Voucher Programs, a 20 Billion Dollar Campaign Promise

School Choice

In September of 2016 at a failing charter school in Cleveland, Ohio, Donald Trump unveiled his 20 billion dollar program to promote “school choice”.  States would be encouraged to add dollars into the pool to allow low-income children to choose their school.  President Trump gave no indication to the source of these funds but the Congressional School Choice Caucus suggested that some of the money may come from Title 1 funds.  The siphoning of school funds from low-income public schools and shifting it to their higher-income neighbors is often referred to in political circles with the more palatable, “Title 1 Portability”.  The result remains the same, children suffer. Vouchers that benefit religious institutions call into question the constitutionality of taxpayer funded vouchers.  Looking at this from a very practical level, do I want my Christian dollars to support a lower-income child going to a Muslim school?  That caught you off-guard, right?

Students who attended charter schools in Ohio as a recipient of a voucher performed worse than their peers who were eligible but did not receive a voucher placement.  The Fordham institute cited the improvement of the students in the public school as due to increased competition spurring the public school to new heights.  This is a recurring theme among the members of the conservative party who emphasize that competition leads to better performance.  If that’s the case surely we can find ways to encourage competition among our public schools that would allow for an increase in proficiency….or growth..

devos-growth-vs-proficiency

One of the ways we could do this is to recognize that not all children are created equal and while all children should be afforded every opportunity for development and growth, the school should not be penalized when those children don’t succeed.

Let me break it down for you….giphy

The insurance companies and healthcare providers recognized a long time ago that not every patient was created equal.  We have some demographics in which patients are quite sicker.  Now we don’t want to and we shouldn’t penalize a hospital for providing care to a sick patient and we must ensure that the insurance companies aren’t able to turn the sickest patients away because they cost more.  So we level the playing field through math, (gotta love math)mathistakingyourbrainforawalk-mwbd

and risk adjust that patient.  This puts patients in categories, and allows the hospital, physician and insurance to not be penalized for taking care of the patients who are sicker than their counterparts.  So why aren’t we risk adjusting our schools and children?  Not all schools are in areas where jobs and opportunity exist.  We shouldn’t be stripping the wheels off the bus and shifting it around, we should be making sure that the bus has the right tires or we aren’t going to get anywhere.

vouchercartoon2

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