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Parents doing the dirty work for Step up for Studnets

Step up for Students is having parents do their dirty work for them. Another parent goes to bat for them in the Ocala Star-Banner , http://www.ocala.com/article/20140420/OPINION/140419646/- which means another parent asks us to subsidize her choice ignoring the fact her choice hurts us all.

When criticizing the Florida Parent Teacher Association for fighting for all children and families including hers, what Chanae Jackson-Baker is really doing is asking us to subsidize her choice to put her children in a private school.

As a parent I can understand that she is doing what she feels best even if she fails to acknowledge that private schools that take vouchers in Florida are the wild west of education.  Their teachers don’t have to be certified or even have degrees for that matter. Their curriculums don’t have to be regulated and many teach creationism as science and then despite their assertion that there is accountability, there is no way to measure it as they are required to take a norm referenced test rather than the states.

I spoke with David Figilo the states experts on vouchers and he said as a group students in private schools that take vouchers don’t perform any better than their public school counterparts. He went on to tell me there were some really excellent private schools that take vouchers, mostly religious schools, but there were some very poor ones too. I would like to add private schools that take vouchers can pick who they take and keep and can put requirements on parents something public schools can’t do.

The Parent Teacher association however has a different responsibility than an individual parent and that’s to look at the overall health of our public schools something through the siphoning away of resources is hurt by vouchers.  They understand that public schools are here to benefit all of us whether we have children attending them or not. They recognize that we should all want them to be as strong as possible and recognize the dilution of resources hurts us all.

Then there are lots of reasons why people might oppose the expansion of vouchers too. First for religious reasons, it doesn’t just blur the line between church and state it obliterates it. Then there is accountability, that John East and many voucher supporters’ fight against. They may take a test but there is no direct comparison between how voucher kids and public school kids are doing. Then it annually siphons hundreds of millions out of public schools, which are already starved for resources, and out of the tax base that goes to pay for other state services.

She also got a few things wrong. If Step up for Students gets their way, the values of the scholarships will go up to over six thousand dollars and the income of families eligible will exceed sixty thousand dollars. Then she never mentions that Step up for Students management fees will triple from around 8 to around 24 million dollars and that’s a year.

Vouchers undoubtedly do help a few students but if we are being honest how many students couldn’t get the same services in their public schools. 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? Should we really be subsidizing Chanae Jackson-Bakers choice, which may or may not help her, but hurts us all?

7 comments:

  1. Theoretically, aren't parents who pay to send their kids to private school also subsidizing children in public schools because they're paying all the taxes but the public schools and the state of Florida aren't paying anything to educate their children?

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  2. As are people with no students. If I invite you over to dinner and I am serving hamburgers should I supplement your preference for pizza?

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  3. I am Chanae Jackson-Baker and I must say that I find it ironic that I am deemed a pawn because I actually care about my children's education and them reaching their highest potential. As we speak my 9th grade son is attending school this week and watching Star Wars because they do not have enough computer terminals for him to take the FCAT with the other students. Next week he will be testing while all the other children are in class being educated and then forced to catch up. Removing my children from public school was one of the hardest choices that I ever had to make as a parent. I once believed in public school and truly believed that as long as I was a supportive parent, my children's teachers and I could work collaboratively to ensure their success. This notion sounds perfect in theory, but in actuality, it does not work like that at all... Try emailing or calling a teacher for weeks and not receiving a return phone call or email. Try proactively requesting a conference that is supposed to be mandatory for ALL teachers,but the one teacher where your child is struggling is the one teacher that does not come to the conference or send feedback.

    Ironically, when I drove to Tallahassee to show support for HB 7167, I only intended to show support with my presence (just as I do for other bills). However, it was the maliciousness of the opponents that prompted me to speak, not SUFS. SUFS has not asked me or tricked me into doing anything. At no point was I ever prompted are asked to speak out for SUFS. As a matter of fact, if you were to review anything that I have written or any speech that I have given to advocate for school choice and vouchers, my perspective has only been that of a concerned and actively involved parent.

