Giving Parents a Choice Gives Children a Chance

January 22-28 is National School Choice Week

“If you save one life, you save the world.” So believed Ted Forstmann, cofounder of the Children’s Scholarship Fund. January 22-28 is the second annual National School Choice Week. A collaboration of more than 200 organizations across the country, National School Choice Week highlights the need for effective educational options for all children, especially those most in need of increased educational opportunity.

Scholarship programs like the Children’s Scholarship Fund help put private and parochial schools within the reach of elementary children from lower-income families. Because of CSF and its local partners, more than 123,000 low-income children nationwide have attended private schools. In fact, the Children’s Scholarship Fund is the only national K-8 scholarship organization in the country.

A helping hand makes all the difference to elementary school children who need a chance. Last spring I attended a luncheon at Central Catholic High School in Portland to honor graduating seniors with athletic scholarships to college. I was invited by a young man who began to be sponsored by the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland when he was in grade school.

“I have learned that nothing’s going to be handed to you and that you’ll succeed through hard work,” Kidus told me. “[Private school] was challenging, but it has gotten me ready for college and life.”

One of Central Catholic’s star basketball players, Kidus now attends Portland State University and plays for the Vikings. He was able to attend private schools because of scholarship assistance from caring Oregonians.

To be eligible for scholarship assistance, families must be lower-income; but every parent must pay part of their children’s tuition themselves. Making the scholarship a “hand up,” rather than a “handout,” ensures that parents stay engaged with their children’s education, a key component of student success.

In fact, CSF-Portland parents pay, on average, more than half the cost of their tuition (they pay $1,900 per child this year). By choosing to pay for private education, they forgo the $10,000-per-child which Oregon currently spends on public education in favor of a better chance for their children.

CSF-Portland scholarships average only $1,700 per child, but this often makes the difference between children attending a public school where they are not thriving or a private school where they are. Scholarships are funded by local donors here in Oregon, whose gifts are matched by the national Children’s Scholarship Fund in New York, so a $100 gift to CSF-Portland can sponsor a low-income child’s tuition for a month.

Ted Forstmann once said, “Every child, regardless of their parents’ income, should have access to a quality education – an education that will not only prepare them for successful private lives, but help them to build cohesive communities and a strong democracy. We believe if you give parents a choice, you will give their children a chance.”

While Americans engage in necessary debates on education reform, we cannot wait to help the children sitting in classrooms today. The Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland empowers lower-income Oregon children to get a “hand up” early in life through a quality elementary education, a simple step that puts kids with limited choices on a path to success that gets them “ready for life.”


Kathryn Hickok is Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland, a program of Cascade Policy Institute and the Oregon partner of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

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Posted by at 04:30 | Posted in Education, Individual Responsiblity, Portland Schools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 64 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Mr Prof

    No child should be allowed to go to any private or charter school. How would the union teachers keep getting more pay for less work if true choice in schooling existed??

    • Ardbeg

      Grow up and say something of substance.

  • Bob Clark

    Keep up the good work, Cascade and Kathryn!

  • Teachergal

    I am a “union” teacher and I resent all this attention being paid to school choice. I am a professional who is underpaid and who is doing all she can to help teach the young. Please leave us be.

    • John Dewey

      Then go find another job so you can compete in the marketplace unless your afraid!

    •  Since you had a choice to become a “union” teacher, you therefore must be fine with being underpaid. I could never become a teacher- I’m just not as driven to telling little brats to be quiet so that they can learn stuff they’ll forget before they reach an age where it makes a difference.

      Even though I’m not a parent, teachers will never be left alone. Teachers are the next biggest thing that influence kids right after TV and not even an idiot would keep his mouth shut if he’s paying taxes.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    This is exactly the way to do it. The structuring of a scholarship so that parents have to pay some part of their children’s education is key. There are two problems with our education system today, the first is a lack of choice. Children in the public school system cannot leave one school and go to one of their choosing with the ease they should be able to. This captive audience, combined with union work rules, results in a disconnect between the quality of teaching that goes on, and whether or not the teachers at the school hold on to their jobs. 

    The other part of the equation that is left out, but equally important, is parental involvement. There is a general impression, and I tend to agree with it, that parents are dumping kids on the school, with no educational follow up at home, and then complaining about the results.

