Sixty percent of Utah voters say they would likely vote against a voucher program, according to a Dan Jones & Associates poll conducted for the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV. In comparison, 34 percent said they would vote for vouchers, while 7 percent were undecided.So people have made up their minds already. But the best quote of the day goes to PCE, in all of its delicious irony.
The poll of 409 Utahns was conducted last week and has a margin of error of 5 percent.
In July, the Deseret Morning News reported on a similar poll that found that 57 percent of those surveyed would most likely vote against the voucher program and 36 percent said they would vote in favor of it.
"We're convinced that as parents begin to understand who is behind this and who supports it and the merit of the program itself, they are going to vote for this," said Leah Barker, spokeswoman for Parents for Choice in Education, a pro-voucher group.Who is behind vouchers? Overstock.com's CEO that pushed an unconstitutional intellectual property law for his company, out of state partisans and anti-public school nutters. And don't forget astroturf bloggers. Who is behind the anti-voucher movement? Utah teachers and their union, who asked for money from the national union. Contrary to the ads you see and hear, that has nothing to do with Nancy Pelosi, Moveon.org, or gays getting married. Now maybe gay people (who might want to be married) gave money or are teacher's union members, or maybe one of Moveon.org's 3 million members gave money, but really it is Utah's teachers that are opposed to it.
And as to the merits of the program, we have a study in Milwaukee, which has had vouchers for a few years now, that shows vouchers have made no improvement in student achievement, which is of course, the whole point of vouchers right? Or is it just to make schooling like health insurance, privatized.
I went to a private school (Rowland Hall-St. Mark's) from 5-PreK to grade 12, and it was great for me and my ADD with the small class sizes. But RHSM's current tuition is $14,710 for grades 6-11 ($15,040 for 12th because of graduation expenses) and $12,450 for full day kindergarten to 5th grade. That to me seems unaffordable for those who would get the $3,000 voucher. Now maybe Rowland Hall is at high end, but it is also one of if not the best school in the state. And don't our children deserve the best.
Truth is, the real problem is that kids in Park City get a much better education that those on the west side of the Valley. If we actually want to improve education for all of Utah's kids, we need to base funding on a state-wide funding mechanism, build more schools and hire more quality teachers.
Instead, our Republican-controlled legislature is content to resort to ideological gimmicks that won't solve the problem and will probably only make it worse. And this same Republican-controlled legislature is threatening to take your child's ball and go home: when Referendum 1 fails, they will decrease funding for Utah's schools. I am glad Utahns are at least standing up to these bullies.