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Let us discuss Alternative Education

bryanf

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This is a great forum, but I am disappointed that one of my topics of great interest is not represented by a forum, yet.

So, I decided to start a thread here, and see if it garnishes any interest.

I would like to hear thoughts for or against alternative education (other than public schools), especially home schooling. Should there be more accomodations (such as vouchers) made for those families which may choose to home school or send their children to private schools?
 

Schweddy

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I will be happy to create an additional forum - lets see where this goes. :D

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Should there be more accomodations (such as vouchers) made for those families which may choose to home school or send their children to private schools?

Absoluetly!

I am upset that locally we pay very high taxes, but the public school system does not allow home schooled children to participate in social activities.
 

bryanf

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Or, there are also cases, like Dayton, Ohio, where the school spends millions building new school buildings, but is the worst performing school district in the state, with fewer than 50 percent of their students passing.
 

Schweddy

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[Sarcasm ON]
But that is not the school systems fault - thats the government trying to keep a brother down.
[Sarcasm OFF]

I heard tonight in class (one of the argumentative papers) that my local city is talking about school uniforms. That could require a voucher and more taxes as well - for me at least.

Wow, there could be alot of potential topics is a "public education" forum.
 

WKL815

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So, you know how many/some? claim that college tuition inflation is skyrocketing to compensate for the free flowing federal loans available?

http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct0598/voices0598-hauptman.shtml

Would school vouchers have the same effect? Private schools would end up raising their tuition to effectively price out or redistribute the "ability to pay" as the above article suggests.

And, it seems many/some? like to claim that going to college is a right...

So, why aren't the same people claiming college is a right for everyone also behind a movement to ensure everyone who wants a quality primary and secondary education get the resources to achieve it?

I'm still mulling it over. My gut says vouchers aren't the answer. Too much federal government. But what do I know? I was publicly educated. (Allen ISD ;) )
 

WKL815

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The problem with education in this country is the parents of the children...pure and simple.
 

Pacridge

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WKL815 said:
The problem with education in this country is the parents of the children...pure and simple.
I could not agree with you more. I spent a good deal of my weekend working with "Toys for Tots." A local charity that tried to ensure every child in this community will receive at least a few Christmas presents this holiday season. As I've noted in other threads I have a background in law enforcement, though currently I run my own business. When I was in LE I was constantly amazed at the complete disregard some people have for their own children. A lot of these kids we work to give toys to each year wouldn't get anything if it weren't for TFT's. There parents can't "afford" them. Strangely these same parents seem to have no trouble finding the funds to buy beer, cigarettes and often times illegal drugs. If that's the parents attitude to some as basic as Christmas gifts you can imagine their outlook when it comes to education. You know you have to pass test to drive a car but any moron can have kids. And they usually do.
 

bryanf

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Originally Posted by WKL815:
"The problem with education in this country is the parents of the children...pure and simple."

I would agree with that to a degree. But, allowing parents to have more say in their children's educations does have an impact. We can look at Cleveland's voucher program as an example. Significant improvement was noted by the Supreme Court in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.

In fact, Cleveland city schools used to be the worst performing in the state, before the voucher program began.

I don't know about the tuition issue. But, where there are vouchers, they deal with that problem by limiting the amount for vouchers, and if a school wants to be in contention for those funds, they will keep prices low. Colleges and Universities are taking advantage of more private funding in the raising of their tuitions, from my understanding.
 

Pacridge

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bryanf said:
In fact, Cleveland city schools used to be the worst performing in the state, before the voucher program began.
Can you give a more detailed explaination of Cleveland's voucher system? I'm always interested in solutions to school performance and funding problems.
 

bryanf

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Yes. I originally thought that it was a city program, but it's actually a state program. It was designed for districts that performed so poorly that the state took them over, as was the case in Cleveland.

It is essentially a school choice program, that provides state funds for any school to which parents may choose to send their children. It includes public schools-including "magnet" schools, private schools, or, if the parents chose to keep their kids in the regular public schools, it provides funding for tutorial programs.

For private schools, families are eligible for up to $2250 per child in tuition. For the public schools, the funding for each child is up to $4500, and for magnet schools, it is up to $7750.

The families do not receive the money directly. It goes to the school after they choose which school their child will attend.

Research done analyzing the effects have shown that school choice programs have a great impact on academic performance. In Semptember of 2002, the GAO reported research on 78 pregrams, and showed the parents who enrolled their children through school choice programs such as the Cleveland program were more satisfied with the safety, academics, parent-teacher communication, and learning environment related to their child's education. Evidence from Harvard University studies and Manhattan Institute research indicates similar results.
 