    Having parents pay something for their child’s education isn’t a silver bullet for this, but its a really good start. If you are paying for something, even if it is just a portion of it, you are much more attentive to what is going on.

    Like Obama, this scholarship says everyone should have some skin in the game. Unlike Obama, this scholarship actually follows through on the rhetoric.

    • 3H


      This captive audience, combined with union work rules, results in a disconnect between the quality of teaching that goes on, and whether or not the teachers at the school hold on to their jobs.”

      In particular, which union work rules are you referring to?  Are you referring to rules that doesn’t allow management to fire teachers on a whim?  That they actually have to build a case and fire teachers for cause?

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >In particular, which union work rules are you referring to?

        The work rules which make it essentially impossible to fire a teacher. The work rules which make it impossible to pay good teachers more and poor teachers less.

        >Are you referring to rules that doesn’t allow management to fire teachers on a whim?

        Rules that doesn’t allow? I think it should be rules that do not allow.

        I am referring to such absurdities as the rules in many school districts for tenure.

        Please, let’s not belabor the obvious. There is no history, evidence or ongoing situation that implies school districts have now, or have had in recent memory a propensity to fire teachers on a whim.

        There is every evidence that the ability to fire a teacher is a long and difficult process that is almost impossible.

        If you are going to maintain that firing teachers on a whim was such a problem that we need union rules to the degree that we have now which make firing a teacher a virtual impossibility, you will have a mighty tough road to hoe my friend.

        • 3H

          Really?  You don’t think there have been bad principals or administrators, in the past (and even currently) that fire teachers because they don’t like them, not because the teacher is incompetent?

          What percentage of the teaching population is incompetent and protected by union rules?

          As for “every evidence”, I assume you have some to present then?  Not anecdotal please.  

          • Rupert in Springfield

            What percentage of the teaching population is incompetent and protected by union rules?

            Enough so that close to half the teachers in the NYC public school system were sending their kids to private school.

            >As for “every evidence”, I assume you have some to present then?  Not anecdotal please.

            I see. So you expect others to present non anecdotal evidence, while allowing yourself to present evidence that is hypothetical?

            Interesting idea, but sorry, doesnt work to well here.

            You present the hypothesis, with no evidence whatsoever, that teachers were being fired on a whime.

            I present evidence that seems to be agreed to in all the news reporting, as well as any number of documentary films, such as Waiting for Superman, that union rules protect incompetent teachers to the level of absurdity.

            Sorry, but you don’t make much of an argument here.

            There simply is no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that the situation you maintain exists. There is every evidence the situation I have described does.

            Can you list one source – a documentary film, a news  report, whatever, that there is a systematic problem with teachers being fired on a whim? Because I can list plenty the other way.

            Can you list one source, giving the statistic of teachers fired on a whim?

            No, you can’t can you?

          • 3H

            I know that in general, workplace language to protect workers from arbitrary management rules has always been extremely important – and has been historically necessary.  No, I don’t have any evidence (yet).  

            You are the one that implied that you have evidence.  Please present it.

            Just because 50% of NYC teachers (presumably – I don’t trust your “facts”) send their children to private school does not support a conclusion that it is because of keeping too many incompetent teachers on the payroll.  It could be incompetent management. Remember… correlation does not imply causality.

            Can you link to a particular news report that  quotes a statistic to the number of incompetent teachers protected by union rules — or are they only reporting on the impression? 

          • 3H


            You present the hypothesis, with no evidence whatsoever, that teachers were being fired on a whime.

            http://nazareth.patch.com/articles/is-teacher-tenure-necessary 

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Oh wow.

            An article with some guy who has a story from the 1930’s about a school board who fired 5 teachers who got rehired?

            Your honor!

            The prosecution has just proven the case for the defense!

            I ask that court be adjourned forthwith as quaint conjecture from a teen in the 30’s provide neither evidence of fact, nor even if such tales be true, should the cause of five teachers fired, and most rehired provide basis for concern some 80 years later.

            Nor even if the amount affected to be ten times as in the saga thus told, should it encumber our educational system with rules so onerous as to constitute an entire reordering of our education system with such results with which we are all now well aware – namely that our educational system is at the perigee of accomplishment, and yet the apogee of expenditure and in the time the narrator recounts his tale, such conditions were largely reversed!

