Thursday, May 24, 2012

School Vouchers Are A Trojan Horse

A friend sent around an article suggesting that Mitt Romney is trying to ride in on a white horse as the knight anointed to save our public schools and reverse the fiscal malaise facing them.  I got off on a rant, and here's my response to the article.

Any time some one suggests we hand every one a coupon or voucher so that they can "spend" their education dollars wherever they want, this essentially is code for keeping the rich rich and the poor poor.  Just ask yourself, if you are a single parent, working two jobs just to cover the rent, and you have two kids that you need to send to school, will any voucher that you receive give you enough capital to send your kid to the "best" school? Nope.   What's the likelihood that any kind of voucher program is slashed until it's ground down to zero? Perhaps an exploration of what is happening to food stamp vouchers is instructive as well.

The reason why the wealthy love this voucher idea is that it gives them their tax money back, and they throw as much of their "hard earned" cash at the private school of their choice, and basically screw all the kids who come from poor families and cannot afford the tuition at Exeter or Choate Rosemary Hall or other some such school.  Basically, the voucher "liberates" allocated tax dollars and removes legally prescribed funds from all schools and puts it at schools who don't need the funding in the first place.  After all, the wealthy will use their funds, extracted from the public trust, and put is where they believe they will get the higher ROI; which is where they are already putting their money anyway. 

Here's a good example.  How much does it cost to send a child to French American these days?  If all those parents sucked their tax money out of the SFUSD, and then put those funds somewhere, would they be inclined to select a public school or stick with French American? Of course, they would run with the vouchers to French American thankful that they got the extra capital they didn't need in the first place to prop up their school?  Who wins? The kid already going to French American, who by default can already afford it. Who loses? The public school system kids as those funds diverted to whatever private school would no longer be used to support our beloved SFUSD schools, as those who can will "spend it" elsewhere.

This is why I always say, there's a dramatic difference between an equal opportunity for an education and an equal opportunity for an EQUAL education....but I digress.

The GOP folks are only in it for themselves, and their plans lay that plain.  One day, I would love to find a fiscally responsible person who is also socially minded and vice versa in the same person...No wait, that's Obama.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It's Time for the People To Lead & Tell Our Elected Legislators to "Stop Clowning Around" with public school funding

In advance of tonight's School Site Council (SSC) and tomorrow's PTA meetings where many of us will be discussing the grim fiscal situation facing our wonderful school, we stand together lucky in that we are able to raise funds to support the values and programs we have grown to enjoy over the years.  Unfortunately, even as schools in the SFUSD are suffering, across the State we have a serious, potentially lethal fiscal problem to solve.

I encourage you to view this short video created by the folks at Educate our State. It's hard hitting and to the point.  It also issues a call to action.  Parents especially have been disengaged from the broader State-wide public school budget conversation.  We can no longer wait for our elected "leaders" to take the necessary steps to secure proper and adequate funding for all public schools across all grade levels (and public higher education as well).  It's time for us to stand up and lead our elected "leaders" because their politically generated circus has only resulted in harmful budget moves the effects of which you are most certainly fully aware (just how many furlough days are acceptable?).

Do me a favor. Watch this video. Take the steps to contact our legislators - or if you are from more remote districts originally, call your former representatives - and tell them to "Stop Clowning Around," and get serious about fully funding public education.  Remember, there's a serious difference between an equal opportunity for an equal education, and an equal opportunity for an EQUAL education.

Our kids can't wait, and their future children depend on us to act now.  They don't get a vote. But we do, and we can stand for what's right.  Join us and push out this message far and wide.

Share the link with your most conservative relatives.  Ask them to help as high quality education for all isn't a political concern. Securing proper and adequate funding is not only what's right for the future of our great state, but the first step in rectifying & turning around the extremely harmful trends/sentiment/political actions that are effectively destroying our once great public schools. 

Thank you