Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who is spinning whom?

The Tribune reports, "The Office of Legislative Research has until Aug. 20 to submit an impartial analysis of the voucher program for the pamphlets The Office of Legislative Research has until Aug. 20 to submit an impartial analysis of the voucher program for the pamphlets that will be mailed and placed in newspapers around the state."

But meanwhile, both sides of the voucher debate offered 250-rebuttals to each other's arguments. First up, fellow blogger State Rep. Steve Urquhart, Republican:

It's simple. A vote for vouchers is a vote to improve education.
If you vote "Yes,"
* school funding will improve
* children's options and opportunities will increase
* academic achievement will go up
* parents will gain a stronger voice within the system

Why is there such a fuss over 0.0025% of the education budget?
Because some people think the status quo is good enough.

Let's do better. Vote FOR Vouchers to improve education.

Now, the teachers unions:

* Reasonable Choices Are Available
Utah already offers many good choices through "open enrollment" and charter schools. Taxpayers can't fund every choice.
* Proposed Voucher Laws are Inadequate
Even with last-minute legislative "patch work," voucher laws authorize schools with too little oversight, no real coursework or attendance requirements, lax standards for teachers and minimal accountability to taxpayers. Risk of inadequate and unstable schools is high.
* Whom Would Vouchers Help?
Probably not the disadvantaged. Even with vouchers, parents with a modest income couldn't afford to send their children to good private schools.
* Is There "Additional Money" For Public Schools?
No. For five years, transferring students would be double funded by taxpayers - in the private schools and the public schools they left behind. Thereafter, public school funding would be cut to reflect lost enrollment.
* Would Vouchers Prevent Tax Increases?
Unlikely. Subsidizing students now privately funded creates a projected deficit of almost a half billion dollars. These dollars would come from other worthy projects like health care, public safety and roads. If we have extra taxpayer money, it would be better spent reducing class sizes and improving Utah's public schools.
* "Bureaucrats and Liberals"?
Who are they? Not the 29,000 dedicated, caring and underpaid teachers in our neighborhood schools; also not Utah's commonsense conservative citizens who oppose another entitlement program. The real "bureaucrats and liberals" are the subsidy advocates and out-of-state voucher pushers looking for Utah to save their faltering national movement.

One at least alludes to facts, the other just makes blanket statements without facts. If you want Rep. Urquhart, I would be happy to get into a "study war" where we each show a study of the vouchers working and failing. No points for you if you use a conservative think tank, no point for me if I use a liberal/moderate one. Since I have a Bush Administration Department of Education study showing they don't work, I think I win already, but I look forwards to battling you.

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