I’M VOUCHIN’ FOR VOUCHERS
O.K., I’m going to have to become a Utahn and have a
Now to the schools; the same principle applies. Let me say first of all that public schools do face difficult issues, and there are many great educators out there and they are heroes. They are underpaid and overworked. They have a difficult job and they do it well. They are making a difference for good in the lives of our children and they are often working under much less than ideal conditions. It has got to be frustrating. There are some schools in the area that are doing an excellent job with what they’ve got, and for the most part they are meeting the needs of their students and the families in their area are happy where they are. In other schools, excellence is the exception. The good teachers there know this, because they know who they are working with. Unfortunately, most of my experience in the public school system has been with the latter kind of school. When my oldest was going through elementary school, I didn’t have anywhere else to go but the local school. There were struggles. My child struggled to read. She was never engaged, or challenged in other areas. I could never get any help for my child. I was met with constant denial, downplaying the issues, evasiveness, downright lying, and what disturbed me most of all was an appalling amount of apathy about my child’s education. I felt very much that the children were on a conveyor belt and they were being pushed along through the system, and I had better get out of the way and let them keep it moving along. My child’s test results were a state secret and I had better not try to access them. I had to find someone outside the school to evaluate her and take the results back to get any kind of assistance at all. Then they put her in ESL without my permission. I finally got her some
Our schools have to meet all the same state requirements the regular public schools do. These schools as well as the private schools not only have to meet the same criteria, but the expectations of the parents enrolling their children there. I had to laugh at this argument, “Voucher laws authorize schools with too little oversight, no real coursework or attendance requirements, lax standards for teachers and minimal accountability to taxpayers. Risk of inadequate and unstable schools is high.” Weren’t they just describing my daughter’s old elementary school? And I know they aren’t the only ones. The fact of the matter is, alternative schools have a much lower risk of all these things going on because the parents are deeply involved in making sure they don’t happen. Another quote from the arguments against: “Most Utahns want increased investments in what works in classrooms-quality teachers, smaller class sizes, and high expectations for all students.” Now they are describing many of the excellent charter schools and private schools we have here, and describing the very qualities I didn’t find in a regular public school, so they just argued me into being pro vouchers. If the referendum passes, the public schools will be forced to work harder to meet the same standards the private and charter schools meet. It doesn’t take more money, because the charters are doing it with less. There are some real over crowding issues at some of the schools now, and this could only help alleviate it, getting class sizes down. Teaching will have to improve so that people will want to continue enrolling their children at the local school. Expectations will be raised. It doesn’t take more money to teach better or to raise expectations. It just takes vision and desire.
Lastly, and most disturbing, are these arguments. “The last thing