Wednesday, October 24, 2007

more voucher fuzzy math and smear tactics

Paul Rolly lays the smack down, again.
For a certified public accountant, Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble needs to brush up on his math.
Bramble had an opinion piece in the Provo Daily Herald on Saturday that argued that voters should approve private school vouchers. He noted that from 1995 to 2005, Utah's public school enrollment increased by 34,423 students. He said that between 2005 and 2015, the projected growth will be 154,752 students, "a staggering 450 percent increase."
He goes on to say that "it's not hard to see what a 450 percent increase in student population is going to do to public education."
But according to his own figures, the 154,752 is not a 450 percent increase in the student population, which currently is about 540,000. It's 450 percent of the 34,423 students that represented the previous 10-year increase.
If there were a 450 percent increase in the student population by 2015, we would have 3 million student-age children. That's about a half-million more than Utah's entire population. To reach that figure, every woman in Utah of child-bearing age would have to have six more children.
The Provo Republican then argues that in order to pay for the 450 percent increase, we would have to triple the income tax. But in actuality, the projected 154,752 new students represent a 28.5 percent increase in the student population.
I am sure that Sen. Bramble would love every Utah woman to have six more children, but it another case of lying to hide the fact that vouchers just don't add up. So if giving a disingenuous representation of facts and figures isn't working, it is time to go back to the old standby, slander.
Backers branded those opposing vouchers for private schools "bigots," and accused them of spreading lies.
[ CEO Patrick] Byrne said the vouchers simply shift control from the educational bureaucracy to parents. "It's not about accountability. it's about bigotry," he said.
[Utah Education Association's Vik] Arnold countered: "It is the private schools that choose to accept students or not. That is where there is bigotry - if indeed there is bigotry, Sir."
Meanwhile, voucher opponents pointed out all of the loopholes in this poorly drafted bill.
At the debate, Alan Smith, a lawyer for the anti-voucher Utahns for Public Schools, belittled the program as flawed, describing a hypothetical private school called "Professor Harold Hill's Think Method School of Government and Civics." His school legally would accept vouchers - offering parents a $1,000 kickback - though only offering three class meetings a year in a public park. The students would simultaneously continue their education in public schools. "My school is perfectly kosher under the bill," Smith said.
Sounds like a good debate, too bad I am in D.C. and couldn't make it. Tell me what you thought of it if you went.

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