Eyes on Utah
Voters in Utah will head to the polls tomorrow to decide the fate of the nation's most far-reaching school choice proposal.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah voters will decide Tuesday whether to adopt the country's first statewide school voucher program that would be open to anyone. The referendum could influence efforts elsewhere to use tax dollars for private school tuition.
Utah's voucher law would grant $500 to $3,000, depending on family income, for each child sent to private school. Unlike other voucher plans geared toward low-income students or those in failing schools, Utah's plan would be available to anyone, even affluent families in well-performing districts. ...
Utah's hotly disputed voucher law won approval by one vote in the Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The law was suspended before taking effect when opponents gathered more than 120,000 signatures to force an up-or-down referendum vote.
"It's unusual for someone to say 'As goes Utah, so goes the nation.' But this is a huge national issue," said Kim Campbell, president of the state's teachers union, the Utah Education Association, which opposes the measure.
Supporters of vouchers say the program would reduce crowding in public schools and give parents more choices. Children already in private schools would not qualify.
John Stossel points out the usual suspects in the opposition.
Arrayed against the vouchers are the usual opponents. They call themselves Utahns for Public Schools. They include, predictably, the Utah Education Association (the teachers union), Utah School Boards Association, Utah School Employees Union, Utah School Superintendents Association, the elementary and secondary school principals associations, and the PTA. No to vouchers! they protest. Trust us. We know what's best for your kids.
Uh-huh. This being the same crowd that's had a virtual monopoly over education for almost a century...the value of which has been going steadily down-hill ever since.
Don't know how this one will turn out...polls have the pro-voucher side at around 40%. Of course, it is a special election, in which it's all about which side's people are more motivated. So anything can happen.