4.21.2007

Republican Fun

Last night we again proved that while we have young, hot bodies we really are old people. We spent the evening at the Cache County Republican Convention. I went to appease Craig at first but I did end up having a good time. It started as you would expect, a prayer, the pledge, a couple little speeches. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop gave the keynote speech, complete with pork rind props, and I found him surprisingly funny. The real fun part came with the debate over school vouchers. I don't think the pro-voucher speaker was very good but since his side of the debate is infinitely superior that was okay. He mostly talked about how it won't take away money from public schools. The anti-voucher speaker was a mom from the PTA.
Her stance: (with my rebuttal in italics)
  • She loves public schools, a lot. Her kids are going great in it.
    • I'm sure she does. If we get the program, her kids can stay right where they are. But that doesn't mean that other kids aren't getting what they need from public schools?
  • We shouldn't take money away from public schools .
    • The voucher program funds don't come from the public education fund, they come from the general fund.
  • The program would only help 4% of the people since 96% of the children in Utah are enrolled in public schools.
    • This is a silly argument. Once we have the voucher program in place, those numbers will change. That's the point - to help parents whose can't afford private schools take the kids out of public schools if they aren't working for them. That means that those kids are in public schools right now.
  • The public school system was created so that we wouldn't have a caste system in America where only rich kids go to private school.
    • Whose side is she one again? That's what we have now. The vouchers will help kids of all income levels go to private schools.
  • Public schools are better since they allow children to experience diversity and culture.
    • Public schools don't allow children to experience diversity and culture. They are divided by neighborhoods creating incredibly segregated institutions. That is why there are certain neighborhoods I would rather sub in. But the State Office of Education says that Utah private schools have more non-whites as a percentage of enrollment than Utah Public schools. And with the voucher program, that would probably only increase.
  • I was really surprised that she didn't talk about the argument I hear most often - that since private schools are sooooo expensive the voucher program won't help parents with real financial need, they will only help rich people whose kids already go to these schools get a break. Middle class and low-income families still will have no new options. Due to it's popularity I will still address it.
    • People need to stop assuming things about the cost of a private education. A USU survey puts the average cost for a K-8 students to be about $3800 so a $3000 scholarship will help quite a bit. Private schools also have scholarships to help families make up the difference. And a few low-income families receiving the CFU scholarships of much less have been able to pay (on average) the $2100 difference. They are willing to sacrifice to make sure their kids get a good education. The only reason it is a only "a few" families is that only 15% of the families that apply for these scholarships get them due to high demand. Obviously families of all income levels want these options.
The funniest thing about her arguments was that she did a really bad job of tailoring them to her audience (the delegates at the county's REPUBLICAN convention). Her rebuttal was pretty much: I'm not hear to debate conservative vs. liberal, or democrat vs. republican, but I just want to say that we NEED kids in public education.
    • So since she thinks we need kids in public education, she is going to force parents to send their kids there if they don't have the money for other options. If she really thinks they are so great, she shouldn't be worrying so much that nobody is gonna be left in public schools if they have the option to send their kids where they want.
After a little debating and a painful voting (how many republicans does it take to count the votes), the resolution passed, WHOOP! I left the convention proud to be a Republican and happy with both my bright red tote bag and my Choice in Education button. I will be putting this button on the bag I wear to schools each day to show my support! Hopefully I am still invited to eat lunch in the faculty rooms :-)

Oh and for those of you who are spoiled by all the fun and games from Rachel's blog. I have a link for a game too.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

OK, here's my problem with vouchers. The government is like, "Hey, public schools really suck. Take some of this money to send your kids to a good school." But . . . they're the government's schools, so why don't they put more money into making them NOT SUCK?
Also, I am no good at the apple game, even when I have freedom of choice.

Craig said...

Money alone will not make public schools not suck. Public schools have problems of approach, standards, and philosophy. Only by introducing competition that is available to the masses will these schools be forced to adapt.