One thing that often bothers me in many public discussions is that people rarely offer all the pertinent information when they argue for their cause. The result is arguments like this against vouchers. I will be the first to admit that voucher supporters are just as guilty of only discussing facts that are favorable to their position, but both sides seem to assume that the citizens can’t make an informed decision and must therefore be coerced into one position or the other.
For too many Utah families vouchers don’t offer a real choice. More than half of Utah’s counties have NO private schools at all. The average private school tuition is almost $8,000 a year. The average statewide voucher is estimated to be only about $2,000. That means that for a family with four children, the additional $24,000 in tuition puts private school completely out of reach.
I just can’t get over the fact that voucher opponents will argue that vouchers are too expensive and at the same time they argue that public schools should get more money, and that the vouchers are too cheap to do any good. The argument above says that $24,000 is prohibitively expensive while ignoring the fact that $32,000 (the cost without voucher support) is substantially more expensive for the same family. The reality is that if that difference between $32K and $24K is not enough to make people switch from public to private school then vouchers won’t cost us anything.
Another beautiful contradiction that I have always laughed at is the argument that we don’t pay enough into our public schools coupled with the following (from the same page linked above):
20.8 % of Utah’s graduating public high school seniors have passed their AP tests. This is the third highest rate in the nation.
At 83.8 percent in 2004, Utah’s public high school graduation rate is the best in the country.
Third highest rate in the nation for A.P. tests passed and highest graduation rate but our schools are failing. I guess we need to define what it means to pass (or fail). The only thing I can tell for sure is that there is apparently no strong correlation between money spent per pupil and success in A.P. testing or graduation rates.