            The time as recounted in the tale is quite apropos. For it spans 80 years.

            An interesting figure to be sure, because in about half that time we have doubled school funding and yet have less to show for it than ever before.

            And yet of paramount concern is to be the case of five teachers fired, most rehired some 80 years ago as witnessed by a boy – to his mind on thing not to be of concern is the profound havoc such rules have wrecked upon our education system.

            I would submit the only thing proven by the recounting, is not the value of the work rules, but rather the very odd priorities of the narrator!

          • 3H

            “Actually its just about the only conclusion it supports. Its very hard to draw any other conclusion. Hence the outrage when the statistic was revealed.
            It could have been due to bad management, not bad teachers. 

            70s?   Is it true today?  

          • 3H


            I would submit the only thing proven by the recounting, is not the value of the work rules, but rather the very odd priorities of the narrator!

            Of course you would.   And we know how good your intuition and analysis is.  

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >You are the one that implied that you have evidence.

            Actually I said union rules make it hard to fire teachers which is something even you dont dispute.

            You are the on maintaining they are there to keep teachers from being fired on a whim.

            Since you are the one making the assertion, its pretty much up to you to prove it.

            >Just because 50% of NYC teachers (presumably – I don’t trust your “facts”) send their children to private school

            It was a pretty big scandal in the 70’s.

            >does not support a conclusion that it is because of keeping too many incompetent teachers on the payroll.

            Actually its just about the only conclusion it supports. Its very hard to draw any other conclusion. Hence the outrage when the statistic was revealed.

            > It could be incompetent management.

            Which is a distinction without a difference. The fact is, you pull tour kids out of public schools and send them somewhere else, as the alternatives, private school, charter school or home school are all demonstrably better.

            >Can you link to a particular news report that  quotes a statistic to the number of incompetent teachers protected by union rules

            Can you point to a time where I have not pointed to the most easily available source on this?

            Can you point to a post where you have asked this question and I have not answered it?

            Can you point to a time in your life where it had not occurred to you as a debate tactic to keep asking the same thing over and over, get the same answer, and then refuse to actually look at it?

            The answer is Waiting for Superman.

            Its real easy to check out. I give it as an example not because it is the only one, but because it is replete with examples, news reports, everything you ask for.

            I also give it because it is easily available to just about anyone.

            If you don’t have Netflix walk next door, your neighbor does. Your friend does. 40% of internet traffic in the evenings is devoted to Netflix. I refuse to believe you, or someone you know does not have Netflix and cant watch this damn movie instead of asking the same question, essentially, over and over. 

            Watch the damn movie, there are school teachers, principles, administrators, the whole shebang interviewed in that movie

            There are even union thugs interviewed in the movie for their response to the charges.

            There are even incompetent teachers, interviewed, waiting in the teacher gulag because they have been removed from the classroom, but have to be kept on the payroll because no one can fire them. They just go, sit in a room, read a book, go home, and get their pay. And they interview them as well.

            You want your evidence in one source? There it is.

            Can we please be done with this question? It is getting so incredibly tiresome to keep giving you one source that is so easily available that really has just about everything you ask for in it in one tidy little bundle only to have you come back and ask for evidence because for whatever reason you think it is substantive to ask the same question over and over. 

            If it helps, the movie was made by a guy who apparently is a liberal.

             

        • 3H

          http://www.jstor.org/pss/819670

          We’ll probably end up arguing over “whim” and “propensity” — so let me slightly rephrase, union workplace rules are there to keep management from firing teachers for a whole variety of personal or political reasons.  Without those rules, teachers are likely to be less innovative, or can be fired for reasons not related to the quality of their teaching.  

        • Ardbeg

          Once again Rupert your showing your complete ignorance. I am amazed you even bother to reply to blogs about education. Where do you get your information?  The back of a bubble gum wrapper? Would you please educate yourself on this subject before (too late) you say something stupid!
          “There is every evidence that the ability to fire a teacher is a long and difficult process that is almost impossible”.  That is not only untrue, it’s a rediculous statement.  There is an old saying “better to keep silent and appear the fool, than to speak and remove all doubt”.  Good words for you to live by! Go ahead Rupert, educate us poor fools. Tells us what you know about this and how you know it? I’m waiting…..exactly what I thought.  You know JACK!