Pacridge

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Usually these school voucher programs seem to be a back door attempt to use public funds for religious schools. Which I'm not sure I'm for or against. On one hand you're draining resources from the public system to fund religious schools and that seems to clearly fall under the seperation of church and state issue. On the other you have families who's only choice is to either send their children to schools that are teaching things that they, on religious grounds, oppose. Or, if they can afford it (and many can't), send them to private religious schools. Those families are paying taxes too, their tax dollars are being used to support a system they don't favor, or believe in, in the slightest. It seems with the weakening of our school systems over the years and with our schools operating at such poor levels it's opened the door wider for this debate.

What exactly is a "Magnet" school.
 
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bryanf

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Pacridge said:
What exactly is a "Magnet" school.
A magnet school is a semi-independent public school (falls under the jurisdiction of the local school district, but has latitude to make it's own administrative decisions) that typically is a model school. They usually exceed a normal public school performance.

As far as the separation issue. I'm part of the University of Dayton's speech and debate team, and this semester, we were debating separation of church and state, and we actually had an affirmative case based on the Cleveland school vouchers. It isn't a very strong case for violating the separation because the Supreme Court has ruled that, because it is neutral to religion, it meets the three prongs of the Lemon test. They are:
1. A government program must have a secular purpose (quality education in this case)
2. Must not have a purpose to advance or inhibit religion (because it is neutral to religion, it's purpose does not influence religion)
3. Must not demonstrate excessive government entanglement with religion (Again, because it does not look at religion as a factor, and does not seek to encourage or hinder religion, it does not entangle the government in religion)

Then, there is the tax issue. It doesn't matter if an individual does not agree with how tax money is spent. Our government is based on democracy, and whether they are right or not, the majority typically gets to decide how tax money is spent. Otherwise, nothing would receive government money, because someone will always oppose how the government spends our money.

For example, some people would prefer that social programs get money over military enlargement, yet there are others who think that having a strong military is more important than providing all sorts of government handouts.

We must look at, and weigh what is most beneficial, and if providing money to private schools will provide our children with the best possible education, which I believe is the case, then that is what should be done, religion aside.
 

bryanf

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I also think that we should include in some of these programs accomodations for home schooling families.

There are people that I know that would like to home school but cannot afford to live on one income and pay for educational materials. Even giving them something like the $2250 for private schools would provide them with more than sufficient funding for educating their kids at home.
 

Schweddy

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No argument here on the home school issue you are proposing.
 

IronTongue

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We could always just not teach the bottom third of students. ( :eek: Just kidding)
 

Schweddy

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Pacridge said:
I'm not sure I could sign off on paying people to stay home an educate their own children.
Would it make you feel better if the parents paid at least as much in local education taxes - so it breaks even?
 

Pacridge

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vauge said:
Would it make you feel better if the parents paid at least as much in local education taxes - so it breaks even?
So then people who have no money, hence pay little or no taxes wouldn't qualify?

And what would be the safety checks to ensure these people are indeed educating their children? I have little doubt there would be a certain percentage that would "take the money and run." Thus then we'd be paying people to not educate their children but to supply them with more illegal drugs, cigarettes and beer.
 

bryanf

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Pacridge said:
And what would be the safety checks to ensure these people are indeed educating their children? I have little doubt there would be a certain percentage that would "take the money and run." Thus then we'd be paying people to not educate their children but to supply them with more illegal drugs, cigarettes and beer.
There are already checks in place to ensure that homeshoolers are actually getting an education. In Ohio, the students must either take a standardized test, or have a certified teacher do an assessment of their learning, annually.

If they are not making sufficient progress every year, then the family will be denied the waiver on compulsory attendance the following year.
 

bryanf

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My thoughts on accomodating home schoolers would be in the form of a tax credit, anyway, kind of like a child tax credit. Since they are already paying taxes to educate their kids (since everyone has to pay property taxes), why not give them a $2250 credit in their taxes every year? The government would still have at least that much in tax money from that family that they can put towards someone else's kids.
 

Schweddy

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bryanf said:
There are already checks in place to ensure that homeshoolers are actually getting an education. In Ohio, the students must either take a standardized test, or have a certified teacher do an assessment of their learning, annually.

If they are not making sufficient progress every year, then the family will be denied the waiver on compulsory attendance the following year.
Same in this great state. Excellently written btw...
 

Pacridge

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As long as there is some type of verification process I'm not opposed to home schooling. I'm also not opposed to helping parents out with the process. Why couldn't parents have access to books and equipment when possible? Seems to me that, at times, it would be hard to do less of a job then some of our schools are doing now. Which is sad. And that comment doesn't apply to all schools everywhere. I'm sure there are some good schools out there doing a good job.
 

Schweddy

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Your right, many home schooling parents do NOT complain about the system or paying the taxes. It is the systems that do not allow any type of access to the school system for the parents.
 
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