(Photo Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News)
(Republicans Representatives Sheryl Allen (displaying the charts), Kay McIff (left), and Steve Mascaro)
With PCE claiming that somehow the ACLU, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and the gays are behind opposition to vouchers, it is helpful to remember that the only reason Referendum 1 is possible is thanks to a few courageous Republicans who disobeyed their leadership's wishes. Utahns appreciate it.
"I respectfully disagree with my Republican colleagues who support the flawed voucher law," said Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful. "Utah voters, especially Republican voters, need to hear from Republican lawmakers that this law has too many flaws and will cost too much money — money that could be spent in our public schools."Three students? For those of you who never took or forgot basic economics, fixed costs-- school buses, salaries (teachers, bus drivers, crossing guards, school support staff, district administration), maintenance, etc.--will all not be reduced by vouchers, especially if the 3 students number bares out. So where are the savings supposed to come from? [crickets]
"...as the program is phased in, the costs far exceed any savings associated with the program," Allen said. "Over a 13-year period, Referendum 1 would cost the state $429 million, which is hundreds of millions of dollars more than even the most optimistic estimate of savings."
"We have funded education in the state through our entire history, through the Depression and thick and thin," said Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield. "Now we find ourselves with the fewest numbers of kids per family and the strongest economy in our state's history and they are saying, 'We can't afford to fund our kids' education'... Citizens should know that we will continue to educate our kids in the state (in a system) that gives us the biggest bang for our buck."
Rep. Steve Mascaro, R-West Jordan, also said he wanted to dispel the myth that vouchers will lower Utah's large class sizes.
"If you reduce the number of students in a school, then you reduce the number of teachers as well. ... Vouchers will not change that," Mascaro said.
The Legislative Fiscal Analyst estimates a reduction of three students, at most, per school per year, he said.
I don't want government programs for the sake of government programs, so if the private sector can do something better, then let them do it instead. But when there is a market failure, the government should step in for moral reasons. For example, private charity has failed to keep the elderly and the poor from getting health care...thus, we have Medicare and Medicaid.
Likewise, private education in the early republic failed to adequately educate a sufficient number of our citizens. And for over 200 years, we have provided free public education for our children until secondary school. Now other countries are doing a better job of educating their children, and none of them have vouchers. Rather, they have nationalized education. If you want to talk about savings, how about nationalizing education? Why not use the bargaining tactics and power that Walmart uses for toilet paper to buy supplies for schools, including textbooks, buses, building materials, playgrounds etc.?
Instead, the Republican leadership in the legislature prefer gimmicks like vouchers that by design cannot and will not give enough parents "school choice" to see if the idea would really work.