    It should be understood that I am a parent that is informed and aware. It is ridiculous to assume that because I am of a lower socioeconomic status, I am incapable of making informed and wise decisions that will positively impact my children. I am a home health nurse who will be graduating with my Bachelor's in Psychology and a minor in Business Management this December and proceeding to attain an MBA in Marketing. Additionally, my college grade point average is 3.72. I am an informed parent because I chose to be. As a matter of fact, I inadvertently stumbled across your article seeking additional information on the status of the bill.

    You boldly stated that a parent choosing to send their children to a religious school obliterates the line of church and state. Umm, unless I missed something, private schools are not under the guise of church and state, just as churches are not. I must also point out that freedom OF religion does not mean freedom FROM religion. Your inference is that a child attending a religious school is a disaster equivalent to the Black Plague. The great thing about religious schools is that they instill character and personal development in addition to core subjects...(that is not a bad thing).

    In your article, you stated that someone is subsidizing my choice. That is a farce; I have stated and restated that money is allotted to each child. Instead of utilizing the roughly $7000 per child to have my children educated in public school, I choose to utilize $4880 to have my children educated in a private school. Therefore, the only subsidizing of my children' s education is done by me to the tune of approx. $2500 per child per year. It is disheartening that there is such a heightened level of maliciousness and degradation toward us as parents that have chosen a different path to ensure that our children reach their highest potential. FL DOE website contains a myriad of statistics that substantiate that vouchers do work. For the parent that are unhappy with utilizing the vouchers, they have the choice to send their children to public school. It is truly just that simple.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. You should know the taxes you pay are not for your child to attend school, they are to pay for public education, they are the same taxes I pay, as do many people who have no children or who have children who are no longer in school. They contribute to public education too and public education is for all of us.

    You have chosen to take your kids out of public school, no one has forced you too and that's a choice I don't think people should subsidize and it is a choice I believe that harms all of society.

    Also don't think for a second the voucher complex cares about you and your child, if they did we wouldn't have vouchers but instead our schools would have adequate resources, proper leadership and curriculums that played to children's strengths. That is what you should be fighting for.

    I wish you and your family well but you are on the wrong side of the argument.

    Finally read my latest post, it should tell you all you need to know about the people you are supporting

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  6. The taxes we pay actually pay for education. Corporate taxes are utilized to pay for my children's vouchers. This is one of the issues that opponents have with it. They believe the money should go to the legislature and not be diverted to assist my family. The expansion does ask that some of the sales tax also be diverted to expand the program. I say that legislators invest in "pork belly" projects and earmarks all the time, so why not invest in children and give them choices.

    Public education is not suitable for everyone. Where it works that is great. Where it does not, we are entitled to choose a different option. That ideal is per the State Constitution. Additionally, there is still a lawsuit standing against the legislature that asserts that public education is failing. I need to understand which one is it? Is it successful or is it failing? I know what the answer is for me personally...

    I used to be a school board employee for a school board here in Florida. As an employee, I saw first hand how taxpayer funds were selfishly appropriated. I witnessed the Superintendent spend more than $100,000+ to remodel an executive wing, only to be forced to resign. The Superintendent that replaced him remodeled what he remodeled for an additional $100,00+ ($14,000 was spent on a desk). This Superintendent’s husband worked in food service making $90,000 a year. Yet, there were employees who had not had a raise in more than 10 years and books had not been purchased in more than 7 years. Most recently, we discovered $30,000 in unused curriculum outside a school in front of the dumpster… I can go on!!

    I must also express that I have done my research regarding the organization. What is in the best interest of my children outweighs SUFS political affiliations, corporate standing, etc. I do not need SUFS to care about me and my children...that is my job. I am not a proponent for Jeb Bush, but I fully supported vouchers when he presented them. There is so much focus on SUFS that the true focus is being overshadowed....THE CHILDREN!

    The research has been done by five independent organizations. The consensus is that my choice does not harm society. My choice for my children does not impact public education in anyway. It is no different than if I moved to another school or moved to another district. The money follows the child.

    I greatly appreciate your well wishes, but I could never be on the wrong side of the argument because I am on the side of the four children that depend on me.

    I will gladly read your latest post. I am always open to new information... Thanks!

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  7. I get it you are a parent and you have to do what you feel is best. But you are misreading the constitution and you should have to pay for other options and as more and more people learn about the shady operations of SUFS and the voucher program you may have to...

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