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School Voucher Plans Can Stop the Propaganda Machines of the Left

 

Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, has been going at warp speed to make changes in the state. His latest effort is to deal with a 14,000-student waiting list for a state tax credit scholarship program. But he’s getting resistance from the usual suspects—the school unions and traditional administrators. I realized, however, that the fight is about much more than union control; it’s about who controls the minds of our children.

Gov. Jeb Bush started the first-in-the-nation private voucher program, enacted in 1999. Unfortunately his efforts were stopped:

In a 5-2 ruling in 2006, justices ruled that Bush’s voucher [plan] violated language in the state constitution by giving children in the state’s lowest-rated public schools taxpayer money to attend private or parochial schools.

In the meantime, the state provided for corporations to receive tax credits for funds donated to a scholarship program for low-income students, a way to side-step the ruling:

About 100,000 lower-income, mostly black and Hispanic students in almost 1,800 private schools receive scholarships ranging from about $6,500 to just over $7,000 each. But Step Up for Students, the largest of two state-approved scholarship organizations, has seen a large waiting list grow for scholarships this year.

As a result, a new program called the Family Empowerment Scholarship, may have a better chance of succeeding in funding the voucher plan. And if the legislation is challenged in the courts, Gov. DeSantis has appointed three new justices to the state Supreme Court. The House Speaker Jose Oliva points to Bush in his support for the proposal:

‘I think we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first step toward an education savings account,’ Oliva said, citing the term used for one method of giving parents public money and control over what kind of school their child will attend.

‘Through those two decades, there have been numerous attempts, and there have been legal fights and political fights, but I think ultimately, we have been always very clear. We feel the money should follow the student.’

Of course, critics of the legislation point to their usual concerns: taking money from the public schools; falsified fire and health inspections, run-down facilities and hiring teachers with criminal records and without college degrees. In contrast to these objections, substantial research has been done to validate the benefits of school choice programs. Although private schools are not required to report directly to the state, there are many ways to track violations.

What struck me is that no one has mentioned perhaps the most positive aspects of funding schools other than public schools: the public school leftist propaganda machine could be severely wounded.

Think about it: the Leftist educational establishment will not be able to dictate the curriculum for private and parochial schools. Certainly, some of the new schools could allow the Leftist agenda, but if enough schools and their administrators decide to take back the schools, who will stop them from offering a balanced curriculum?

Imagine having teachers encouraged, if not required, to speak about the Founders and the heroes of this nation. Imagine explaining the pluses and minuses not only of free enterprise but the failures of socialism. Consider that our students could actually learn how this country was formed, how it grew and how today it is the most successful country in the world.

In a poll taken by the Foundation for Excellence in Education in January, 80% of voters surveyed broadly support school choice, or options outside an assigned neighborhood school. The Foundation was started by Bush and has grown into the largest school-choice effort in the nation.

This could be one small step to taking back our education system, one state at a time.

I vote yes!

 

Published in Education
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There are 39 comments.

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  1. Member

    From Arizona, a bastion of deplorables, the program has it’s critics in Arizona – the usual suspects of course that wish to monopolize education.

    Arizona provides tax credits for contributions made to Certified School Tuition Organizations which provide scholarships to students enrolled in Arizona private schools. Credits are available for donations made by individual taxpayers and for donations made by corporate taxpayers.

    The link has a list of the different school tuition organizations that participate in the program.

    • #1
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:05 am
    • 3 likes
  2. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    From Arizona, a bastion of deplorables, the program has it’s critics in Arizona – the usual suspects of course that wish to monopolize education.

    Arizona provides tax credits for contributions made to Certified School Tuition Organizations which provide scholarships to students enrolled in Arizona private schools. Credits are available for donations made by individual taxpayers and for donations made by corporate taxpayers.

    That’s wonderful, @dougwatt. I wonder if anyone is tracking who is opening schools and who is deciding the curriculum. I’d love to know if there’s any shift away from the Left agenda at all. Efforts in this direction might give us the opportunity to make inroads to curriculum/propaganda of the Left.

