I realize I'm late in my response, but regarding your comments on July 6th (here: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...): it seems you have a brain! Congrats. It appears there are few that read the Times Free Press opinion section online do!
Exactly how is providing EVERY parent the power to choose where their son or daughter goes to school addressing the issue from the top down? Seems to be giving people the power and ability to make their own choice...something akin to addressing the issue from the bottom up, no?
I realize now this conversation really can go nowhere. The statements being made above are either fraught with bias or are based on factually incorrect generalizations. First, this statement:
"The vast majority of kids in the public schools come from families who are not so fortunate or pro-active as to be able to even consider private schools for their kids."
This, again, illustrates the bias that parents of poor families are not capable (or pro-active enough) to make good education decisions, if given the option and resources. While I am certain Rickaroo will not admit the bias, it is evident in the argument, piggybacks Ikeithlu's previous bias, and is likely so ingrained that neither party can readily acknowledge the problem. The fact of the matter is, providing parents with school choice will, in fact, "raise the bar from the bottom, so that no kid, regardless of economic status, receives an inadequate basic education."
And, finally, let's touch on the factually inaccurate generalizations proposed, once again, by Ikeithlu. The truth is, our private schools in the area: A) Are equipped with programs for children with learning disabilities. They do a better job educating those with alternative learning styles than do our public schools, and do so without a $20k pricetag. But don't take my word for it: do your own research. (Or is that too much effort; would you prefer just to be blissfully ignorant?) B) Are good schools; better, in fact, than our public schools. One needn't attend Baylor or McCallie in order to obtain a higher than public school level of education (just look at the statistics and grades of our public schools compared to our private! How am I the only one that can read the numbers?). To propose such an idea, again, illustrates a level of blissful ignorance, that, unfortunately, neither I nor anyone else will be able to overcome.
This, ultimately, is why I'm un-electable in any public office. I grow weary of those that tout opinions that are neither defensible nor grounded in fact.
Several thoughts. First, I believe the adage that "the perfect is the enemy of the good" applies here. Yes, Baylor, McCallie, & GPS are not listed above. But one cannot seriously argue that the education obtained at Boyd or St. Jude, for example, is not better than that obtained at our public schools. Thus, why forego an education that is better than the one currently offered, simply because it is not the best available?
Second, while high school tuition is higher, research has consistently shown that the most important years for a child's education are the early years. A child that falls behind struggles mightily to catch back up. Therefore, the focus, clearly, should be on the elementary and middle school years, and our public schools fail tremendously in this regard. Remember, Tennessee is ranked 8th worst in the country, and Hamilton County underperforms the state as a whole. That is not an opinion, that is simply the facts.
Third, I shudder to think what would happen if you were in charge of other areas of our local government. Throwing money at a problem is rarely, if ever, the answer. If more money will improve the situation in public schools, then our private offerings would benefit even more with funding increases, as they have shown to be more efficient with the dollars they currently have!
"But pulling 8k per student out of public schools to help those that can make up the rest needed to educate their student will leave those who can't (or those who students can't handle the rigor) with much less."
This statement is frequently used by defenders of public schools, and reeks of a white, middle class supremacy bias. The natural extension here, while intended or not, is that poor students are less apt to succeed, if given the opportunity, in a more rigorous private school setting. This thought I simply cannot tolerate. Furthermore, no less is being spent on the education of the student who chooses to continue attending public school. Their approx. $8k voucher included in their public school is the same contribution that would have been made had the voucher system not been in place. Granted, there may be fewer total dollars infusing the public school system, but that is only the case if there are fewer students as well, so per student expenditures would be the same.
To encourage a healthy debate, I did want to post here to inform you I have commented on your recent post in today's Letter to the Editor comments section. I look forward to your thoughts.
Instead of refuting, at length, Ikeithlu's post above, I'll simply post middle school tuition rates garnered from a simple Google search:
Chattanooga Christian School - $7,445
Boyd Buchanan - $8,100
Silverdale Academy - $7,427
St. Jude - $7,350
Grace Academy - $6,395
(Notre Dame requires a phone call to the business office to inquire about tuition rates. My recollection tells me tuition is slightly higher, around $10,000 for non-Catholic students).
Many, many more options exist for elementary students, also at lower cost than those referenced above. All of the above schools have full athletic offerings, smaller class sizes than our public schools, and higher graduation and college placement rates. All have fees associated with certain activities above the cost of tuition, but the same holds true for public schools in the area.
As for this statement:
"If you find a school that costs 8K, you better look really closely at what you are getting. Probably underpaid and underqualified staff and a lot of bible study."
I can only offer two thoughts. First, generalizations do not typically form a solid foundation for a quality thesis. Research your statement before making yourself look foolish. Second, do you really think the quality of the education from the "under-qualified staff" is less than that of our local public schools? A sad conclusion, to be sure, and one that lacks merit.
Oh, the level of misunderstanding regarding this topic is simply unbelievable and sad.
First, unless you have been living under a rock recently, you would realize it is not the author who has dubbed the ACA penalty a tax, but rather the Supreme Court of the United States. In fact, in a rather clear majority opinion (or have you not read it?), the court found that the only way it could be Constitutional is if it was a tax.
And, more importantly, let's address this grossly inaccurate "2% freeloader....50 million people" statement (because it is also clear that you have not read the ACA, either). The ACA requires all individuals and families carry health insurance. Those that do not, regardless of reason, are taxed when they file their return at the end of the year. Thus, the act affects the entire US population financially; the question is simply to what degree. Before we run and say that low to middle class families who previously could not afford insurance are suddenly covered, it is vital that we understand exactly what the act provides for in terms of subsidies (which, it is evident from both this forum and the public discussion most do not understand). The act provides percentage subsidies based upon a family's financial position relative to the federal poverty level (for a family of four, that is currently $23,050 annually). The act only provides 100% subsidies for those families and individuals at or below 133% of the poverty level (or $30,657 in the above example). (And I don't know about you, but I have a family of four, and we would be hard pressed to make ends meet at $30k/yr). Therefore, anyone above this level not currently paying for insurance will face an effective tax, either in the form of a penalty for opting out of the insurance mandate or in the form of increased out of pocket expenditures by purchasing health insurance without 100% subsidies. Furthermore, these subsidies are tax credits the government will pay families once a year when they file their return, not on a month to month basis. So, the actual monthly budget impact could be substantial for some families.
Please, it is best to research a topic before espousing a woefully inadequate understanding.