Sunday, February 26, 2017

Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem | Eclectablog

Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem | Eclectablog:

Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem

Private school vouchers are the zombies of the education reform agenda. No matter how many times they are defeated at the ballot box, they just won’t die.
Vouchers are overwhelmingly unpopular with voters, contribute to school segregation, don’t help poor families attend the “school of their choice,” and the most recent research on vouchers suggests that the students who use them perform worse academically than their peers in public schools. And now, with the full force of our new President, the former CEO of his very own private, fraudulent, for-profit “charter university,” and his stunningly unqualified, docile, and compliant Secretary of Education, behind the re-birth of these programs, we are seeing a full-fledged zombie apocalypse of voucher enthusiasm.
Let’s take a look at the disconnects between what voucher advocates have promised, and what vouchers have actually delivered.
The Unpopularity of Private School Vouchers
Just how unpopular are vouchers with the American public? As education historian, Dr. Diane Ravitch, points out, very:
When Ms. DeVos and her husband Richard led a movement to change the Michigan state constitution to permit vouchers for religious schools in the year 2000, the referendum was defeated by 69-31%. Even in deep red Utah, the public rejected vouchers overwhelmingly in 2007. Florida was the last state to reject vouchers, in a 2012 vote deceptively named the Religious Freedom Act; it was defeated by 58-42%.
Vouchers are so unpopular that conservatives like Ms. DeVos have now turned to a favorite business practice, “rebranding,” in an attempt to trick the public into supporting them.
Rebranding is a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.
Notable examples of rebranding include tobacco giant Phillip Morris changing its name to Altria to avoid association with the negative image the company had developed. Closer to home, in perhaps an uncomfortable reminder for Ms. DeVos, her brother’s notorious private mercenary firm, Blackwater, rebranded itself as Academi after a group of its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 more in Baghdad in 2007.
DeVos and other voucher advocates have begun using terms like “education tax credits,” “education debit cards,” and “neovouchers” to try to throw citizens off the scent of their true intentions. In Florida, a state that both Trump and DeVos consider a “second home”, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program offers a neat end-around to avoid the impression that tax dollars are going to subsidize private and religious school tuition–which is exactly what the program does.
Established in 2001 under former Gov. Jeb Bush, it has allowed businesses to earn a tax credit in exchange for donating money to send low- and middle-income children to private schools.
This year, for example, about 90,000 low-income children attend more than 1,600 private 
Private school vouchers: A solution in search of a problem | Eclectablog: