Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vouchers aren't the answer

Last week, the Pioneer Institute hosted a forum and released a report, touting vouchers as something Massachusetts should chase down. The proposal, specifically, is:
school vouchers, worth $6,000 per year for grades K-8 and $8,000 for high school, be offered to 10,000 students with household incomes below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
Note that, per the Private School Review:
The average private school tuition in Massachusetts is $11,847 for elementary schools and $29,049 for high schools
..leaving families that are below 200 percent of the poverty rate to somehow come up with nearly $6000 per elementary student and $21,000 per high school student. Private schools, particularly, the parochial schools Pioneer seems to be targeting, aren't going to be able to scale up their financial aid systems to that level for additional kids.

Additionally, voucher systems are coming under wide criticism across the country, as they aren't doing what they were touted as doing: they don't improve student performance, they don't create "better" schools...they just don't do what they're said to*.

And while harkening back to the "Know Nothing" laws is clever ("we wouldn't want to be perceived as anti-Catholic, now, would we?"), I suspect that the Catholic schools don't really want the degree of state regulation and oversight--and testing--that the public schools now have.
We wouldn't, after all, want to give up "accountability," now, would we?

 *this last link is from 2008, demonstrating that the failure has been going on for some time. And these links are only a few of the plethora from which one can choose with a quick look at voucher research.

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