    • #2
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:10 am
    • Like
  3. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: In a poll taken by the Foundation for Excellence in Education in January, 80% of voters surveyed broadly support school choice, or options outside an assigned neighborhood school.

    Yet a large percentage of that 80% still vote for a party which will never pass a school voucher bill . . .

    • #3
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:18 am
    • 3 likes
  4. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: In a poll taken by the Foundation for Excellence in Education in January, 80% of voters surveyed broadly support school choice, or options outside an assigned neighborhood school.

    Yet a large percentage of that 80% still vote for a party which will never pass a school voucher bill . . .

    That’s true, but my hope is that wanting the best for our kids goes beyond partisan politics. I think there are many outside the education unions who have grown to resent unions, and maybe they’re realizing that those teachers are looking out for themselves, not the kids. Time will tell. Thanks, @stad.

    • #4
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:27 am
    • 1 like
  5. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    That’s true, but my hope is that wanting the best for our kids goes beyond partisan politics.

    Apparently not, sadly.

    What bothers me the most are blacks. They overwhelmingly support vouchers and school choice, but continue to vote for a party that will never free their children from lousy urban schools. It also saddens me that Republicans don’t get more aggressive promoting vouchers, and using that to court the black vote.

    • #5
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:32 am
    • 4 likes
  6. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    From Arizona, a bastion of deplorables, the program has it’s critics in Arizona – the usual suspects of course that wish to monopolize education.

    Arizona provides tax credits for contributions made to Certified School Tuition Organizations which provide scholarships to students enrolled in Arizona private schools. Credits are available for donations made by individual taxpayers and for donations made by corporate taxpayers.

    That’s wonderful, @dougwatt. I wonder if anyone is tracking who is opening schools and who is deciding the curriculum. I’d love to know if there’s any shift away from the Left agenda at all. Efforts in this direction might give us the opportunity to make inroads to curriculum/propaganda of the Left.

    Home schoolers, and private schools have to meet the same number of classroom days, or hours that are mandated for public schools. The Arizona tax credit is also available for those that wish to donate to the public school of their choice.

    This program gives Arizonans a chance to directly fund a scholarship before the money is available to lobbyists and unions in the state legislature. 

     

    • #6
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:34 am
    • 3 likes
  7. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Home schoolers, and private schools have to meet the same number of classroom days, or hours that are mandated for public schools. The Arizona tax credit is also available for those that wish to donate to the public school of their choice.

    Excellent. I’m not clear on whether scholarships of some sort might be available for home schoolers. The bill is still in process. But there are costs of field trips, books and other materials. It will be interesting to see the final version.

    • #7
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:40 am
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  8. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Let’s not forget Hillsdale College, too! They are setting up Barney schools all over. I would think they could use these funds, too!

    • #8
    • March 11, 2019 at 6:45 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Member

    Home schooling is a bit more complex. The requirements that must be met are state requirements, and parents must contact their county of residence.

    Info for Pinal County.

    • #9
    • March 11, 2019 at 7:12 am
    • 2 likes
  10. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Home schooling is a bit more complex. The requirements that must be met are state requirements, and parents must contact the county their county of residence.

    Info for Pinal County.

    It’s clearly not easy to do home schooling; there are a number of hoops to jump through, but if a person is seriously motivated to educate his or her child at home, it’s do-able. It looks like there’s a lot of support available, too. I think that a certain amount of rigor makes sense. Thanks for the information.

    • #10
    • March 11, 2019 at 7:20 am
    • 2 likes
  11. Coolidge

    Susan Quinn: Think about it: the Leftist educational establishment will not be able to dictate the curriculum for private and parochial schools.

    In my experience parochial schools are still too leftie for me. They use the same books and base curriculum as public schools. But, at least some of the parents and teachers are moderates, so kids might learn that there are other thoughts out there. It is my hope that gen-Z will rebel against authority and embrace liberty and capitalism.

