Arizona Supreme Court rules voucher program unconstitutional

Arizona’s Supreme court has banned their state’s voucher program. 500 students were enrolled and will be allowed to complete the year in their currently schools. (H/T Independent Women’s Forum and Jay P. Greene).

Excerpt from the linked Arizona Republic article:

The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday declared the state’s school-voucher programs unconstitutional because they violate a ban against appropriating public money for private or religious schools.

The unanimous decision shuts the door on vouchers in Arizona unless voters agree to a statewide ballot measure to change the state Constitution.

So parents shouldn’t have a choice where their children go for an education. The important thing, according to the socialists, is that the teachers in the failing schools have a guaranteed job and a guaranteed audience. Public schools are not there to serve children – it’s adult day care. All guaranteed unionized jobs are adult day care.

This article from the Alliance for School Choice argues that vouchers provide a better education for students for far less money. If we desire excellent education at reduced cost to taxpayers, then vouchers deliver.  If the goal is allowing adult teachers to insulate themselves from the market demands, so they can continue on in perpetual adolescence at the expense of children and parents, then vouchers should be outlawed.

Excerpt:

Conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas as part of the independent School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP), the report found that students in the program generally posted achievement gains that were somewhat higher than that of students in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). When compared to children in MPS, students enrolled in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program experienced statistically significant gains in 7th and 8th grade math.

At the same time, the report concluded that the MPCP continues to save Wisconsin taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year. For FY 2009 alone, the state saved $37 million as a result of the voucher program. While the report is focused on state sources of funding, when federal sources of funding are included, it costs $13,468 to educate an MPS child, versus a maximum of $6,607 to educate an MPCP student.

In a significant finding that undercuts the main arguments of school choice detractors, the study demonstrated conclusively that the presence of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) helped local public schools improve. In the words of the authors: “It appears that Milwaukee Public Schools are more attentive to the academic needs of students when those students have more opportunities to leave those schools.”

The article goes on to note that voucher programs lead to increased parental awareness and involvement in their children’s education.

On a related note, the Pacific Research Institute had this post on the success of charter schools, which are not insulated from competition either, and therefore need to care about student academic performance, instead of left-wing indoctrination.

Excerpt:

The Academic Performance Indicator for OCA is 902, easily surpassing the statewide goal of 800 (out of 1,000). Within five years the charter rose from an API of 736 to 902. “The API is a good indicator after you pass 800 because the students have to work very hard to maintain it,” says Jorge Lopez, principal and executive director of OCA. Most impressive, this charter school succeeded despite receiving thousands of dollars less per student compared with average California public school funding.

The Oakland Charter Academy, for example, earned the 902 API score while receiving $7,211 per student, nearly $4,366 below the state average of $11,547. Yet, the return on investment is higher than the average public school. Consider the Orange Unified School District. It received $9,544 per student and earned a 777 API with a less-challenging student population.

Ninety-five percent of the students at OCA are from low-income families. The OUSD serves 38 percent low-income children. OCA students achieved 75 percent proficiency in reading on the California Standards Test. Fifty-six percent of OUSD students scored proficient in reading.

The article goes on to compare the much worse performance of public schools in the area who spend a lot more money and have far fewer low-income students. The difference is competition. The difference is free market capitalism.

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