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Fair school choice

Discussion of fair school choice concepts

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Fair school choice

  1. 1. School Choice for New York State What “choice” means and what it doesn’t mean. We need fair approaches to reduce costs yet maintain quality of education in New York state.
  2. 2. Where does our money go? One quarter of state budget to schools  http://openbudget.ny.gov/overview.html
  3. 3. K-12 cost – Highest in USA  Per US Census data in 2013: Average per pupil spending - $10,300 New York - $19,818 We are 92% above the national average! This does not include construction either.
  4. 4. Charter School – according to Webster  “ a tax-supported school established by a charter between a granting body (as a school board) and an outside group (as of teachers and parents) which operates the school without most local and state educational regulations so as to achieve set goals”  If this is what New York really always did, this is a reasonable approach
  5. 5. Charter School – The NY way, Choice?  In New York state, a “Charter” school is often a privately run enterprise which is selected and outsourced by the STATE government.  While a cost savings may be realized, this is NOT a school choice approach. The parents are too uninvolved.  Opportunities for corruption, political influence.
  6. 6. Vouchers: “Test Drive”  Choice should mean that parents can immediately choose an option other than public school.  Many states with vouchers require students to start out in Public school: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah.  Motives? Witness testimonies? Vindictive?  Disruptive to students.
  7. 7. Vouchers – Performance triggered  A voucher program which is triggered by government based judgement of school performance rather than to have parents make their judgement is another opportunity for corruption: – Political decisions can be made to offer voucher options for either preferred districts, or in a vindictive manner to block others. – Feedback loop for influence. Public sector employees (teachers, administrators, etc.) at public schools will offer campaign contributions and other forms of influence to politicians in order to keep their public school off the naughty list. – “The beatings will continue until morale improves”. Problem public schools will fail even more rapidly if these districts are targeted with voucher programs.
  8. 8. Vouchers- Inflationary?  College education costs have increased at a pace triple the general inflation rate.  Many studies demonstrate a root cause to be the ease and availability of government grants and loans.  If allowed to charge as much as public schools, private K-12 school tuition prices will likewise rise rapidly
  9. 9. Broome County Catholic Example (per month, x10 for full year):
  10. 10. Who decides suitability?  Government programs to judge which private schools are suitable require bureaucracy and cost.  There is again opportunity for bias, corruption, and influence. Private schools will try to buy their way into approval.  Let parents decide! It is in their interest to see that their child attends a quality school, whether private or public.
  11. 11. Commonly seen voucher flaws summary: – Public school attendance requirement – Performance based triggers – Full value voucher will inflate private school prices – Suitability judgement should be in the hands of parents, rather than to have government micro-manage the private school system
  12. 12. Doing vouchers or a tax credit program right:  No prerequisite for public school attendance.  Parents choose the school.  Universally applied, not based on poor performance.  Graduated coverage to avoid inflationary pressure. Some/most parents pay a portion of cost, so that they continue to have an interest in price.
  13. 13. Parental financial input concepts  Perhaps a lottery system to where 20-30% of any private school’s enrollment could be 100% voucher paid, for lowest income families only.  Remaining enrollment, target for parents to have 50% of cost, keep “skin in the game”  Highest income families? They pay high property taxes. Still voucher eligible? Worth a discussion.
  14. 14. Goal for New York  A slow and smooth increase of private school usage, so as to limit cost inflation, and a slow and smooth decrease in public school attendance, so as to not have over- sized buildings, excess staff (especially administrative staff), or too small class sizes.  Quality observed and sustained by the parents through market pressures, not by government control.
  15. 15. What about homeschooling?  There is no concern about inflation.  Offer a lump sum credit per year to help offset cost of lost wages, books, etc.  Studies show homeschooled children perform well. This won’t change if a token amount is given back to the parents.
  16. 16. Yeh but – Special needs children or otherwise difficult to teach  Private schools tend to reject difficult children, or so is the claim.  It’s about $$$$. Cost to teach special needs children in public school is higher, so voucher coverage for private school should be higher.  A pre-evaluator needs to be used to benchmark students to see what added costs there will be to teach them. Do this cautiously to prevent corruption, cheating.
  17. 17. Thank you  Prepared by: Rich Purtell Cell 607-425-9730 email: rpurtell2@stny.rr.com