Friday, October 12, 2007

Feeling Like a Mormon Democrat: Yet Another Voucher Post

I'm not a Democrat, but being a voucher supporter in Utah may be the closest I'm going to get to feeling like a Mormon Democrat. You're embarrassed to be on the same team with certain other people on your side of the issues, but you stay because that's where your convictions lie.

Honestly, I haven't read many positive things about Parents for Choice in Education. They don't seem to be running a clean campaign. Yet they are on the right side of the issue. I'll pull the lever for vouchers because they are a good idea, not because I'm pleased with the way they've been marketed.

Even if vouchers end up costing the state more money, that would be more money spent towards educating kids and I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. (Aren't people always saying we should be spending more on education?) However, I suspect that vouchers will save money for the state and that that savings can be used to increase per-pupil spending in the public schools.

To be honest, I don't understand why public school teachers don't like the idea. Surely, the student population in Utah will continue to grow, meaning that the vouchers will only slow the growth. I don't think there is even a remote possibility that vouchers will cause a public school to close or shrink due to lack of enrollment.

After having looked carefully at the issue (as a non-lawyer), I have absolutely no worries about the constitutionality of the voucher measure. It is clearly legal under the Utah constitution. A reading of the Utah constitution that would prohibit vouchers would also prohibit payment of salaries to government workers who would pay tithing on that money. COL Takashi put a terrific analysis of the issue in a comment on a blog and now I can't find it. But I was thoroughly persuaded.

Anti-voucher arguments about government subsidies are also totally bogus. We've made a decision as a society to entirely subsidize the education of children. That ship has sailed. With vouchers, we're letting some people volunteer to chip in some extra money toward the education of their own children rather than having the state pay the whole bill. I support vouchers because they addresses the unfairness in our current system that some parents pay for the education of their children twice. Rich or not, that isn't fair. Let's fix it with vouchers.


Anonymous said...

It's just too bad these parents have to pay twice. Being child free and still having to pay doesn't really endear me to them. Before you come back with the benefits to all, let me remind you I also don't get all tax deductions either.

Vouchers are a handout by the government which is hardly republican.

y-intercept said...

About the kooks for vouchers. The way politics works is all the people who are disenfranchised by a given power struggle unite against that power structure.

Whenever you are on the outside of the power stuggle, you are necessarily in the company of kooks; so you have to grow a thick skin.

You should take comfort, when you at the pro-voucher kooks, you will find that they run the political spectrum. There are the ignornant kooks who don't want their kids learnin' them new ideas like science to parents worried about excessive sexuality and violence in schools to people who actually do have a better curriculum than the public schools.

Bradley Ross said...

Anonymous said, "let me remind you I also don't get all tax deductions either." He/she is implying that there is some great financial windfall to being a parent. Yeah...

Anonymous said...

You chose to have children. The consequence is paying for them.

Bradley Ross said...

I totally agree. I'm a big proponent of self-sufficiency as far as possible. Your point about kids being an economic boon was bogus and I pointed it out. This is totally unrelated to the issue of vouchers, of course. On this tangent, I recommend stuff over at Reach Upward.

However, my original point remains. If we decide as a society that we're going to pay for the education of all children (as we have), then we ought to be fair about it. The people who bear the costs of raising the child ought to have the largest say in how the child is educated. Vouchers help achieve this goal. They represent a SMALLER subsidy to parents who put their children in private schools than they would receive if they put their children in the public schools. The injustice is that we've asked them to pay TWICE for all these years. Vouchers help correct that.

Your first comment appears to deny the "benefits to all" in educating our children. Is this really your position? Do you want to live in a world where the rising generation is smaller and less educated than the current generation? The benefits of educated children accrue to all of society, not just the parents of those children. This point seems so obvious that I hope I'm misreading your earlier comment where you appear to deny this.

Rob said...

As a Mormon and a Democrat I can say that there is no reason to ever be embarrassed by anyone else. We are who we want to be, not who others are, or think we are.

If someone judges me because of another Democrat, or Mormon, that's their problem.

Scott Hinrichs said...

I think the COL-Takashi post you reference can be found here.

Bradley Ross said...

Rob, if I were a Democrat, I'd be embarrassed to be on the same team as, to give an example, Jesse Jackson. However, I really only meant that comment as a lighthearted jab and a fun lead in. No offense intended.

Reach, that wasn't the post I was thinking of, though it is a good one. Your comment did help me find the one I was thinking of. It was a comment at CoolestFamilyEver. The comments on that post I just linked were very worth reading.

Frank Staheli said...

Many public school teachers and principals in my extended family like the idea of vouchers, because, to quote a couple of them, it means "less butts in seats" in the public school system.

I'm not sure whether they'll vote for vouchers because they may feel guilty for stepping out of line from their fellow public educators.

I wrote on Simple Utah Mormon Politics that I think PCE often (unwittingly, purposefully?) makes the ANTI-voucher case. That's unfortunate, but I will still vote FOR Referendum 1.

Rob said...

Are you embarrassed by Larry, Mark, Chris, Tom, Duke, Greg, and Britney?

And, if so, why?

Bradley Ross said...

Rob, I'm not even sure who you mean by all those first names, but to give you an example, I'm embarrassed that Ted Stevens is a Republican. I don't want corrupt people in my party, and when they are exposed, we all look worse for their association with us.

You argue that we should all be individuals. That nice and idealistic, but ultimately useless. I don't have time to get to know every single person. I'm grateful for political parties because they give me useful information about a person so I have a starting point for understanding their positions.

People know something about me because I choose to affiliate with the Republicans. I don't want people to have negative emotions when they think about the things I've associated with. Thus, I'm embarrassed because of Ted Stevens. I don't have to hate him or even disagree with most of his positions to be embarrassed by him.