    • #11
    • March 11, 2019 at 7:35 am
    • 3 likes
  12. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Think about it: the Leftist educational establishment will not be able to dictate the curriculum for private and parochial schools.

    In my experience parochial schools are still too leftie for me. They use the same books and base curriculum as public schools. But, at least some of the parents and teachers are moderates, so kids might learn that there are other thoughts out there. It is my hope that gen-Z will rebel against authority and embrace liberty and capitalism.

    I’m going to see if there is research on this, @dong. But that’s not saying that new schools, especially started by conservative communities, might not be concerned enough to strike out on their own. I share your hope!

    • #12
    • March 11, 2019 at 8:41 am
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  13. Member

    Susan, I think that vouchers or charter schools hold out some hope of countering Left-wing curricula.

    There is a different risk, though. Private schools could become dependent on government money, and when Leftists take charge, they can force Left-leaning curricula on such schools.

    Hillsdale doesn’t take any government money for exactly this reason.

    • #13
    • March 11, 2019 at 11:26 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Susan, I think that vouchers or charter schools hold out some hope of countering Left-wing curricula.

    There is a different risk, though. Private schools could become dependent on government money, and when Leftists take charge, they can force Left-leaning curricula on such schools.

    Hillsdale doesn’t take any government money for exactly this reason.

    Good point. In the case of Florida, however, the state funds are going to a foundation and the foundation awards the funds to each student. As the legislator says, the money follows the student. Could the funds dry up? They could. But my understanding is that the Foundation will not be beholden to the state.

    • #14
    • March 11, 2019 at 11:32 am
    • Like
  15. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    The link on Hillsdale goes into more detail, but they do accept state funds at this time:

    Per Florida law, 75 percent of the funding used per student in a public school will be granted to each student who attends TCCA (Treasure Coast Classical Academy). Snyder said this, along with targeted marketing, will help draw students to TCCA from across the socioeconomic spectrum. The article also says:“Martin County has the highest private school enrollment of the 67 counties in the state of Florida, and what that tells us is that, as great as the public schools are, parents are looking for another alternative,” Snyder said. “We can bring this amazing offering here and fill that void.”

    • #15
    • March 11, 2019 at 11:39 am
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  16. Member

    The public school system has to be the greediest, most voracious consumer of tax dollars outside of SS, Medicare, and Medicaid — especially state dollars. Which is why every time I hear the complaint that charter schools (which are public schools!) and other alternatives are “taking money from public schools” it sets my hair on fire. Do the public schools expect to receive funds for students they don’t serve??? Apparently they do. Greedy bastards.

    Regular public school teachers are the highest paid of all primary school educators. They have cushy packages for retirement, too, with medical and pensions (for as long as that lasts). They’re followed by charter school teachers’ salaries, which are about midway between regular public school teachers and private school teachers, who really are underpaid. And these latter two have to make do with way fewer resources than regular public schools — and usually do a much better job of educating children. Especially if they’re Hillsdale charter schools, which are top notch.

    The public school system deserves to be destroyed for mal-educating generations of Americans. Public schools delenda est! Start with schools of education at universities. 

    My sympathies to Ricochet’s teachers. But, when you’re at war, there will be collateral damage. 

    • #16
    • March 12, 2019 at 7:30 am
    • 3 likes
  17. Member

    The public school system is our biggest problem. We must have extensive school choice, the goal being complete school choice. Public schools include some of our best and parents will continue to choose them, but they must be free to do so then even the good ones can free themselves from the destructive teachers unions. 

