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Old 05-01-2012, 04:14 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 29,984,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneNative View Post
Parents love it. Voters love it. And it is (arguably, I suppose) good for kids. But who cares about voters and parents and their kids, right? The thing that really matters is a single judge's quixotic reading of caselaw. It's absurd, and it would be funny were it not for the fact that those same voters, parents, and kids are being harmed because of it.
I am a parent, I am a voter, and my children are in public schools, and I do not love it. It hasn't been good for my kids. It has taken money away from their school. Ya, really great. The school board should be spending their time and our tax money improving the PUBLIC schools that they were intrusted to oversee, not sending our students and money elsewhere.

A single judge? Ever hear of separation of church and state? You are quite welcome to send your kid to a religious school, but you are not welcome to spend public tax money to do it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:36 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 29,984,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
As a resident of Colorado Springs (where we'd NEVER force-feed any particular political or religious agenda down people's throats) you south Denver people are SHOCKINGLY crazy and ideological!!! Sorry to interject but this topic is fascinating. Does this ultimately boil down to a basic separation of church/state thing or are there other issues at work here? Parents of a certain ideology who (i) prefer not to subject their children to wickedness such as math/science, (ii) wouldn't mind the Ten Commandments read aloud daily by all students after the Pledge, and(iii) would still prefer to have access to public money to finance their kids' education? All of the above is very, very understandable. Human Nature 101. Assuming it's not simply an attempt to turn the whole public educational process into a thinly-concealed Bible Study, what exactly is the issue?

Full disclaimer: I and my spouse are among "those" Christians who remember that the whole separation of Church and State thing was/is designed to PROTECT religious liberty from oppressive regimes. You think the pilgrims ate dirt to survive and died in droves because the view from Nantucket was pretty? The fundamental basis upon which this country first came together was the right to practice religious freely and the genius of our founders was to honor this by formally separating church and state. Very hard thing to keep apart though, like two powerful magnets inexorably pulling back together (I know about magnets because I had some decent science classes back in public high school).

I look forward (sincerely) to being educated by this thread that this fear/bias is unfounded. That the whole national/state/local voucher/charter thing is NOT about that.
This is part of it. The other part of it is the desire of some to do away with public education all together. Some think we should all pay to educate our own. The problem with that is the rich will pay for their kids to go to good schools, and their kids will go on to become more rich people. The poor families will not be able to afford the good schools, and their kids will stay poor and uneducated, and will breed more poor uneducated people. I prefer the current system of attempting to educate everyone regardless of income so that everyone will have an opportunity to succeed.

People will tell you it is "their" tax money and they should decide how it is spent, but name one other place that is done. I certainly don't get to specify that my taxes go toward maintaining only the roads I drive on, for example.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,615,348 times
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I don't have children and I live in Denver; not Douglas County. The last I heard about the voucher program is that a judge had stopped it, at least for now. Based on what I know (and it's possible that I've missed some of the details), nobody really knows what effect the vouchers will have on the district, since the program had been halted, right?

I guess what I'm getting at is that it might be a bad idea, but I've got to give the board credit for trying something new and possibly innovative, even if it fails. Sure, Douglas County isn't exactly a poor inner-city district, but why not give the voucher program a try, and if it's an utter failure, re-evaluate it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:12 PM
 
Location: here
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
I don't have children and I live in Denver; not Douglas County. The last I heard about the voucher program is that a judge had stopped it, at least for now. Based on what I know (and it's possible that I've missed some of the details), nobody really knows what effect the vouchers will have on the district, since the program had been halted, right?

I guess what I'm getting at is that it might be a bad idea, but I've got to give the board credit for trying something new and possibly innovative, even if it fails. Sure, Douglas County isn't exactly a poor inner-city district, but why not give the voucher program a try, and if it's an utter failure, re-evaluate it.
How would the board define an utter failure? They don't seem to care if kids leave and their money goes with them. they don't seem to mind cutting classes and lowering graduation requirements. I'm not sure that their definition of failure would be.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,615,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
How would the board define an utter failure? They don't seem to care if kids leave and their money goes with them. they don't seem to mind cutting classes and lowering graduation requirements. I'm not sure that their definition of failure would be.
I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas out there. I would be interested to see how many students choose to stay within the district vs. how many use the vouchers to attend private schools. Maybe there wouldn't be a mass exodus of students to private schools. I'd also be interested to see what achievement looks like in terms of performance of schools once the voucher program is in place, just to see if the vouchers had an effect (i.e., did all of the 'smart kids' leave their public school, and is performance generally better/worse than it was pre-voucher?). Also, I'd be interested to see if the voucher program really had the devastating financial effect on the district that many are claiming. Finally, I would be interested to see if parents and students liked the voucher program if it was given a chance. The goal is to provide students with an education, after all, and not simply to 'keep money within the district.'
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:41 AM
 
811 posts, read 1,224,017 times
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What is the practical difference between "vouchers" and "open-enrollment," where parents can send their kids to any school in any district, space permitting? Is it that vouchers can be used to pay the tuition at private (I presume religous) schools?

I don't quite grasp the tax issue. I live in a high-income high property-value area in El Paso County. The property taxes I pay which are allocated to public education, as far as I know, go entirely to our local school district, which is consistently ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in Colorado in student achievement, CSAP scores, etc. I did not create this system and I clearly the see the flaws when I drive by lower-income schools in "less well off" neighborhoods which look where the school looks like something straight out of a third world country. However, it is the system we have and I prefer my kids live in the "safe" neighborhood and go to the best-funded schools. The taxes I and my neighbors pay keep our local schools excellent and, as far as I can tell, do nothing for the less fortunate kids.

