Over at Politicopia, Steve Urquhart and voucher foes are going the rounds about HB 148 (Education Vouchers). This a debate I missed out on during the legislative session (my blogging hiatas). The arguements against vouchers provided by Utahns Against Public School is akin to conspirocy theory at best, Mr Johnson argues that "vouchers are a stepping-stone on a path to eliminate all of our public schools," and that "the late Milton Friedman, Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute, and Ed Crane, President of the Cato Institute, outline a clear plan to destroy public education."
It seems like those proposing this referendum are as a commenter noted, " 'Utahns for Public Schools consists of a number of groups including the UEA, Utah School Boards Association, NAACP, Utah PTA and individual citizens.' Their spokesperson is Pat Rusk, former UEA President. So, it is just a business deal. These aren't concerned parents, they are administrators who feel threatened by the new law." I fail to see how offering a choice of education plans, and schools, could be a negative thing. As for the conspirists argument that "vouchers are a stepping-stone on a path to eliminate all of our public schools" that is a broad and unfounded generalization. Judging from the '06-07 appropriations for vouchers, it doesn't appear that the legislature has any intention of voucher funding ever coming close to overtaking public school funding. From studies cited on Politicopia, there is strong evidence that competition from voucher school sytems has done much to improve public schools.
The strongest reason I have for supporting vouchers is this -- as a parent I feel that I know how best to educate my child. It is a fair handed move to allow taxpayers to have an opportunity to have choice in how their tax dollars are spent. Public schools are an important part of our society and will always remain the central piece of the education system, but public schools have taken there central role for granted and by creating competition between public and private schools will do wonders to increase innovation and improve education in the public school system.
Join the debate at Politcopia