    • #17
    • March 12, 2019 at 7:42 am
    • 1 like
  18. Coolidge

    This is the most important issue for us by far. Thank you for writing about it! I think the biggest challenges are convincing the conservative movement to make it a priority, then marketing the idea to the broader public…

    • #18
    • March 12, 2019 at 7:59 am
    • 2 likes
  19. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    @westernchauvinist got me thinking about another concern we will have in changing the schools. Can we do a test of new teachers that asks them if they support the Right or Left? Maybe we could ask them to tell us the most important aspects of American History. Or who do they think is the most important Founder. If they give us a blank stare, we can tell them to move along . . .

    Or maybe we just need to ask them what they think of Karl Marx or Mao. Hey, this is kind of fun . . .

    • #19
    • March 12, 2019 at 8:04 am
    • Like
  20. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    JimmyV87 (View Comment):

    This is the most important issue for us by far. Thank you for writing about it! I think the biggest challenges are convincing the conservative movement to make it a priority, then marketing the idea to the broader public…

    You’re right, @jimmyv, only the Republicans can’t seem to figure out their priorities, or they keep changing them, or they decide not to fight for them. We may need to do a lot of these changes on our own.

    • #20
    • March 12, 2019 at 8:05 am
    • Like
  21. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The link on Hillsdale goes into more detail, but they do accept state funds at this time:

    Per Florida law, 75 percent of the funding used per student in a public school will be granted to each student who attends TCCA (Treasure Coast Classical Academy). Snyder said this, along with targeted marketing, will help draw students to TCCA from across the socioeconomic spectrum. The article also says:“Martin County has the highest private school enrollment of the 67 counties in the state of Florida, and what that tells us is that, as great as the public schools are, parents are looking for another alternative,” Snyder said. “We can bring this amazing offering here and fill that void.”

    Sadly, this makes me more nervous about the plan. Supposedly non-partisan commissions and foundations are almost always taken over by the other side.

    • #21
    • March 12, 2019 at 8:48 am
    • Like
  22. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The link on Hillsdale goes into more detail, but they do accept state funds at this time:

    Per Florida law, 75 percent of the funding used per student in a public school will be granted to each student who attends TCCA (Treasure Coast Classical Academy). Snyder said this, along with targeted marketing, will help draw students to TCCA from across the socioeconomic spectrum. The article also says:“Martin County has the highest private school enrollment of the 67 counties in the state of Florida, and what that tells us is that, as great as the public schools are, parents are looking for another alternative,” Snyder said. “We can bring this amazing offering here and fill that void.”

    Sadly, this makes me more nervous about the plan. Supposedly non-partisan commissions and foundations are almost always taken over by the other side.

    Which plan? The new plan or Hillsdale?

    Edit: The revised system keeps the money with the students who (with their parents) will choose their schools. We don’t know where they’ll go, but the odds are better for a balanced education if they’re not in the public schools.

    • #22
    • March 12, 2019 at 8:50 am
    • Like
  23. Thatcher
    EB

    And this is only part of what DeSantis has been doing in his first 2 months. Here is a good article about the initiatives he has already started.

    He replaced three Florida supreme court justices with strong conservatives.

    He pioneered Florida Deregathon to target red tape in all agencies.

    He accepted the resignation of Broward County elections director Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher, her Palm Beach County counterpart. He also sacked Broward County sheriff Scott Israel.

    He replaced the entire South Florida Water Management District with appointees not in the pocket of the heavily subsidized sugar industry — a notorious polluter.

    • #23
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:32 am
    • 2 likes
  24. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Think about it: the Leftist educational establishment will not be able to dictate the curriculum for private and parochial schools.

    In my experience parochial schools are still too leftie for me. They use the same books and base curriculum as public schools. But, at least some of the parents and teachers are moderates, so kids might learn that there are other thoughts out there. It is my hope that gen-Z will rebel against authority and embrace liberty and capitalism.

    I’m going to see if there is research on this, @dong. But that’s not saying that new schools, especially started by conservative communities, might not be concerned enough to strike out on their own. I share your hope!

    Accreditation processes are the second prong needing attention. This is where the issue goes beyond the public school systems and why it is recognizable that indoctrination is accomplished in private and charter schools as well as public. Accreditation reform for elementary and secondary school curricula must take place.

