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Vouchers will drain public schools, The Advocate, 4/16/12

posted Apr 16, 2012, 2:06 PM by Bill Duncan

DNHPE Comment: Emphasis Added

Letters: Vouchers will drain public schools

APRIL 16, 2012

The current “scholarship” program (aka vouchers) is nothing more than a student “cherry picking” program and private school funding program wrapped up in the disguise of saving public education.

Why aren’t individual test scores a factor for voucher consideration? I thought the focus was on low-performing students. The criteria for vouchers are based on income and overall school grade (C, D and F schools) not individual test scores. Why? Because they can come into the public schools and cherry pick students with high test scores.

Why is the income level to qualify for a voucher considerably higher than the federal government’s level as defined by Title I? Because it increases the pool of students to qualify, so they can cherry pick students of higher income who perform better on test scores.

Why have they included schools with an overall school grade of a C? This is again to broaden the pool of students to qualify for a voucher so they can continue to cherry pick students.

What about students who have chronic discipline problems? That’s one cherry they won’t pick, but if they do, they will have the luxury to return them to public schools! Also what about physically and mentally challenged students? There won’t be any cherries picked in this tree!

House Bill 969 allows individuals and firms to make donations to private schools and receive a tax rebate of 95 percent. If a firm donates $100,000 they get $95,000 back. Who will fund their rebate? Public education will! Why not allow them to donate to public schools with the rebate? Also, students who are good athletes can have boosters pay for their tuition. Again they want to cherry pick students.

As we should, the public school system has to accept, find room for, educate and be held accountable for every child that enrolls regardless of their social economic status and their mental or physical condition. This does not apply to private schools, but public schools should not be punished because of it!

Make no mistake; they do not want to funnel at-risk students with poor test scores and disciplinary problems to private schools not to mention physically and mentally challenged students. However, they do want to funnel as much public dollars to private schools as possible.

In the end, our students will be cherry picked from our public schools. Private schools will get the credit for their success and more public funding. Ultimately this will drain scarce funds from public schools, drive down test scores and drive the nail in the coffin of public education.

Oh, I forgot this is has been the agenda all along!

Troy J. Gautreau Sr.

Ascension Parish School Board

District 7, Seat A