School vouchers will not fix education problems
Editor, the Advocate:
A current hot topic of local interest is the school voucher debate. From what I've read, neither side has gotten to the core issue. On the same day as the article about the School Board Trustees sending their letter was an article about a business group petitioning the state legislature. Briefly, they were asking the state legislature not to spend any more money on education until the schools began producing a usable product. They said the pool of qualified workers was too small because the high school graduates were unqualified for hire. I read another article a few years ago expressing the same thing about college graduates.
I have worked with some of our local high school graduates and students and I concur with the business group assessment. One of these students attended Liberty Academy. This youngster could not follow simple instructions and wanted me to pad hours worked. I have spoken with a handful of former VISD students and faculty and the "failure is not an option" program allowed students to turn in work whenever they wanted and would not receive a failing grade.
On the flip side, vouchers will not rectify this situation. One big hurdle is the expense of upkeep and maintenance of the current facilities. The argument of the trustees that the voucher system would lead to unqualified teachers and large classroom size is ludicrous. I went to school when classroom size was 30-35 students and the academic ranking of this country was much higher.
I could elaborate more, but I believe there is a viable solution that could help the entire situation. Many years ago, New Zealand had a broken education system. What I remember they did, in a nutshell, was to do away with district school boards and a parent board oversaw each school. This board had the authority to evaluate and fire teachers, grade the school overall if it should stay open or not and also authorized the budget allotment of each individual school. I perceive such a system would also force parents to discipline their children into being proper, responsible citizens.
Tony Corte, Victoria