  • I don’t know about you guys but a few things irked me as I read this.

    First off- I don’t want to spend a ludicrous amount of money to prepare my kid for college when they haven’t even hit puberty- I’ll bet it makes the next couple years of high school seem like a waste of time.

    Second off- I don’t want my kid going to school with some other kid who’s parents are incapable of supporting them but for whatever reason believe in their child’s future. I’m not saying that a bad thing but if you can’t pay the full price of private school and put food on the table- you’re either not trying every hard at your job or you have a crappy job: both are scenarios where the skills (and habits) getting passed along to the kid aren’t going to do them any good even if they go to a private school.

    Third off- I’m sure as hell not going to pay taxes for my kid to go to a public school when I know that a portion of it is going to a family that is worse off to pay their kid’s better education.

    For the record: I do not have kids. I am an econ major in college and I don’t believe in paying for other people’s lack of accountability.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      You have some really interesting comments. If nothing else they certainly bring a different perspective.

      >I don’t want to spend a ludicrous amount of money to prepare my kid for college when they haven’t even hit puberty

      That’s your choice, but many parents do in fact do this. I think one thing you should maybe consider is what why do you characterize this as s a ludicrous amount of money?

      Is it the amount of money itself, or the fact that you are spending it?

      Private school on average is less expensive than public school, so if you are saying the amount of money for a private school is ludicrous, then by implication the amount per pupil on public school is even more so.

      Kids perspectives are fixed long before puberty. Many parents believe expectations of their children should be instilled long before that age.

      >Second off- I don’t want my kid going to school with some other kid
      who’s parents are incapable of supporting them but for whatever reason
      believe in their child’s future.

      Why not?

      I went to school on that basis.

      Barak Obamas kids do the same as once did.

      What in the world is the matter with going to school with kids on scholarship?

      >For the record: I do not have kids. I am an econ major in college and I
      don’t believe in paying for other people’s lack of accountability.

      I think if and when you do have kids a lot of these perspectives will change.

      Your perspective on paying for other people will also change.

      I am not trying to be condescending, just pointing out that your entire perspective changes when you have kids in a way that is very difficult to understand if you do not have offspring.

      Like it or not most of our government, certainly at the federal and often at the local level, is devoted precisely to extracting from those who do pay their own way to pay for those who don’t. I am not at all a fan of this, but it is the current state of affairs.

    • valley person

      Steven, did you yourself attend any public schools?

  • Ardbeg

    The problem isn’t a lack of choice it’s a lack of $$.  Check a few web sites around Portland and here is what you will find.  OES 24k a year tuition (45K if your boarding). Jesuit=$13,000. Catlin Gable=$24,750. Northwest Academy=$18,250. Private schools are not cheap! $1700 is a nice little scholarship for some families to help with costs.  Facts are facts though and most families cannot afford the private school tuition even with the scholarship.  I not sure this is really doing much to help school choice.  I’ve got nothing against it, I just don’t see it helping very many families and doing nothing for really low income families.  Plus, according to OC, private is much cheaper than public. Not sure I understand that assertion. I know I sound like a broken record but here is another article quoting the cost of public schools in Oregon at $10,000.  I called my district’s financial office and asked; they told me just under 6K for per-student spending.  That’s what they get from the state.  So out of every $10,000 paid to the state in taxes they send back 6k?  What do they do with the rest?  Or is it not really $10,000?

    • Steve Buckstein

      It is really over $10,000 as I documented for you in another exchange the other day using NEA data.  In your example, $10,000 in not paid to the state; $6,000 is paid to the state in state income taxes, and the other $4,000 is paid in county property taxes, federal grants and some misc. revenue.

      As to the cost of private schools, there are dozens if not hundreds of small private schools in the Tri-County area alone with average costs significantly less than the public school $10,000 plus average and of course even farther below the few well private schools you mention. If you really want details, you should have been there when Children’s Scholarship Fund – Portland started in 1999 and we awarded around 550 students scholarships. We were surprised when they chose something like 99 different schools and paid the tuition with only about half the cost coming from the scholarships. We had no idea there were 99 such private schools in the area, with such low costs, so it’s not surprising that you don’t either. Most at that time didn’t have websites and probably still don’t. Letting more money follow more students will likely expand the number of such schools to meet the demand.

