As school choice advocate, I'd like to give some personal insight into the failings of the school voucher system.
In Ohio, they've instituted a program called EdChoice http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Oth...arship-Program
This sounds great, right?? Not so fast.The Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Program provides students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program also provides low income students who are entering kindergarten through fourth grade the same opportunity. The program provides up to 60,000 EdChoice scholarships to eligible students.
My son attends a private school that accepts EdChoice scholarships. I'm glad to report that I haven't noticed any strict strings attached that have altered the curriculum, which was certainly a fear. But what I have noticed, and it is clear as day, is that the families who get these "scholarships" do not value the education of their children the way those of us who are paying for it do.
Because of this, these parents do not devote the kind of time outside of school to educate on behavior issues or to reinforce the subject matter. At least not in the same way the rest of us do. The effect of this is that their kids slow down the learning of the class. The teacher spends an inordinate amount of time in correcting their behavior and even more time ensuring that these kids are not falling behind. So instead of learning new things every day, our children end up in the same rote repetition we sought to avoid. And WE'RE paying for it!
I love the curriculum and pedagogical approach of our school, but to increase enrollment, nearly 25% of the children are now on EdChoice. It put the entire school in a catch-22. If they stop accepting these kids, enrollment will drop so low that the tuition increases would be prohibitive. If they keep accepting these kids, it will further water down the benefits of this great school. This is just sad.
We've brought it up to the board, but they're in quite a bind and they can't find their way out. At least not as fast as we need them to. So, now we're considering sending him to another private school that has already learned their lesson with EdChoice and stopped accepting it. This school was lucky that they only had a few students and ending it didn't affect the school. I don't like the curriculum as much, but it's much cheaper and the parents care.
Great job, Ohio! You took school choice and demonstrated to the rest of the country how NOT to do it.
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