Teachers Unions Continue to use Empty Rhetoric
Teachers unions continue to use empty rhetoric to bash promising school privatization efforts.
It is a given – and understandable – that teachers unions deplore vouchers or opportunity scholarships, arrangements whereby public monies are used to fund a private school education; it hurts their bottom line. With very few exceptions, private schools are not unionized, and every time students leave their public schools, fewer unionized teachers are needed. That translates to fewer dues dollars for the union.
So like pushy salesmen with an inferior product, the unions resort to evasions, distortions and outright lies to sell their wares.
The unions say, “Vouchers don’t improve outcomes.”
Actually, the data say otherwise. For example, the oldest voucher program in the country is in Wisconsin where “Milwaukee school choice beats the alternative.” More dramatically, Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) have the lowest graduation rate in the country – a rather pathetic 59 percent. Yet, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) just announced that its 2012 grad rate was 97 percent with 91 percent of the students going on to college.
The unions say, “Vouchers are unpopular with the public.”
That may have been true 20 years ago, but not today. Satisfaction with the DCOSP is very high, with 93 percent of parents happy with their child’s school. In May, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released the results of a national survey in which 60 percent of American adults said they support vouchers. Also, the findings show that mothers make up the demographic most likely to favor school vouchers:
… 66 percent of moms with school-age children support vouchers for all students to obtain the best education possible. Mothers with school-age children also have more confidence in private school settings than in traditional public schools.
Unfortunately public schools didn’t fare so well in the Friedman study with only 39 percent of Americans giving local public schools an “A” or a “B” compared with 54 percent in 2012 – a 15-point drop in just one year.
(Another entity that is unpopular with the public is the teachers unions. According to a recent Education Next poll, only 22 percent of Americans think the unions have a positive effect on schools.)
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