Sounds like what they're really looking for is a subsidy of taxpayers'
Proposition 38 is the latest attempt to create a voucher system and,
if approved by voters Nov. 7, will provide a scholarship of $4,000 for
any student in California to attend private school.
All sources agree that the first change to come from Proposition 38
will be to pay the tuition for almost 700,000 students currently in
private schools at a cost of almost $3 billion annually. While its
proponents say this voucher initiative will help public schools, I fail
to see how paying tuition for students already in private schools helps
anyone except their parents.
It is a shortsighted belief to say that private schools are better
than public. Private schools select their students. If public schools
were to hand pick their students to match the characteristics of those in
the private schools, you would see the public school students equal or
even outperform the private school students.
The nation's largest publicly funded and longest-running voucher
program takes place in Milwaukee where students from low-income families
are offered "scholarships" to attend private schools. In an Oct. 9
article in the Los Angeles Times titled "School Voucher Program Teaches
Hard Lessons," it became very clear that the biggest factor in the
"success" of a school was not whether it was public or private; rather,
the biggest influence was the demographics of the students enrolled. The
schools experiencing the greatest influx of voucher students were
experiencing the same problems so often heard of only in public schools,
including discipline and lower test scores. At one private school
two-thirds of its teachers quit the year the school began admitting
voucher pupils from low-income families.
Proponents of Proposition 38 tout a cost saving in public education,
but in order for that to happen it is estimated that more than 800,000
pupils would have to switch to private schools. With only 32,000 open
seats available in California private schools that is very unlikely to