Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Voucher Plan for Every Child and Every School

All parents are equal.
All parents are good.
Ergo:  Only the school the child attends
really matters in the end.
I've been watching a lot of Fox News lately and tuning in to Rush on radio; and I'm a huge fan of the film Waiting for Superman.  So, even though I'm a retired public school teacher, I am finally forced to admit the truth. We need a voucher & lottery system for all kids and all schools, a Wild West competition, if you will.  That is:  we allow successful schools to thrive and unsuccessful schools to wither.

(WAIT....keep reading....I might be joking....and you won't know if you don't finish.)

No more public school monopoly.  No more union teachers, sitting on their fat duffs and pillaging the State Treasury.

(Keep going...don't quit now.)

Competition, baby--kind of like McDonalds vs. Burger King vs. Burger Chef--and may the best burger and fries win.

(Patience, my liberal friends. Continue to the end.)

In fact, if you haven't seen my favorite movie, here's a Superman summary:  Five great kids enter the lottery to get into superior charter schools in the cities where they live.  They must flee the failing public schools, where teachers are pathetic losers and unionized malcontents.  Every parent is concerned about their child, of course. The movie makes that perfectly clear because there are no bad parents in the movie.  So we know bad parents do not exist.  We need more vouchers, charter schools, and free and open competition.

In fact, let's look at the famous "Parable of the Schools." (I just made it up.) First, we have Joseph R. Crappy Public School.  Until now, this school has enjoyed a monopoly.  This school even has a monoply on children with serious handicaps and hogs all the homeless children, too.  In this school they take children of all faiths, and no faith at all, and then because they have a monopoly, they can't even be bothered to read from the King James Bible--or is it the Latin Vulgate--or the Book of Mormon--or pray at the start of the school day.

Boy oh boy...those unionized teachers...they have some nerve, not even having the gumption to teach your kid good religious values any more.

Down the street we have Arne Duncan Charter School.  This school can save any child from Crappy Public School.  This school takes children whose parents are involved and sign their sons and daughters up for a special lottery, to gain admission.  If you have seen Waiting for Superman, you know every parent (or grandparent) stands behind their child and wants them to get into this school.  It is a matter of life and death, this escaping Crappy Public School.

Turn right at the next stoplight and you come to Stupendous Prep Private School.  This school comes in 57 varieties, including:  1) Christian School, where religion is taught and the King James Bible rules; 2) Hideaway School, a residential facility where tuition is prohibitive and only children of the upper classes can afford to go; 3) Elite Catholic School, where the Latin Vulgate Bible is preferred, and entry is determined by scores on entrance tests; 4) Muslim School, where the Koran is favored and few listeners of Rush dare to tred; 5 thru 57) other.

Now:  we all know that Joseph R. Crappy Public School is failing and why.  It's crappy unionized teachers.  We know good parents are demanding that their children be allowed to attend Arne Duncan Charter School, which is sure to be better, because there the crappy unionized teachers are kept at bay.  Meanwhile, the students at Stupendous Prep are happy and safe and learning religious values, of various kinds, in perfect good order. 

So:  Here's the plan that perfects the whole.  (This plan elevates me to U. S. Secretary of Education under President Newt Gingrich.) We already know that all parents are equal, that all parents are good, and that teachers in unions are minions of the Devil.  So we level the playing field for every child in America. 

First, we let Stupendous Prep receive regular state funding.

Second, we give every student at Crappy Public a voucher, so that now we have perfect school choice.

Third, since this is a business competition, we allow Crappy Public to operate by the same rules.  That is, what works for Arne Duncan Charter and Stupendous Prep, it's got to work for Crappy, too. 

I was going to say, "Suppose we take an extreme example...." But all parents are the same, as we have already mentioned.  So, imagine that we have a mom and dad who cook methamphetamines in their home.  And they get too busy running the family business to sign up for the lottery to get their child in the nearest charter school.  Well, if the child has serious problems and scores low on standardized tests, Crappy Public School does its duty for once, loosens its monopoly grip, and gives the child a voucher--actually sends them away to Arne Duncan Charter or Stupendous Prep, down the block.  These schools receive state funding, too, and we want every child to play on a level field.  So:  yes.  Stupendous Prep can no longer deny entry based on test scores or keep kids out by charging huge fees.  And Arne Duncan Charter has a civic duty to take students whose parents didn't sign them up, because charter schools exist to save kids who want to flee the failing regular schools. 

Or, now:  the kids the failing regular schools send them to save.

Homeless kids?  Yeah, break the Crappy Public School monopoly here, too.  We enter them all in a lottery and divide them up, so that Stupendous Prep gets a fair share of the pie, and next you know, these poor children are wearing monogrammed blazers and getting ready to go on to Harvard and Yale and Brown.  Handicapped kids?  BREAK that Crappy Public monopoly.  Kids with severe behavior disorders?  BREAK that monopoly. 

Honestly, how can such a brilliant plan go wrong?  From now on, in every school of every type, all kids take State standardized tests.  If Crappy Public has the lowest scores in 2013, then we do our duty to the children and allow the lowest scoring students, say the bottom 50, to load up the yellow bus and go on down the street, where Arne Duncan Charter will save them--raise them from the educational dead, like Lazarus, so to speak.  You don't ask parents if they want their kids to go, lazy unionized teachers!  You send those lowest scoring students away.

You can't be selfish and try to keep all the kids with the worst problems to yourselves.

In fact, the State can now close all juvenile detention facilities.  We give every kid with violence issues or a criminal record a chance to escape Crappy Public and send them to Christian School to learn from the King James Bible, and sit next to Governor Kasich's children, or we send them to Hideaway School, where Davis Guggenheim, producer of my favorite film, sends his kids and then watch the business model work in education to perfection.

Family background has no bearing on what happens in schools.  Schools and teachers alone shape kids.  So let's send all the boys and girls who really need help to the very best schools.  Open those doors wide Arne Duncan Charter School. Come on Stupendous Prep! 

You've got some saving to do.


  1. John, for a moment, I thought you had lost your ever lovin' mind!!! LOL!!!

  2. Several teachers felt I was serious at the start of this post and apparently gave up before reaching the end. Or maybe it was just the crappy writing. This weekend I saw an article about private schools in New York City charging $40,000 yearly tuition for grade school!!!

    In another article, it was reported that Salinas, California, a city of 150,000 had a serious gang problem, with 3,500 members. Wonder how many are school age kids?

    Well, you know MY idea in this matter. Dress those gang members up in nice clothes and send them to private school. I say: Let one gang member sit beside each of Davis Guggenheim's kids. Let one sit on each side of Governor Kasich's kids. Then we see how they like vouchers.