Indiana voucher program offers hope to low-income students

From the Courier Press, news of the latest success for Republicans in their long war against public sector teacher unions.

Excerpt:

Kristy Wentworth of Evansville said she was never dissatisfied with public education, and her three children, who attended schools in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., were making good grades.

But when friends told her about Indiana’s new private school voucher program, she was intrigued.

After some discussion, Wentworth enrolled her children this year at Evansville Lutheran School, which is near her home. It didn’t take the single mother long to decide her choice was correct. Her children — who are in grades 7, 6 and 4 — are thriving at Evansville Lutheran. Wentworth noted the school’s small class sizes, and she marveled at the frequent communication she receives from her teachers.

“They come home from school excited, they leave for school excited. They can’t wait to get there,” Wentworth said. “(The school) encouraged them to sign up for Boy Scouts and volleyball, and on the first night they made the kids feel so welcome.”

Wentworth recently lost her job, and she said she couldn’t have afforded a private school without the voucher program, which proponents say helps overall educational achievement and closes achievement gaps along socioeconomic lines.

And these private schools help children to perform better in testing.

Can greater competition among schools help? That’s what state education officials are banking on. While scars from the lengthy spring debate over vouchers heal, they are encouraging local school districts to embrace the new environment.

Local nonpublic schools have courted voucher students. As of Friday, 114 were awarded to students in the EVSC district — the fourth highest number in the state.

Officials with the EVSC, meanwhile, point to recent academic progress, its network of community partnerships aimed at meeting students’ most fundamental needs and classroom innovations.

Delaware Elementary School, which is in the same neighborhood as Evansville Lutheran, has made strides in several areas in a short period of time, said Heather Ottilie, parent of a Delaware third-grader.

Delaware is in its second year as an EVSC “equity school.” Along with two other schools of similar socioeconomic demographics — McGary Middle School and Evans School — Delaware is free to have longer school days and longer school years and has more leeway in curriculum and rules. The three equity schools all showed gains on the spring ISTEP.

Ottilie said Delaware has placed heavy emphasis on independent reading. Other innovations include the use of netbook computers and iPod Touches in classrooms, world language instruction and new learning programs such as LEGO robotics, which emphasize problem-solving skills.

“I love it,” Ottilie said. “Everything is hands-on … the kids aren’t just doing worksheets.”

What is the conservative plan to help the poor? Is it wealth redistribution? Does that even work? Or is there a way to produce better results for the poor through free market capitalism? Those who advocate big government never bother to ask these questions. For those who take the time to study economics, the answer is clear – what works to reduce costs and raise quality is choice and competition.

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9 thoughts on “Indiana voucher program offers hope to low-income students”

  1. Sounds great in all respects!

    What do you think about lunch meal vouchers for low-income students? Same principle, so it makes sense to me.

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    1. Well… I’m opposed to it because it makes it easier to dispense with husbands and their provider role. Look – what I want to encourage is the idea that a women doesn’t have kids before she has a husband. The more the government pays for, the less husbands are needed. Husbands should be chosen because they can provide. But if there is no providing needed, because the state handles everything, then husbands won’t be needed either. And I think that children need to see a man working for the family and loving a woman in order to learn valuable lessons about what men do.

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      1. Well, vouchers needn’t be just for single mothers, so they wouldn’t encourage single parenthood. I’m not sure I see how vouchers to provide food are any different to vouchers to provide education. Why support one but not the other?

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        1. Would you be willing to support sex vouchers? This would be for men who are very ugly or awkward who get less sex than handsome men. There is an inequality there and I think it is government’s job to fix. Basically, the government would give all men a voucher to have sex with anyone they want, one voucher per week, and then the men could take the voucher to any woman they want and have sex with them. And if the woman refused she would go to jail for refusing to pay her sex taxes. And this would also work for married men, who could use the vouchers to have affairs once a week. Because it’s the government’s job to make sure that men get enough sex, it’s not a result of their own priorities and decisions. Do you think this would be a good idea?

          We need sex vouchers so that obese men who don’t bathe can choose random married women who are fit and thin and have sex with them, because it’s not the man’s fault he is obese and not to the woman’s credit that she is fit and thin. It’s random. Obese, smelly men should not have an unequal amount of sex to that woman’s hard-working, bathing, responsible husband. So we just need to transfer some sex to the obese man from that married woman, and then everyone will be equal, and no one will feel bad about being different. And it won’t have any affect on men’s behavior, because once men learn that they can get sex with anyone they want for free, I am sure that they will want to work even harder to please women so that they can get married to them and become fathers and work until they are 65 paying for tuition. Men will act even more responsibly if they get one sex voucher a week and can use it on the women who are the most fit and athletic. Men will work harder on their appearance and be even thinner when it doesn’t matter how they look, they get free sex anyway from the government.

          Why think that providing sex is the sole responsibility of wives? Some people aren’t married – and they don’t care about what women want. Shouldn’t they get sex equal to the men who work hard for women as husbands and fathers? It’s not their fault they don’t want to work or bathe or raise children. If we nationalize sex, then everyone will be more equal, and no one will feel bad about not getting any sex. I can’t see how this would cause men to marry less, either, or undermine the woman’s respect and authority in the home, just because the government takes over her responsibilities in the home. Men will still work hard for 40 years, from 25 to 65. They’ll still get married. Marriages will hold together fine when men can get guilt-free anonymous sex elsewhere. I’m pretty sure it will be fine. And it’s more fair.