    • #24
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:39 am
    • 2 likes
  25. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Accreditation processes are the second prong needing attention. This is where the issue goes beyond the public school systems and why it is recognizable that indoctrination is accomplished in private and charter schools as well as public. Accreditation reform for elementary and secondary school curricula must take place.

    I only have a general idea of what the accreditation process is about. Could you make the connection for me regarding how reforming it will address our curricula issues, @bobthompson?

    • #25
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:44 am
    • Like
  26. Thatcher

    School choice is definitely the plum. Having worked for a private school and having two kids, one just starting school now, I know I’d prefer them far more over what the public system has to offer. Unfortunately, the unions have a rather tight grip on things. Utah, sometimes considered the reddest of red states actually had a voucher program (long before I moved here), but it was removed after some serious lobbying from the opposition.

    It’s an uphill battle just about anywhere. The unions and the bureaucrats have the language and default mindset on their side.

    • #26
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:50 am
    • 1 like
  27. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Accreditation processes are the second prong needing attention. This is where the issue goes beyond the public school systems and why it is recognizable that indoctrination is accomplished in private and charter schools as well as public. Accreditation reform for elementary and secondary school curricula must take place.

    I only have a general idea of what the accreditation process is about. Could you make the connection for me regarding how reforming it will address our curricula issues, @bobthompson?

    I’m no more up to date on specifics than you so we both need to ask for someone here more familiar with accreditation details that have led to the implementation of curricula that leaves young people uninformed regarding the principles underlying the political and economic foundations of America.

    • #27
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:51 am
    • 2 likes
  28. Coolidge

    Susan , Great Post. This is a huge issue.

    Our indoctrination academies need to be put out of business for good. The future of the country depends on it, otherwise we will become a nation of useless brainwashed drones that only respond to the implanted triggers of the leftist narrative.

    I second Western C’s thoughts totally .

    Don G is also right. Private schools are also infected without question.

    President Trumps EO to mandate freedom of speech at the college level is also a good start to bring back truth to education, but much, much more needs to be done.

    I favor an unyielding and rightful application of the Equal Protection clause to all government funded school and university activities where all reasonable points of view across the political and religious spectrum are heard in a fair and unbiased manner so students will be allowed and encouraged to make up their own minds rather than being indoctrinated. To me the present indoctrination system is downright criminal and a grotesque violation of our Constitutional rights.

    • #28
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:55 am
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    School choice is definitely the plum. Having worked for a private school and having two kids, one just starting school now, I know I’d prefer them far more over what the public system has to offer. Unfortunately, the unions have a rather tight grip on things. Utah, sometimes considered the reddest of red states actually had a voucher program (long before I moved here), but it was removed after some serious lobbying from the opposition.

    It’s an uphill battle just about anywhere. The unions and the bureaucrats have the language and default mindset on their side.

    I was living in Utah when that voucher program was rescinded. I was at odds with my daughter who has children in the public system. She and I rarely disagree on political issues. What seemed to be her strongest objection to private school vouchers was closely related to her sense that there was a cadre of corrupt people waiting to get their mitts on that voucher money and there is plenty of this type of behavior in Utah. The indoctrination component is less effective in public schools there than in the rest of the country but that won’t last much longer if something isn’t done.

    • #29
    • March 12, 2019 at 9:58 am
    • 3 likes
  30. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    What seemed to be her strongest objection to private school vouchers was closely related to her sense that there was a cadre of corrupt people waiting to get their mitts on that voucher money and there is plenty of this type of behavior in Utah.

    So she was concerned that the money might be misused, because there are other areas of corruption in Utah? It seems like there should be some accountability for performance by students and/or the schools. Maybe audits need to be done by a third party. (I wouldn’t trust the state to audit, that’s for sure.)

    • #30
    • March 12, 2019 at 10:15 am
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