Sunday, March 18, 2007

Strickland and Schools --VOUCHERS FOR ALL!

Ohio's new pro-abortion governor, Strickland, actually graduated from Asbury Seminary --an evangelical school in Kentucky. He has now come out against vouchers and charter schools. I would guess without studying him further that he opposes any government funding of private schools.

There really is something unAmerican about making us pay top dollar for private (usually parochial) schools PLUS funding the often less functional public system. We did go the public school route with OUR kids because our suburban/rural district was good academically and the elementary was near our home. In those days, I had to provide the transportation when we did have our two girls in private Christian schools in pre-K through 3rd grade. That became difficult and prohibitive with 2 younger boys in tow. So we went public thereafter.

It would seem that people believe money is the key ingredient to better public schools when, in fact, the good private schools do well on less money per capita. So expensive schools are not the key. Small classrooms aren't even the key, according to Japanese schools.

Parents, student motivation, discipline and values make parochial schools good --and maybe smaller size--and maybe teachers unprotected by unions who teach as a ministry. Private schools also have the ability to kick people out for goofing off and being truant. That's why vouchers are the most American solution to educational choice--so all wanna-be good students can escape disruptive and truant peers, coming and going and never learning, who prevent good teaching.

We want a public system (we have to have one for those who would refuse to attend daily and behave in the private systems) --but every kid should have a chance to escape a bad school. That was the hope behind the charter schools and the vouchers. If charter schools are failing, that doesn't mean vouchers are a bad idea. It just may mean that the private schools who do best are benefitting greatly from the Christian beliefs shared by parents and faculty, whereas religion is restricted in publically supported charter schools.

If vouchers were available for all school choices, would Christian schools have to drop their requirements that parents be Christians? They might, and some mission-minded schools may allow open enrollment now, as Catholics do, and may be willing to drop some restrictions as long as they don't have to drop the standards for behavior, religious content and required religious activities of their schools.

The slippery slope of government's regulation with vouchers scares some--however, the G.I. Bill and Pell grants for college have been useable at any school, for years, regardless of religious admission requirements. Many Christian colleges require the signing of a statement of faith and/or conduct. Students at least are required to attend chapels and certain Bible classes whether or not students get grants in aid--and that's as it should be. Academic choice. There would be MORE mission-oriented private schools for the needy, if the government made vouchers available to all, making public schools compete for students. Public schools would work harder to survive.

March 17, 2007 12:04 PM

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