          Note: I favor neither “sex vouchers” nor government-provided meals for children, which marginalizes fathers and makes it easier for women to become single mothers.

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          1. What is needed here is some logic.

            1) You support education vouchers. This is government stepping in and subsidizing education.
            2) You don’t support food vouchers. This is government stepping in and subsidizing food.
            3) This is inconsistent since there is no morally material way in which these things differ with respect to vouchers.

            Don’t evade the issue. Answer me.

            Your red herring is a very poor one because you know full well that sex is vastly different in morally material ways to food and education with respect to vouchers, since marriage involves a contractual obligation of exclusivity. There is no such contractual obligation with regard to food or education. If you can’t see this, I have to wonder…

            And beside that, you could apply the same logic to education – i.e. that education vouchers imply that sex vouchers are ok. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.

            Now please answer my question. I will not be deterred.

            I am alarmed at this because you’re being completely illogical and arguing from feelings.

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          2. The federal government spends about a 150 billion dollars a year on education. The education system is not geared to pleasing customers. Taxes for this public school system are collected automatically, whether anyone uses it or not. The best way to cut funding to the system is by giving away vouchers to parents to redirect the money away from failing public schools to private schools and homeschooling.

            There is no similar bureaucracy for food distribution. Parents buy food directly and they are satisfied with the free market, which produces excellent results. We don’t need vouchers, because there is no bureaucracy for us to replace with a market-alternative. The market is already in place.

            I think the problem here is that women don’t respect that men have a provider role. When the roles of men are diminished by “compassion” which results in socialism, single motherhood skyrockets. That’s what we are seeing today, with all the attendant ills for children raised without fathers. Either fathers matter, and women have the obligation to choose a good husband rationally, and without relying on emotions, or fathers don’t matter and women can have children out of wedlock and have the government redistribute wealth and create social programs to replace men. A hundred years ago, if you wanted a child, you had to care about what men wanted, and you had to get married and stay married. Now, you get a sperm donor and a check from the government. Everything is provided to completely dispense with men – children are raised without a man providing, protecting or leading on moral/spiritual issues. That’s what compassion about “inequalities” gets you – fatherlessness.

            The sex vouchers example nicely shows how having the government interfere in male/female relationships is lethal to the institution of marriage. What we see today is as follows. Policy being made on the basis of “compassion” undermining men’s ability to marry, and the need for good men at all. So you have people who are pro-life voting to increase abortion. People who are pro-marriage undermining marriage. People who are pro-Christian undermining Christianity, which is propagated best when there is a father in the home.

            Christianity is being redefined right before our eyes to mean government making people happy and subsidizing reckless and/or immoral behavior instead of Christians evangelizing and doing private charity. Even devout Christians think that the truth of Christianity is not as important a goal as everyone having happy feelings and having enough money. Is that the message of Christianity? Being happy, being liked by others and having material goods provided by a secular government? Do Christians not need to use the money they earn in ways they choose in order to perform charitable acts (and evangelistic acts, which also cost money) themselves, or to defend God’s reputation using arguments and evidence? Preparation and private schools cost money.

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          3. *See now, your first two paragraphs are more what I would expect. They are logical and they make sense. That’s what I wanted.

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          4. I still think that if men wanted to be a part of their children’s lives, then they would be there. The point is, children are not as important, overall, to men as they are to women. What’s important to men, after sex, is being the boss and being in control. If they can’t be the boss and be in control then they won’t stick around. Oh, well. What do you expect from carnal men? (note, I don’t think women should be the boss or be in control either. I don’t look at it as an either/or thing. I look as it as the two are one flesh and were created to be partners, balancing each other. Scarcity thinking [sin] rather than an understanding of the fullness of the Gospel creates either/or thinking.
            http://womanmusicminister.blogspot.com/2011/08/pitfalls-of-hierarchy-scarcity-thinking.html)

            But it appears that Christian men feel they can ignore the words of Jesus who said that if you would be great in God’s kingdom then learn to be servants to others including their wives. Jesus never said servant leader. That’s a loop hole created by a man because men dispise the humble and lowly calling Jesus lived on this earth and calls us all to, men and women. Two humble adults, male and female, who practice the two greatest commandments in the covenant bond of marriage, this a powerful witness to the world.

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  2. The key point about the voucher system is that it puts the responsibility squarely in the parent’s corner, which is exactly where it should always have been. Vouchers are not about whether your kid is learning in a hands-on environment or their doing worksheets, it’s not about religious vs nonreligious education, it’s about excellence in education and that only occurs when the primary educators are involved. A child’s primary educators are their parents. The attitude one has regarding one’s own education has much to do with the attitude at home. Obviously there are always exceptional individuals who have managed to succeed despite the fact that their parents were not playing an active role in encouraging their education goals, but if we have a vehicle at our disposal that could both heal our education system and heal the American family, why would we not use this?

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