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Monday, April 21, 2014

Doug Tuthill plays tricks to sell vouchers

Doug Tuthill, who receives nearly a quarter million in salary as president of Step up for Students paints a pretty dramatic picture of a parent fighting for her child’s voucher in the Miami Herald.

It’s a pretty standard trick too. He says look at this one parent while simultaneously hoping you will ignore the millions of parents in the Parent Teacher Association who have come out against the proliferation of vouchers, who are fighting for their children.  

That however is not where his tricks stop. He says that children that receive vouchers were the lowest performers in the district’s schools they left behind. Some of them were but according to David Figilo the states voucher expert some of them were doing very well too. Later he omits that if his plan succeeds then the value of vouchers will go form under five to over six thousand dollars, the income of families that will be eligible jumps to over sixty thousand and the fees Step up for Students receive will nearly triple from about 8 to about 24 million dollars. That is money that will never see a class room. Most egregious however is he then makes light of the hundreds of millions of dollars annually siphoned out of already resource starved schools doesn’t hurt them.  

But tugging on heart strings and omitting information is where his tricks end because more people are becoming aware of the inner workings of Step up for Students. They have seen the video where they admit to paying off legislators with campaign donations and they know the only waiting list is one kept on the back of an envelope, Doug Tuthill’s own words in a piece on his blog, ReDefined Ed.  People understand that despite being able to pick who they take and keep children that attend vouchers don’t get better education out comes and they understand that private schools that take vouchers don’t have to have certified teachers or teachers with degrees, recognized curriculums and many teach creationism as science. Finally they understand how the proponents of vouchers resist accountability, saying state tests are good for public school children but bad for them.

Tuthill wants you to look at the few students vouchers do help while ignoring the fact most could get the same services in their public schools. However should the public really be forced to fund someone’s religious choice, distrust of “gov’ment” schools or irrational hatred of teacher unions?  Should we really be handicapping the many to help a few? Tuthill obviously thinks so.

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