Intellectual honesty and the Anti-Public School Politicians who are proponents of school vouchers are seemingly mutually exclusive. At least, publicly displayed intellectual honesty. In private, they may espouse to their confidants that the real goals of school vouchers are to dismantle public education and provide tax breaks to the rich.
Since we know that we can’t expect intellectual honesty from our anti-public school / anti-egalitarian / anti-democratic politicians, I’ll attempt to fill the void.
The Political Lie of School Voucher Economics: School vouchers will reduce the cost of private school tuition and make private schools available for the poor.
For example, if private school tuition is $10,000.00 a year (above the reach of a poor family), the poor family can use a $7,000.00 school voucher. This will reduce the cost of tuition to $3,000.00, an affordable amount.
“Vote for Me!”
Truth #1 of School Voucher Economics: Assuming the above model holds (it won’t, see Truth #2, below) it really only works if the family has only one child. Every additional child increases the cost to the family.
One child = $3,000.00. Two children = $6,000.00. Three children = $9,000.00. And so on. When the family reaches its private school funding capacity, what are they supposed to do? Rank their children by potential?
“I’m sorry, Johnny. But we all know your little sister is smarter than you. So quit complaining and get on the Yellow Bus.”
Welcome to Survivor: Family Edition.
Truth #2 of School Voucher Economics: The political school voucher economic model assumes the operators of private schools are stupid. Which makes you wonder what politicians think about public school educators? Not really, their actions speak loud and clear about what they think about us. I on the other hand do not believe that private school operators are stupid.
Assume I am a private school operator. I am charging $10,000.00 a year for tuition, and I have a waiting list. All of a sudden, my clients have an additional $7,000.00 of non-discretionary income that can only be used at private schools.
“What to do? What to do?”
I could do nothing and my clients can reallocate $7,000.00 of their discretionary income to buy new iPhones and go on vacation.
Or, because I am smart, I can raise my tuition by the amount of the non-discretionary client windfall (the school voucher). My clients get the same service. My clients spend the same amount of their discretionary income on private school tuition.
No harm, no foul.
But, and here is the good part, I get to pocket the extra $7,000.00 of state money. Sure, it may be bad for public school children and taxpayers, but that’s not my problem.
“Thank you, Mr. and Ms. Anti-Public School Politician!”
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