      • Ardbeg

        Steve-this is where I have a problem.  Your saying the other 4k is “federal and local tax”; well, my district isn’t getting any federal money (remember, I called and asked them) and either are others districts in Oregon (at least not this year).  Local taxes are dependent on the district.  My district (Sherwood) does pay local taxes for schools because we are a growing district.  We have had to build new schools to accommodate growth. Not all districts are in the same boat.  But that is something only Sherwood residence have to pay (not all Oregon tax payers) and something we voted on.  Once the bonded indebtedness is gone, we are left with the 6k per student per year. Also, the Oregon Dept of Ed doesn’t give a 10k-12k range  but a 7K per student range.  As far as the ‘dozen or hundred’ of private schools that don’t charge such high tuition, how many of those offer comparable opportunities?  As with most things: less money= less services.  When you compare apples to apples I don’t see private being a less expensive option for families.  OC seems to state it as a given that private is cheaper, but I’m not buying it. If you have some piece of information that I’m missing, I listening. I understand the issues with public ed.  Take a 5th grade teacher-25 kids in class. 25x6k=$150,000.  We only pay that teacher lets say 45k in salary (Oregon average) and maybe 25k in benefits, where does the other 80k go?  Counselors, secretaries, principals, janitors, support staff,physical ed and music teachers make up the rest?  I don’t think so. Or maybe it does, I don’t know for sure. I do know I could never afford the larger private schools.  They are more than what i spent on college for my own kids. OES-really? $24,000 a year!  Only the rich can afford that.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          I’m not entirely sure why the word “average” is such a difficult concept for you to understand.

          It has been explained to you by more than a few people how the statewide average of $10k per pupil public school figure is arrived at. You walking down to your local school and simply asking them for a figure does not refute that. The statewide average per pupil is right around $10k expenditure per student. That’s not just the state expenditure, not just the federal, not just “all funds” but the total amount averaged across the state.

          Second, could you please understand the word “average” in terms of private school? That word means we do not look at the costs of just the most expensive schools, as you are trying to do here.

          Average for private schools means the average of all private schools, not just the most expensive ones.

          It has been repeated to you ad nauseam that going to private school does not mean your only option is to pick the most expensive private school in the area. Yet you continue to do this and say only the rich can afford it.

          It’s absurd. Please read up or inform yourself on this topic. You could even just watch the movie “Waiting for Superman” and see plenty of examples of low income people trying to send their kids to relatively inexpensive private schools.  It’s 90 minutes or so and streams on Netflix.

          Can we be done with this nonsense of picking one of the most expensive private schools in the state, and then only counting a portion of the per pupil public spending, and saying you have refuted the argument that private schools on average are less expensive? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.

          • Ardbeg

            Thank you so much Rupert for explaining average to me. Wow, that really helped.  I’m sure there are plenty of small out of the way private schools that charge less than the 4 or 5 I mentioned.  My point, which you seem unable to grasp is a full service high school that’s private is significantly more expensive than a public school of similar size.  Your welcome to disagree with my point but at least try to understand it.  You are also welcome to find counter examples (here in Oregon please) but you haven’t.  You just keep spouting the same misconceptions.  Go ahead Rupert!  Find 4-5 examples of private schools that compare in size and opportunities to Sherwood, Tualatin, West Linn/Wilsonville, Newberg, or LO (my geographical location) and show that they are less expensive.  Until then, your just another know-it-all full of hot air!
            You have no stinking idea how schools are funded in Oregon do you?  It’s a complicated formula and process and I’m not going to explain it to you.  You can “average’ all you want.  The FACTS Rupert are the funding level between districts doesn’t vary by much.  Try calling your district and asking. Until you ‘educate yourself’ quit acting like you know everything and anyone who disagrees needs to; as you like to say “Please read up or inform yourself on this topic” Take your own advise!  Just because you watched Superman doesn’t make you an expert. Here is a little info on your own district…http://www.openbooksproject.org/indexBudgetCuts.aspx?District=EUGENE_HIST
            or http://www.openbooksproject.org/indexBudgetCuts.aspx?District=SPRINGFIELD
            read it and try educating yourself.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Thank you so much Rupert for explaining average to me. Wow, that really helped.

