November 7, 2007

Utah Voucher Program Defeated

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Utah voucher plan that would have made a $500 to $3000 voucher available to every child in Utah, applicable to the school of their choice, was defeated in a voter referendum yesterday. The Salt Lake City Tribune has a nuts and bolts election report...

Voters decisively rejected the will of the Utah Legislature and governor Tuesday, defeating what would have been the nation's most comprehensive education voucher program in a referendum blowout....

More than 60 percent of voters were rejecting vouchers, with about 95 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. The referendum failed in every county, including the conservative bastion of Utah County.

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Why do Utahns need school vouchers, anyway?
Wait a second...given the Mormons' control of state government, they might come in handy if you're non-LDS.

Posted by: rhody at November 7, 2007 1:11 PM

Teachers unions from across the country poured millions of dollars into a PR campaign to defeat this.

A victory for the teachers unions and the mediocrity they champion; a defeat for children, parents, taxpayers and the economic future of the United States.

Posted by: Tom W at November 7, 2007 2:23 PM

Dear Tom,

That's funny, that's not how KSL 5 described it.

It should also be noted that spending was about equal.

If anything, this was the citizenry uniting, much as they did in Portsmouth, to overturn laws they did not like.

Choice yes - because it works.

Vouchers no - because they don't.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at November 7, 2007 7:00 PM

>>If anything, this was the citizenry uniting, much as they did in Portsmouth, to overturn laws they did not like.

Yes, and funny how here the unions are vehemently opposed to citizen referenda, but had no qualms about using that mechanism to protect the status quo.

>>Choice yes - because it works. Vouchers no - because they don't.

Choice = competition, and history shows that it does indeed work.

Unfortunately, there is no (school) choice without vouchers.

Posted by: Tom W at November 7, 2007 7:38 PM

Dear Tom,

We have choice now under NCLB.

What we don't have, due to 36 separate school departments, are choice(s).

Once you get outside of elementary school, in most communities, only 1 choice is left. If we regionialized a little, smartly not haphazardly, we could provide more choice and create a little competition between teachers in a positive way that would create better performance.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at November 8, 2007 9:01 AM

Dear Bobby,

Nice to see the civility on your part; I'll try to reciprocate.

The "choice" under NCLB is more symbolism than real. While regionalization in RI might increase it some, ultimately there are only so many "seats" in, say, East Greenwich.

"Choice" between public schools is like offering the "choice" between GM, Ford and Chrysler products in the 1970's - a choice between crap products produced by a unionized oligopoly isn't really choice at all. Market share fluctuated between them, but they still weren't compelled to produce quality products.

We need the educational equivalent of Toyota and Honda to provide true competition from outside of the oligopoly, which will then force all players to improve - to the benefit of the consumers, i.e., children, parents and taxpayers.

The unionized / edu-crat public education (near) monopoly over K-12 won't meaningfully change for the better absent viable competition from outside (via parental choice via vouchers or tax credits).

Posted by: Tom W at November 8, 2007 1:24 PM
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