Monday, May 12, 2003

Clueless as Usual

San Diego Libertarian and friend of Reason, Richard Rider takes on a May 7 New York Time's piece on school vouchers that hyped a study showing that low income black kids in New York City who received $1,400 vouchers did no
better academically than similar black kids in the public school system. As usual the education establishment obscures the relevant cost data.

Rider's crucial points:

The particular NYC voucher in question is privately funded, and it is VERY low -- $1,400 per student per year. This is less than the cost of almost ANY private school. The more conventional government voucher being discussed or implemented is far higher. Cleveland is doing well with a $2,500 voucher. The California voucher (which didn't pass) was to be about $4,000. The Milwaukee voucher is about $5,500. The proposed Washington, D.C. voucher is a whopping $11,000 -- admittedly a nutty idea, but then, we're talking about WASHINGTON!

Here's the crucial point carefully ignored by educrats and liberals: While the NYC private school kids supposedly did no better than the public school kids, the vaunted rebuttal by voucher opponents showed that the voucher kids DID NO WORSE EITHER. Consider: New York City spends $9,059 per "general education" student. (This government figure already factors out the incredible $30,464 spent annually per "special education" student.)

Hence these $1,400 vouchers are providing the SAME education as public schools for LESS THAN ONE SIXTH THE COST! Why charge taxpayers over six times as much for the same service readily available from low budget private providers? And how much better could these kids do with a more realistic but still modest voucher of, say, $3,000?

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