            Good, because in your previous comment to me you did not understand average at all. You listed one of the more expensive schools in Portland as evidence my contention that the average was lower than public school.

            Obviously is is an absurd rebuttal to list one of the most expensive schools to contend the average is different than I state.

            Glad to see you have grasped the term!

            > I’m sure there are plenty of small out of the way private schools that charge less than the 4 or 5 I mentioned.

            Hardly out of the way. In most big cities there are a myriad of private schools whose cost per pupil is less than the public schools.

            I sent my kids to one. Way less than the $10k average per pupil, not down the road and hidden in a cave. Bright as daylight. On a main road to boot. Yes the road was paved.

            > My point, which you seem unable to grasp is a full service high school
            that’s private is significantly more expensive than a public school of
            similar size.

            Nope, on a average cost per pupil the cost of private school is less than public.

            Putting in similar size is a nice “out” for you, but unfortunately its a johnny come lately addendum.

            The original statement was that private school on average is less per pupil than public. You are simply wrong if you maintain otherwise and need to face that fact.

            Trying to modify your statement that it only counts if schools are a similar size is ninnydom. Not buying it, sorry.  

            >Your welcome to disagree with my point but at least try to understand it.

            I understand and fully grasp that you are wrong. On an average nationwide basis the cost of private school is less than public school.

            > The FACTS Rupert are the funding level between districts doesn’t vary by much.

            Are you kidding me? The funding between school districts can vary phenomenally. Im not exactly sure what you are smoking but if you think school districts are all funded at the same level, you are crazy my friend.

            >Just because you watched Superman doesn’t make you an expert.

            I never claimed to be an expert. I just simply am more knowledgeable on this issue that you. Anyone who thinks you have to look in out of the way places to find private schools that charge less than the ones you mentioned simply doesn’t know much about the subject.

          • Ardbeg

             Rupert-can you even count? I didn’t pick “the” most expensive example I gave you several.  Say it with me now ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’.  Good boy, now try it on your own.  I’m still waiting for your counter examples…….and only a moron would talk averages.  To have any kind of informative discussion intelligent people compare apples to apples, not apples to averages. I don’t care about some 30 student school run in the basement of a church. You keep talking about “Averages”.  What averages? Oregon schools? US schools? Global? Averages mean nothing if not put in context. To be simple and specific and for you I’ll use small words. Comparing schools of similar size and similar opportunity.  Private schools are more expensive.  That’s my hypothesis (sorry, big word but you can google it to learn what it means)
            OES 24k a year tuition. Jesuit=$13,000.
            Catlin Gable=$24,750.
            Northwest Academy=$18,250.
            Central catholic=$10,300
            St Marys-$14,375
            Portland Adventist=$10,000
            Thomas Edison HS=$18,000
            You can talk about averages all you want!  Comparable private schools are more expensive than public schools.  I can already imagine your response: I’m wrong and  your King Rupert and we all bow at your superior intellect. Facts are facts-when comparing similar schools private schools cost more! Rupert-Stuck on stupid once again.

        • Steve Buckstein

          Thanks for letting me know that it’s the Sherwood district you’re talking about. The Open Books number for its Operating Expenses is $7,918. The $10,000 plus number I’m quoting for the average district in Oregon includes All Funds including capital funds since taxpayers end up paying all of it over time. 

          But, assuming $7,918 is all there is in Sherwood, and it has 243 full time equivalent teachers, and 4748 students, an average 19 student classroom accounts for $150,442. The teacher’s average salary is $52,434, leaving $98,008 going somewhere else (probably around $21,000 of that is teacher benefits. That still leaves $78,000. 

          But, we’re getting too much into the weeds here.  If you don’t think there are equal  opportunities in lower cost private schools – don’t send you kids to them. But I can tell you that there are many parents who want that opportunity to take a fraction of the money spent on their kids in public schools and direct it to one of those other alternatives. If they’re taking less than the average per student in the public schools, that leaves more per student who remains in the public schools. Let them have the choice, that all I’m saying.

