I had an exchange with a columnist some years ago regarding school voucher programs and the true impetus behind them. We had both reached the conclusion that the purpose was to increasingly remove funding from the American public school system and get the government (our tax dollars) to pay for Christian religious education
Guess what? That’s exactly what is happening. At least it has been demonstrated here in South Florida. (The most liberal part of the state, by the way)
Both in Palm Beach and Broward counties the private schools benefitting most from the voucher program are religious schools as reported in the South Florida Sun Sentinel;
You see that has been the key motivation all along, sap dollars from the public school system. Each child removed from public school means that currently, $4106 per student is removed from the general fund for the school the child previously attended.
This deteriorates our public schools, making religious school education more attractive.
How? Pay attention.
Think of it this way. A school (like any business) spreads its operating costs across the number of students on its rolls. A percentage of the given rate per student goes to building and grounds maintenance, a percentage goes to school supplies, to teachers, to activities, administration, etc.
So let’s say that 20 students are removed from a school. That’s $82,120 removed from that school’s operating budget. Those lost twenty students mean that the school loses 2 teachers from their budget. Think about this, less than a classroom of students leave but the school loses the equivalence of two tenured teachers’ salaries. So now what happens to the other 30 students? You know the ones that lost their teachers? (Based on a 25 student class size.) They get spread out to other classrooms increasing their class sizes. Now other teachers become more stressed dealing with larger classes of students. Oh wait, no, they can’t do that, there is a class size limitation. So what do they do?
They take money from the maintenance and upkeep of the school or cut arts programs or sports. Or they cut teachers’ salaries and benefits. So now schools have an increasingly shallower pool of candidates to pick from when it comes to qualified teachers for our children.
(I don’t have any of my own, but I still use the collective “we” because my tax dollars still pay for their education and I don’t mind paying for their education because someone with an education is far less likely to break into my home and steal my stuff. So I consider it an investment in security. And it’s cheaper than hiring someone to guard my home.)
So you see what is happening? Drawing students away from public schools make the public schools less appealing. The quality of public education is being eroded. Intentionally.
Now here is the insidious part. Religious schools, those homes of indoctrination, now become more attractive. They aren’t required to adhere to the same standards of education as public schools. Guess what gets hit first? Science. That’s right. Religious schools can teach creationism/intelligent design. Every day can begin with an indoctrinating prayer to the invisible friend. Lunch can include an indoctrinating prayer to the invisible friend. Events can commence with, ok you get the picture. Repetition breeds comfort, malaise. This makes it so much easier to push the theocratic agenda once all children have been brought up in the womb of indoctrination. What is the theocratic agenda? Control. Money. Power. Same thing it has always been after. Dumb down the population. Control their thoughts and motivations. Provide easy answers to the tough questions. Make people complacent and malleable.
Oh, by the way, I love this part because it should get the fundie Christian undies in a bundle.
Do you know which religious school benefitted most from the voucher program in Broward County?
Nur Ul Islam Academy. (I had momentary back spasms from laughing so hard.)
So the plan to undercut the public school system to give education back to a “Christian Nation” gives rise to an Islamic education instead.
Oh I so love irony.