Vouchers and “School Choice” – Yet Another Inconvenient Truth

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Voucher / School Choice proponents hold themselves up as the saviors of the victims of public schools.  The victims being the poor children that are forced to attend failing schools that evidently no one else has any concern for.  The sound bite is, “No child should be forced to attend a failing school;” (semi-colon on purpose)

The conclusion of the sentence should be, “failing do to arbitrary and capricious policies the Legislature created and/or supports.”

But here is the inconvenient truth, the statement “No child should be forced to attend a failing school,” has no merit. The state already has a solution that has been used successfully for the past 20 years. That solution, already in place, is the PEG (Public Education Grant) Program. 

The PEG Program works in this fashion.  “School Choicers” may want to take notes.

If a public school, by either performance formula or accountability label, is identified as low performing, that school is placed on the PEG list. (Note: Charter schools and private schools aren’t subject to the PEG list because a parent chooses to enroll his/her child in those schools. So for the Texas Legislature, the performance of charter schools and private schools evidently… doesn’t matter.)  

Any student attending any of the 1,199 public schools on the 2014/2015 PEG list can attend any of the 7,327 public schools that are not on the PEG list, tuition free.  The only constraints are that the student may have to provide his/her own transportation and the receiving school must have room. (Another Note: Not all of the 1,199 schools on the PEG List were labeled “Low Performing.” Over half of them are on the list because they were previously “Low Performing” or a formula predicts they may eventually become low performing.  If that sounds like “Double Secret Accountability,” it is.)

Once again, the “Lack of School Choice” is a manufactured Problem / Travesty that is neither a real problem nor a travesty.  Which begs the question:

Are the advocates of vouchers ignorant of public school solutions (inexcusable for our elected officials), or pursuing a specific, non-democratic agenda (which would be… Anti-American)? 

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