Welcome to Tigersue's Jungle. Here you may find a Jungle of thoughts and idea's. You may never know what you will find!
Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thoughts on Referendum 1

I am a voter that is undecided. School vouchers are the hot topic in the state right now, and frankly I am so confused I am not sure what I am going to do. Both sides are misrepresenting the facts of the bill that it is so confusing that even with reading the voter information handout I still don't know what to think.
First in many ways I think vouchers are a good idea. My questions come in who should get the public funds and how is it determined who gets them. When I read the table, I see families that earn 150,000 a year qualify, and I think the cap should be lower, around 90,000 a year.
When I see a family of 6 earning 150,000 a year qualifies for the 3,000 maximum voucher per child, but a single mother or father with 1 child earning 30,000 a year qualifies for less seems a bit off to me.
I have only known 2 families that have their children in private schools, 1 was a dentist, the other was a nurse that worked 2 jobs just to pay for the private school. I don't think the 3,000 is going to go very far for a hard working family. I know with what my husband earns we still could not manage, I don't know how some one that earn less than we do, would make it work.
That does not mean we should do it, I just think the income limit needs to be lowered and the amount needs to be increased.
Now for the problems in the ads and positions that falsify the bill, (from what I understand)
I will start with the pro side because frankly they are the ones that are only misrepresenting a bit.
1. That the bill is about choice and families. Let's get of the rhetoric please. All families have choice in education, we don't have to use public schools, and if we are going to give a wide choice then there should be as much help for home school choice as the more expensive private school vouchers with an average tuition of 8,000 dollars a year per child. We already have choice, so state it for what it is. A public funded fund for private enterprise. If someone votes against the bill does not mean they are against children and families. It just may mean they don't agree with much of the bill, or perhaps the whole idea of vouchers.
2. That money will stay with the schools when the children and enrolled in private schools. There is the famous Oreo cookie ad. Although this is true, what is not mentioned that after 5 years that money will not be allocated to the public schools. IT will be as if the student is not there. So a first grader that leaves the school with still get money for that student for 5 years, after that the funding is gone.
3. Students leaving to private schools will reduce class size. This may be true, but what if that student is the one that pushes a class threshold to where the school district would hire a new teacher and split the class. Instead of reducing class size, that student leaving actually made the situation worse. I am not sure that this is a good statement. I don't think you really will be able to tell the effect on class size until we know exactly how many students actually leave to go to private schools.
4. This is good for all Utah families. Not all families live in an area where there are private schools. Since most of Utah counties are rural, the ability to find and travel to private schools is not an option for them. This bill will only help those families that have access to private schools in their communities.

Okay now the anti voucher side. They really drive me nuts! Have they read the information booklet? Probably not.
1. The money will be taken away from public schools. Nope, only have 5 years. Until then the money stays put. The money for the voucher is payed through the general fund. Now I still have concerns there, because what will not be funded with this large about to be taken the first year. My husband just got a promotion working for state, but no raise in income. He is being asked to take on more responsibility without that income. Will this money for the vouchers be taken from other state employee's and their families. Sometimes the argument roads over children but in a state where all the property taxes and all the income tax goes to schools it is a huge chunk of money already. We can't get our children to schools if the roads are yuck!

2. Private schools don't have to be accredited. This bothers me, but not in the way you think. Private schools work because if they don't parents pull their children out and go somewhere else. They don't need government involvement. When ever the government gets involved in private enterprise it gets messed up. I don't want that to happen to private schools. Do not put the same rules on them and they do in the public system. It doesn't work

3. Teachers without teaching degrees. So? What is the point? If I have a child taking music, I would not mind someone teaching that knows a lot about music with out the teaching degree. Same with a chemist, or a biologist, or a professional writer. Sometimes, believe it or not, kids will learn more from some one with real experience, not just a teaching certificate.

4. We are endangered by a tax hike. I find this argument funny since the UEA would always want funding increased in the state, meaning tax hikes every year! There is never enough money for education in Utah. Live with it. We live a state full of children and a young work base.
It will not change. We have to learn to work with what we have instead of comparing our selves to every other state in the union. We will never be able to catch up. So we need to learn to deal with what money is there and how to use it effectively every year.

I know there is more, but I hate the misrepresentations. I don't feel good about voting for the bill, and I don't feel good voting against the bill. I know some say vote for it because the NEA is against it, but I don't want to base my vote on what others think or feel. I have to know inside myself what the answer is. I suspect I won't know until I step into the booth. Either way I feel stuck.

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