Thursday, October 04, 2007

Too Cool For School

For a lot of people inside the beltway the action has moved from Capitol Hill and the White House to little old Utah. Why is that the case? Because we're home to the first statewide school voucher program in the United States. Of course it is opposed by the UEA, NEA, PTA, and every other education related acronym because it will reduce the power of those unions. They've opposed smart solutions like pay for performance for teachers and they'll oppose this because it increases competition in education and decreases the power of the union by opening new schools that don't have teachers under NEA purview.
The crazy thing about the voucher opposition here in Utah is that there is almost no way that vouchers will hurt public education. The voucher amount ranges from 500-3000 dollars, so let's say each one will be $2000 on average. With $7500 going towards the education of each student here, the other $5500 goes to the public schools. They're getting paid to not teach someone. What does that mean? That means higher salaries and lower class sizes. It does mean that there might be a loss of UEA power though, and heaven knows that that's more important than actually getting paid more to most of these teachers (well, not to them but certainly to their handlers who tell them how they should think). Here at our company we're paid an average of $3000 to care for a patient. Now if we were to get the same 73% of that money to not care for them, do you think we wouldn't do it in a heartbeat? I'd not take care of as many people as I could get my hands on because it would mean better salaries for our employees, better care for our other patients, and less work for us here in the office from the nonexistent patients.
I think that one of the reasons behind this opposition was talked about last weekend in the Wall Street Journal. They mentioned the increasing pressure parents are facing from their children to go green - by this they mean anything from changing your light bulbs to compact fluorescents to buying a Prius to just shooting yourself because you are a burden on the environment and the lead from the bullet, while it will destroy the planet, is less deadly than you are. Honestly, I never want to have my kids evangelize me with their granola-eating, tree-hugging propaganda. The way I intend to combat this, other than having them read Michael Crichton's State of Fear, is by letting them know that that would be fine if they want to pay the consequences (i.e. pay for it or suffer for it) because I won't be. Beyond pushing the green agenda, there's also the normalizing of the non-traditional family. I don't want people to feel abnormal or ashamed if they don't come from a nuclear family or if they are sexually - shall we say - adventurous. At the same time I don't want those taught as normal. Focus on the basics, keep your maturation program at 1-2 hours in 5th-6th grade, and get my kids reading, riting, and rithmeticing.
One video that I came across on the internet is definitely pro-voucher, but also pro-very good information. Take a gander (this is just part 1, you can select part 2 after watching the first half):

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