zero.

Your argument is based on a static view of need and falls apart when subjected to logic.

This is so clear.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Brink said...

Take an average elementary school as an example. Say they have 80 first graders divided amongst four teachers. Then a voucher program is instituted and five kids leave. The first grade now has 75 students. And yet each student brings $6,000 with them to their new school. The public school loses $30,000.

But according to Texas law, the school must maintain a 22:1 teacher to student ratio. They can't fire a teacher. They can't stop paying the utilities. They can't cut insurance for teachers. They can't stop running buses. So exactly where are the savings when a few students leave?

Or, as you seem to suggest, is the point of vouchers really to ensure that "the number of pupils approaches zero" and effectively kill off public schools as we know them.

So, instructivist, I'm not sure how you define logic, but using simple math, it's clear to see that vouchers would most definitely drain money from public schools without significantly reducing costs.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Instructivist said...

"Take an average elementary school as an example. Say they have 80 first graders divided amongst four teachers. Then a voucher program is instituted and five kids leave. The first grade now has 75 students. And yet each student brings $6,000 with them to their new school. The public school loses $30,000."

The obvious answer is to promote vouchers on a grander scale so that more than five pupils leave. Then you will need fewer teachers, APs, support staff, buses... This will reduce costs considerable. An added benefit of a reduced pupil population is the beauty of smallness. No more impersonal mass operations. A better rapport through closer personal interaction with those left behind while those who left receive the blessings of alternative schooling, if such blessings are indeed in the offing. In sum, a win-win situation.

You are also limiting yourself unnecessarily to one grade in your example. You need to look at the aggregate across grades.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Timotheus said...

And what do you think about Pell grants being used at religious colleges?

6:36 PM  
Anonymous farmerjoe said...

Vouchers are liberal, no ifs ands or buts about it. Use the private sector for vouchers, don't promote another big-government, intrusive into private entities, welfare payment, government subsidizing a personal choice (abortion anyone?), etc. program. The liberals should stop promoting big government programs such as this.

8:24 AM  

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