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Vito Prosciutto

The biggest problem I've had with vouchers is that none of them seem to be actually funded. There was a voucher proposal in California back in 93 that had this problem: They didn't take into account the fact that all the children currently in private schools are, for better or for worse, subsidizing public education. There was no mechanism to make up for the fact that there would be a huge cost to pay for vouchers for the children who were already in private schools.


that's an excellent point...never considered that. thanks. it seems to me (actually my wife's point) that the first fix for any funding of public schools would have to be to pool state money and distribute it equally to each kid in the state. relying only on intra-district property taxes penalizes districts with low property values--precisely the districts that need a little extra cash to attract teachers and improve buildings.

Vito Prosciutto

It's actually a bit more complicated than that. California does something kind of like what you describe (although there does seem to be some county-based variations in funding: Orange County K12 schools, for example, routinely pay teachers more than Los Angeles County K12 schools). But even with equalized funding, there are great disparities between districts. Some of it is legacy-based: Historicaly poor areas tend to have more physical plant issues to deal with which impacts their bottom line. Plus in the wake of prop 103, the per-student funding is generally pretty low to begin with. The socio-economic status of the district can compensate for that through local support, whether it's bake sales or business support. Finally throw in the fact that higher SES tends to translate to a stronger pro-school orientation among students and you get the expected filtering effect where the best teachers and administrators tend to migrate to the best schools (which tend to be hiher SES) while the poorer schools end up having to take whoever they can get.

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On the face of it, school vouchers don't seem like such a bad idea. Some opponents argue about how letting families use their tax dollars to go to a private school will decimate an already bad public school system.

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