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Education "vouchers" solve the fiscal crisis, and also lead to economic recovery?

Simply open up K-12 education to the market place, with government only playing a role by financing the students with a yearly education check of $8000.

*www.usagovernmentspending.com shows American local governments spending $458.3 billion for K-12 education in 2012.
*(Sir Ken Robinson says this education system is a complete failure)
*The new education cost of $8000 education check to 50 million K-12 students is $400 billion per year
*This saves $58.3 billion
*(a $6000 check would save $158.3 billion)
*The yearly education check allows students(and their parents) to choose how, when, where, and what they learn, and also who teaches them
*The yearly education check of $8000 opens up a $400B/year market to entrepreneurs, teachers, and creatives
*($6000 check opens up a $300B/year market to entrepreneurs, teachers, and creatives)

State fiscal crisis solved, federal fiscal crisis solved, and the new education market leads America's economic recovery.

Thoughts everyone?


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    Jan 10 2013: Interesting. Another question, if you would allow it, was the voucher program the only difference between the two systems?
    • Jan 10 2013: He didn't compare two systems...He just said we currently spend about $8,500 per student and wouldn't it be better if we just gave parents less money to try and find a better education?

      It is an absurd proposal...The math just doesn't work. Schools for profit would have to cut corners to make it profitable - at the expense of the student or the parent being forced to pay the rest of the tuition out of pocket.

      This would harm the middle class and the poor - both in cost and education quality.
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        Jan 10 2013: That is why I asked the question. There is a post farther down with a link to some a study that claims that the voucher system cut costs and improved test scores. My current stance is still against vouchers, but I would like to know more about his position, and if there is really a correlation. Just because there was a result in one study obviously does not mean we should be doing an education overall in the United States.
        • Jan 10 2013: The question remains whether or not it is comparing apples to apples. Are the same choices provided? i.e. Art, music, auto-shop, etc... As for performance and test scores, public schools teach everybody, while private schools can choose who they admit. If a private school only admits proven academic achievers, it would make perfect sense that their scores will be higher. The problem is, that doesn't tell us anything useful.

          I do think free markets innovate well, but they also cut corners. Besides, we can always hire innovators to make our not-for-profit schools more efficient (if that were really the problem). In reality, our public schools simply need to be funded properly.

          In the end, there is nothing that a private school can do that a public school can't also do, with the exception of teaching religion. That is the real motivation behind vouchers.
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        Jan 11 2013: I agree schools could use more funding, but I also think the real problem is that our funds are not proportioned efficiently. It should be more left up to the individual schools on where the funds go, and how the classroom operates.

        As for religious motivation behind vouchers, maybe? Do you perhaps have tangible evidence of this? As far as claiming that is the only advantage to going to a private school, that is not entirely true. There are usually better quality teachers and offer a more personalized environment. I know this because I have attended both private and public schools. So I do have a good perspective on the similarities and differences.
    • Jan 10 2013: Andrew, Good idea to move the posts to the top of the page.
      For everyone not scrolling to the bottom, excerpts come from: http://www.forbes.com/2011/02/08/education-school-choice-pennsylvania-opinions-contributors-dick-armey-ana-puig.html

      Meta analysis of 17 voucher studies:
      "out of 17 studies examining how vouchers affect academic achievement in public schools, 16 showed improvement. None showed that vouchers harm public schools. The review found that "every empirical study ever conducted in Milwaukee, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Maine and Vermont finds that voucher programs in those places improved public school."

      Washington DC longitudinal study:
      "In Washington, D.C., the young Opportunity Scholarship Program "significantly improved students' chances of graduating from high school," according to the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Both parents and students reported higher satisfaction and rated schools safer if the student was offered an OSP scholarship."

      Milwaukee longitudinal study:
      "Dr. John Warren of the University of Minnesota found that students in the MPCP had an 82% graduation rate in 2009, compared with 70% in Milwaukee Public Schools. MPCP ranked higher than MPS in graduation rate in six of the seven years in the study. A report from the University of Arkansas estimated that MPCP saved taxpayers $37.2 million in 2009, because the size of the voucher is significantly smaller than per-pupil spending in MPS."

      Senate testimony elaborating on the voucher studies and research methodology:
      • Jan 11 2013: From the conclusion of the Milwaukee study...

        "Whether the higher MPCP graduation rates are causal in nature — that is, whether these higher graduation rates are due to something real that is going on in MPCP schools — is a question that can only be addressed using a stronger research design."

        Page 7 - http://www.schoolchoicewi.org/data/research/2011-Grad-Study-FINAL3.pdf

        They simply don't know whether they are comparing apples to apples.

        I haven't looked into the rest of the studies yet.

        One common unsubstantiated complaint is that schools teach the test...Yet nothing stops private schools from doing that as well...In fact, private schools actually have a profit motive to do exactly that as well as pass undeserving students in non-state evaluated classes. It is cheaper to just teach the test.
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      Jan 11 2013: I agree with hardwood. Many states tried the same formula with Private ownership of the prison systems where the health and quality of life were depreciated in the pursuit of profits.

      I would expect to see a similar graph with the voucher program.

      There is one place where the voucher program might be of use. If we were to voucher college packages for those students who made excellent academic achievement, it might become a carrot for more students to seek academic achievement.

      Lets face the truth, most of those students who do well are self motivated and work harder for their accomplishments. Support at home is a plus, but kids who go to school during the day have plenty of time on their hands afterwards to play or pursue education. It's a personal choice. Both my wife and I came from poor backgrounds with uneducated parents and poverty level lifestyles. We both managed to achieve above average academic learning on our own with nothing more than the library for help and a few teachers who saw something worth prodding. While our achievements in the world are in no way note worthy, we have found satisfaction within our lives and still have a lust for learning.

      If industry accounts of education in the United States are correct, we could really use more academic achievers in this country.

      A college voucher program might have some merit.

      Also, Hardwoods offer that the original purpose of the voucher program is to decrease liberal minded influence in children has some merit. I did some checking and the idea does spring up strongly just after the 70's when educators were being accused of distorting the minds of religious youth with too many liberal ideas, especially in the area of science. We see another spike around the end of the 90's as well.

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