Debunking the pro-voucher spin

School-vouchersIf you haven’t already done so, check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File in which Chris highlights the most recent cynical efforts of anti-government crusaders to cloak their efforts to dismantle public education behind a protective phalanx of poor kids and their families. As Chris notes in discussing yesterday’s efforts by voucher supporters to resist a broad-based lawsuit against the state’s new “Opportunity Scholarships” program:

“It’s an understandable strategic decision voucher supporters are making, claiming that their only concern is improving the education of poor kids. They’d rather not talk about their anti-government ideology that’s behind their crusade to dismantle public education, one of the last government institutions that enjoys widespread support.

That wouldn’t play well in the courts or with the public. People still overwhelmingly support public schools and oppose sketchy voucher schemes to divert education resources to unaccountable private and religious academies.

You don’t have to look very closely to see the contradictions in the claims by the right-wing groups behind the privatization crusade. One of the parents at a press conference organized by the Institute for Justice before the hearing said she wanted her child to attend a private school where the classes are smaller and he can receive more individualized attention.

It’s a common refrain from parents speaking for groups pushing voucher programs. But not only did the same General Assembly that created the voucher scheme remove limits on class sizes in public schools this year, the same right-wing tanks supporting vouchers tell us again and again that reducing class size doesn’t improve educational outcomes, that the state shouldn’t waste taxpayer dollars on reducing the number of students in a classroom.

It’s a safe bet that the think-tankers didn’t share their “research” on class size with the parent who spoke at this week’s press event. Or tell her that many students in the early grades will no longer get individual attention from teacher assistants to help them read thanks to the budget lawmakers passed last year that slashed funding for teacher assistants.”

Read the entire column by clicking here.

2 Comments

  1. Alan

    February 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent article. Let’s not forget the additional, and perhaps most appalling, ruse they are using to support their phony arguments, helping disabled children get access to a better education. The vouchers worth up to $6000/year, are “supposedly” to allow children with special needs to attend a private school, including services to homeschooled students. One condition of these vouchers is that the child must qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These are common in the public school system that has (past tense?) had the necessary resources to support. Just how many of the private schools here in NC, compared to public schools, actually have children with special needs in their classroom, and have the necessary support services to implement an IEP properly?
    We should call the voucher scheme precisely what it is, a government handout, welfare. The same anti-government ideologues, who are by extension anti-“government” schools, are the very same ones happy to cash the government check. I guess they believe adding disabled children to poor children gives them additional cover for their phony arguments?

  2. Jack

    February 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    From personal experience children with disabilities in private schools do not fare well when it comes to the school actually providing an accommodation. Whether the IEP is in a public or private school the administration and teachers take offense to creating an effective IEP. The parent really has to know what they are doing to get a meaningful IEP for their child.