I sort of don't get the tax/allocation issue as its ALREADY set up to benefit the high-income kids, who really need it the least as they'd tend to achieve academically regardless of how well-funded their schools.

I suppose I do understand the desire to destroy the teacher's union. It's one of the few unions left with any clout, other than the pro-athlete unions. If you're idealogically opposed to unions, the teachers are the softest, juiciest target. 'Cause we all know teachers already get paid WAYYYYYY too much for what they do! Better to keep them down in the $36K/year maximum possible salary like the Charter Schools offer. That way we'll attract the best and brightest and reverse the educational slide the US has experienced relative to other "advanced" countries in recent decades.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:03 AM
 
76 posts, read 208,186 times
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The district receives, from the state, roughly $4,800 per student. The district, when their voucher program was up and running prior to the ACLU lawsuit, allotted roughly 500 "scholarships" to DCSD students. The money being allocated out of the $4,800 for the scholarship was roughly $3,725 going to the receiving partner school. Brilliant really...district brings in $4.8k and puts out $3.7k, does not have to pay salaries, benefits, school maintenance, etc. The district wins in the end (tongue in cheek). Too bad the district spent $7MILLION dollars defending themselves in the lawsuit. They potentially could have put that $7MILLION towards their students...
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:38 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 29,984,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
What is the practical difference between "vouchers" and "open-enrollment," where parents can send their kids to any school in any district, space permitting? Is it that vouchers can be used to pay the tuition at private (I presume religous) schools?

yes. open enrollment just means you can request to go to any public school you want.

I don't quite grasp the tax issue. I live in a high-income high property-value area in El Paso County. The property taxes I pay which are allocated to public education, as far as I know, go entirely to our local school district, which is consistently ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in Colorado in student achievement, CSAP scores, etc. I did not create this system and I clearly the see the flaws when I drive by lower-income schools in "less well off" neighborhoods which look where the school looks like something straight out of a third world country. However, it is the system we have and I prefer my kids live in the "safe" neighborhood and go to the best-funded schools. The taxes I and my neighbors pay keep our local schools excellent and, as far as I can tell, do nothing for the less fortunate kids.

I sort of don't get the tax/allocation issue as its ALREADY set up to benefit the high-income kids, who really need it the least as they'd tend to achieve academically regardless of how well-funded their schools.

sort of. IIRC lower income districts actually get more money from the state than higher income districts do.


I suppose I do understand the desire to destroy the teacher's union. It's one of the few unions left with any clout, other than the pro-athlete unions. If you're idealogically opposed to unions, the teachers are the softest, juiciest target. 'Cause we all know teachers already get paid WAYYYYYY too much for what they do! Better to keep them down in the $36K/year maximum possible salary like the Charter Schools offer. That way we'll attract the best and brightest and reverse the educational slide the US has experienced relative to other "advanced" countries in recent decades.
that's debatable, and varies by location I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parker View Post
The district receives, from the state, roughly $4,800 per student. The district, when their voucher program was up and running prior to the ACLU lawsuit, allotted roughly 500 "scholarships" to DCSD students. The money being allocated out of the $4,800 for the scholarship was roughly $3,725 going to the receiving partner school. Brilliant really...district brings in $4.8k and puts out $3.7k, does not have to pay salaries, benefits, school maintenance, etc. The district wins in the end (tongue in cheek). Too bad the district spent $7MILLION dollars defending themselves in the lawsuit. They potentially could have put that $7MILLION towards their students...
except that the "left over" money didn't go back to the neighborhood public schools. It stayed to pay for administration of the fake charter school the district created to launder the money that ended up at the private schools.

From the beginning the district presented this as a money maker for the district, and it just isn't.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 29,984,374 times
Reputation: 32387
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas out there. I would be interested to see how many students choose to stay within the district vs. how many use the vouchers to attend private schools. Maybe there wouldn't be a mass exodus of students to private schools. I'd also be interested to see what achievement looks like in terms of performance of schools once the voucher program is in place, just to see if the vouchers had an effect (i.e., did all of the 'smart kids' leave their public school, and is performance generally better/worse than it was pre-voucher?). Also, I'd be interested to see if the voucher program really had the devastating financial effect on the district that many are claiming. Finally, I would be interested to see if parents and students liked the voucher program if it was given a chance. The goal is to provide students with an education, after all, and not simply to 'keep money within the district.'
Ya, but if it unconstitutional, it doesn't get "a chance."

Our public schools are high-achieving. If they aren't or weren't, then the district should see what they could to to improve them. All vouchers do is give a family a tuition reduction at a school they could most likely have afforded anyway. Private schools offer scholarships for people that can't afford it; for the others, if the family can afford to spend $15K on tuition, they can afford to spend $19K. I don't see how a voucher would make the difference.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
3,111 posts, read 4,883,135 times
Reputation: 5429
Education is unique in that there is a public (free) option and a private (pay) option.

Proponents of vouchers contend that private schools offer better results, and therefore the public should subsidize students that wish to attend those schools.

Private schools achieve better results because:
a) they offer smaller class sizes,
b) they can pick their students through admissions tests, etc., and
c) because of greater parental involvement.

Tuition at private schools is often double or triple the amount of money per student that the public school receives.

Maybe what we should do is make public schools more like private schools by:
- Giving them greater funding. A public high school gets around $6000 per student, tuition at private schools run from $10,000 - $20,000 per student.

- Letting schools choose their students, and kick out students who hinder the educational process.

- Mandating that parents commit a certain amount of volunteer time to the school.

When you live in a high achieving district, public schools are a huge bargain. Students at several public schools around the area achieve at levels comparable to private schools. This is why vouchers in Douglas County do not make sense, unless a particular agenda (political, religious, social) is advanced by the private school.
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