The problem is, vouchers provide no accountability at all.When applied in a system that involves spending public money on private schools, a voucher system will do one of two things:
It will provide no accountability because the long arm of government has no control over private schools.Or it will bring accountability by allowing the government to exercise some control over private schools because public money will be involved. Either way, the result is a bad one, and that's why we remain vehemently opposed to a voucher system in the public schools.
The newspaper also included an op-ed column by Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith who says:
The cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act is accountability. Public schools are required to meet academic achievement and teacher quality standards, maintain open meetings and release data such as attendance, graduation, dropout rates and test scores. Private schools are not similarly accountable to the taxpayers who pay for vouchers, either directly through public funding or indirectly through tax credits.
But those in favor of educational vouchers also received their say in today's News-Leader, which featured an op-ed piece by Governor Matt Blunt on the same subject. Of course, the latest effort to open Missouri to educational vouchers comes under a different title, tax credits. The governor notes:
A program to grant low-income students a privately funded scholarship to attend private school, another public school or education enhancement programs offers one option to expand opportunities for students. The initiative would allow businesses or Missourians to receive tax credits in exchange for a donation to a not-for-profit organization. This organization would provide these private donations as scholarships for students who attend failing schools to take advantage of education opportunities that better meet their needs. As we continue to help schools make necessary long-term reforms, Missouri children deserve more than a school that is "under construction." They deserve and they need a quality education now.
This idea, which failed in the 2006 legislative session, will rear its ugly head again in 2007. As the News-Leader editorial rightly notes, there is no accountability when money is going into private schools. This plan offers nothing more than a backdoor way to get vouchers entrenched in Missouri, and give businesses a tax break at the same time.
The Governor has a vested interest in educational vouchers. In the 2004 election, the interest group All Children Matter, one of the nation's leading voucher proponents spent $196,252.33 during the last couple of weeks of the governor's campaign funding attack ads against Blunt's opponent, State Auditor Claire McCaskill. Blunt later was the keynote speaker for the organization's annual convention.
This blog has documented some of the spending All Children Matter did during the past election, money that went to Democrats and Republicans alike. As usual in politics, it is money that is doing the talking.