"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, May 12, 2008

Corporate Vouchers Victorious in Florida

When state legislators in Florida offer children and parents either a rundown, under-funded, segregated testing factory or a tax-supported corporate voucher to a Christian school, the school choice has already been made--and it hasn't been made by the parent or the child.

Nevertheless, a growing number of legislators in Florida have seen the light at the bottom of their vortex. They have convinced themselves that they are not voting for vouchers--they are voting for scholarships. They are not giving up their civic commitment to provide for citizens in order that corporations may be relieved of their tax burden--they are saving children, even if it from their own legislative and moral failure to provide for them.

The amount of democracy within a society is directly proportionate to the amount of civic space remaining there. Oh, well.

Clips from St. Petersburg Times:
In 2001, Democrats in the Legislature pounded Republican plans to start a private school voucher program for poor and predominantly minority kids. They said it was unconstitutional, a drain on public schools, even un-American. In the end, all but one Democrat voted against it.

Times have changed. This year, a bill to vastly expand the same program passed by large margins.

And this time, a third of the Democratic caucus was on board.

"I'm a strong advocate for public school education, and I'm not necessarily a strong advocate for vouchers," said Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, one of four Tampa Bay-area Democrats to vote yes. But "the bottom line has to be the child. If good things are happening for the child, then you can justify it."

. . . .

The legislation increases the amount of each scholarship to $3,950, up $200 from this year. The average cost per student in public school is about $7,000.

Some Democratic supporters say they back the program because unlike Opportunity Scholarships, the state's first voucher program — which the Florida Supreme Court struck down in 2006 — the money for tax-credit scholarships doesn't come directly out of state coffers. Some offered what critics call a semantic defense.

"I don't think I'm voting for a voucher," said Rep. Betty Reed, a Tampa Democrat who has 13 private schools in her district that accept tax-credit scholarships. "It's a scholarship." . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment