forshizzle, that is a good point. Government intervention in the private school market, creating artificial demand, may have a net negative effect on private schools while doing nothing to improve public schools.
I'd take a 401k with company match over the sick day accumulation in a heartbeat.
It pays the bills, but as far as professional positions (require a degree) go, the pay is pretty poor. Some of the benefits are nice. I get the same days off (for the most part) as my kids. Healthcare is provided. I see my kids every day. I get a chance to do something a little different during the summer (although for the last 4 summers, what have I done? Teaching :-p). If you're providing for a family of 4 or less, I think it's a pretty good gig, all things considered. However, since my family has grown to 6, it ain't cutting it anymore. So, there's a very real likelihood that I'll be leaving K-12 education this summer. Giving CareerTech a very serious look.
As Poke2000 says, a lot depends on how the funds are collected. Do you get a tax credit for private school tuition? Does the state take the money first and redistribute based on an student's choice of school?
My biggest fear is that vouchers for private schools will end up causing the same problem student loans have. Think of a voucher like a federal student loan (forget that one is your money and the other you borrow, ultimately the school doesn't care where the money is coming from). If a school knows they will have a much larger pool of applicants to choose from, they are happy to take as many applicants as they can support. Now that there is a large increase in the ability of students to attend, competition will be stiff and the schools will increase tuition. The creation of the federal student loan programs were supposed to give everybody access to education, but it also gave universities and excuse to raise tuition exorbitantly over the past 20 years. The government continued to raise the amount you could borrow in order to allow people to meet the rising cost of tuition. Why wouldn't private schools do the same. If the point of the voucher system is to give students who ordinarily would not attend a private school the ability to do so, there is a large incentive for private schools to raise tuition, which in turn would force the government to raise the amount of the voucher to meet the desired effect, otherwise we would once again be back to where we started as the students that attend public school would have to return when the voucher was no longer enough to cover the cost of a private education.
Only option is to raise the voucher amount, or somehow cap the cost of private school education or open more private schools. While the latter may happen as the market demands, it would take decades for new private schools to emerge and gain the reputation as providing an adequate education over public schools.
I personally believe that there is more than enough money collected in taxes to provide the best public education in the world and pay teachers an adequate salary, but the solution is managing revenue better. However, the solution of vouchers just looks like the student loan idea all over again, unless there are safeguards to prevent that.
I think it's a good comparison, but in what other setting is the part in bold true? If there is competition between schools then prices will fall, not rise. As long as you don't jump the monkey on this and instead plan the start a few years in advance to get some charter schools time to set up you should avoid a situation where demand greatly exceeds supply leading to higher prices. I see no reason why it should take decades for alternatives to arise. There will no doubt be private schools that seek exclusivity and they may well raise their prices. But if the voucher amounts only grow modestly along with inflation there's sure to be a charter school that looks to offer schooling at that price. If people go in with the idea that all kids will go to private schools it's likely doomed, but if it's just seen as a matter of alternatives to public school then it could succeed. And that's the comparison that doesn't exist when it comes to colleges- there's no 'free' public colleges like the public school system. If the price of alternative schools begin to outpace the vouchers then parents and legislatures alike have a fall-back.
Just creating charter schools as an alternative will not be the panacea that modern day reformers would lead you to believe.
Most charter schools, the ones that are high performing, not the pseudo-athletic prepatory schools that funnel collegiate athletes to colleges and universities, but the ones who have academics and class size in mind have fairly arduous admission requisites. For example, the two that the Barressi had a hand in founding, Independence Middle School and Harding Charter in OKC have student conduct policies and parental conduct policies that have teeth, in other words they can kick you out for vandalism, threatening behavior, disrespect to teachers, profanity, etc... They also have mandatory volunteerism for students and parents. 30 hours for each student per school year and 25 per parent per school year. For a single parent working an hourly wage, or multiple kids, that could present some problems. That likely limits the applicants who may not be able to afford to volunteer.
So, charter schools carve off students whose parents have the economic security and free time to volunteer and who are involved in their students education outside of athletics. Why wouldn't they be successful?
These are not exactly earth-shattering reforms here. Parents are held accountable for their students actions, deficiencies, and behavior. Those that cannot meet those guidelines are not invited back.
Public schools do not have those types of options. They have to provide opportunities to students even if they are kicked out of the school. Public schools cannot wash their hands of those that are a disruption, who don't care about their own education, or who have uninvolved parents.
The competition is stiff is referring to the competition between students, not schools. With more students able to attend, there will be more demand and increased competition for the limited spots available. As schools see this increased demand they will be able to raise tuition to offset the demand. Schools will try to find that perfect equilibrium between the highest tuition they can charge while retaining the best students they can.
No, there are not "free" public universities that affect the federal student loan system the same as vouchers would. But that was the reason I said forget where the money comes from, the schools don't care. When you get a voucher you essentially turn every public school into a public university. You have money in your pocket that can go to whatever school you want. Whether you get the money as a voucher or a loan, it doesn't matter. The money is being spent in fixed marketplace, it must go to education, so the market doesn't care where it came from, just how much of it you have. Under the voucher system, public schools are not "free" (not like they are now, but for all intents and purposes they are viewed as so), but the second you can take a voucher, the public school is competing for your money just like any other business.
As for schools taking decades to establish themselves, I am only assuming it would take at least ten years for a well run group of people to establish a school, build the facilities, hire faculty, gain accreditation, etc, with some schools taking longer than that. I have a close friend whose family left their private school in Houston to start their own with several other families. It took them more than a decade to be known in the Houston market and almost 20 years to compete with the established large schools, so my guess is just that, but I think it is reasonable. Sure, there will be some organizations that could do it quickly, and private schools that can expand faster, but only for a small percentage.
State says "If the price of alternative schools begin to outpace the vouchers then parents and legislatures alike have a fall-back." This was exactly the point I was making. If this happens, what was the point of the voucher program to begin with? Only to allow schools to raise tuition? To have a temporary period were students were able to attend private schools. The voucher program can't begin with this as a fall-back, or why do it in the first place? You would just wind up with the same kids back in public school with the private school students paying higher tuition. The whole point of my post was exactly this problem with the federal loan program as an example. Tuition has risen exorbitantly since federal loans have come into play. This is true of private and public universities.