Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

School choice

George F. Will gives us a rundown on the school choice movement, but neglects to mention what’s going on in Georgia, where a measure to provide vouchers for special needs students has been approved by the state Senate. As Republicans also control the state House, not to mention the Governorship, it will become law.

After that, there will inevitably be a lawsuit, for reasons I’ve discussed many times before, most recently (with relevant links) here. I think that the Georgia Constitution’s Blaine Amendment is a significant, if not necessarily insuperable, obstacle to even limited school choice. But those who file the suit run the risk of winning a (temporary) legal victory at the expense of a significant political defeat, for it would be hard to distinguish the vouchers they’re going to challenge from Georgia’s wildly popular HOPE Scholarship program.

For me, the bottom line is that offering parents more choices is a good thing; any political fall-out that weakens the hand held by the teachers’ unions is a bonus.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Teachers unions will especially dislike this kind of voucher, for at least two reasons. First, it undermines one of the talking points against vouchers, namely that since most private schools don’t take kids with serious disabilities, vouchers will hurt them. And, second, because kids with learning disabilities usually come with extra monies, it will pack an extra-hard punch to school budgets.

I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw in the New Yorker once: "They say Castro’s days are numbered. But it appears to be a rather high number."

Interestingly enough, the Atlanta paper editorialized in favor of the proposal.

RE: vouchers for special needs in GA.
Actually, this isn’t that "courageous" or "costly" to my eyes. Having a special needs kid, this may actually end up cheaper for School systems. Current IDEA law over the last decade or so has created an entire subset of "non-public schools".
The school systems found they could not adequately provide for these kids, and the IDEA law lawsuits creating awards, so "Non-public" schools. No body wants to call them "private" because often a majority of their student base and money come from the public school systems. But they are most surely private contractors (though perhaps often non-profit)specializing in varous special needs or hard to handle kids. And the way it works now, it can often cost the public system lots more than the average voucher would be.
Don’t misunderstand, I am a huge fan of vouchers. But our experience over 14 yrs of school made me often chuckle at the school union and admins categoric opposition in public: in reality they already use "vouchers" for these special kids.
(Related thought: By the way, though I am a definite economic conservative, I do not join those saying the public schools -- "tax dollars" -- should not be used for these more costly kids. We live in a supremely over-acheiving school system. I have two kids under it. One fits perfectly. The other, special needs. Frankly, it is just easier to teach the former (not denigrating the quality of the teachers). Spending on the latter helps society and the kid, giving better chance to reduce future welfare/crime burdends but also better chance that they kid actually ends up adding to society’s productiveness.)
If you ever want any more "anecdote and instinct" on this thought, I would be happy to try. The "voucher" concept has already been ’tested, legitimized and deployed’ for one special class, in my humble opinion.
Peter Schramm knows me, though probably not on this topic.
Bob Berta
La Canada, CA

Following my own analysis, billions of persons on our planet receive the loans at good creditors. Thence, there's a good chance to receive a short term loan in every country.

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