          • Ardbeg

            Thanks Steve, and thank you for civil discord. We don’t disagree about the advantages of choice and I admit I get too involved in the “weeds” as you say.  My issue, and maybe it’s only me, is there are a lot of numbers and websites cited.  The best source is your individual district and I’m only looking at the amount from the state, those are tax dollars all Oregonians pay.  Local bonds are for capital improvements only, they are local, approved by voters, and finite in length.  Bottom line is Oregon taxpayers pay under $6000 to educate a student in Sherwood.  A lot less than the usual amount sited here.  If I called Estacada or McMinville I would get a similar amount.

          • Teachergal

            Remember, you get what you pay for.

          • Ardbeg

            Teachergal-I disagree. Private school parents are highly involved as they are paying a pretty price. My wife and I were highly involved public school parents and consequently our kids did quit will and took advantage of a very diverse offering in terms of classes and extracurricular activities. They achieved at a high level in small part to the expectations of our family (IT WAS MOSTLY THEM).  And it didn’t cost us an arm and a leg, we just had to ‘be there’ for our children.  Wow, what a weird concept!  But lets face it, a lot of parents ‘dump’ their kids into the public school system. Considering the amount of $$ spent on public schools, I think it’s a better value than private. I think you get ‘better than what you pay for’.  Oh my gosh! Did I say that out loud? The Catalyst trolls will certainly label me Libtard, socialist, etc……..I love the choices parents have: Public, private, charter, home, online. Not all kids fit into a particular mold.  I’m just tired of the uninformed spouting misinformation to degrade public schools.  Should I feel like I let my kids down because we decided to send our kids to public school?  The problems these idiots have isn’t with public schools, it’s that they can’t stand the fact that the evil unions give money to their opponents!  Which I actually agree with.  NO UNION MONEY in politics or education.  Also, NO CORPORATE MONEY in politics and education.  And, NO RELIGION in either!

          • Steve Buckstein

            For anyone wanting a 30-second depiction of Arbeg’s correct assumption that not all kids fit into a particular mold, watch this video made by one of those kids:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNPKrXS0RuU&list=PLB5E7A11234CFF435&index=1&feature=plpp_video

          • Steve Buckstein

            I am not familiar with the Sherwood district beyond what the Open Books site shows, but in many districts property taxes account for around a third of the All Funds budgets, and not all of that is for bonded debt. While the bonds have finite terms, other property tax expenditures go on indefinitely.

            Actually, your Washington County property tax statement may break out the property taxes that go to the district for general operations and the property taxes that go for specific bonds that voters there have approved.

          • Ardbeg

            Steve-correct me if I’m wrong.  Laws may have changed.  Last I understood, local taxes could only be used for capital improvements.  Meaning-that schools have an operation budget (teacher, aides, janitors, counselors, cooks, central office, administration etc….) from the state based on the funding formula.  My district (not an outlier) gets under 6k per student from the state. I get that our bonds raise the per student cost (or average) for a finite time.  My understanding is local property taxes do not go to my specific district but to the state.  Then, those taxes are sent back to the districts based on the formula.

          • Steve Buckstein

            No, some of your local property taxes do go directly to your
            district, and along with state school fund money make up most of your district’s
            general fund (to pay teachers, staff, supplies, utilities, etc.).

            Additional
            local property tax money may go to your district to pay for bonded debt if
            voters have approved such bonds. If you get a Washington County property tax
            statement, you’ll see one line for Sherwood School District which goes for its
            general fund, and other lines if there are district bonds
            outstanding.

            That under $6,000 dollar number you keep mentioning is from
            the state fund, provided by state income taxes, and does not include local
            property tax funds for the district’s general fund or bonded debt.

            While the bonded debt line are for a finite time until the
            bonds are paid off, that first line for the district’s general fund virtually
            goes on forever.

          • Steve Buckstein

            Here is a state ODE source explaining more about school district funding:

            http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=14

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Even if you discount the all funds, and assume the buildings magically appear for public schools.

            And even if you count private schools as having non magical buildings that do not appear and take care of themselves.

            And even if you count private school as a 12 month a year affair.

            You could still send your kids to a parochial school for less. $500 a month x 12 months a year = $6,000

            Source – Waiting for Superman. An easy to look up movie on Netflix. Anyone can get it if you have Netflix. Maybe if you haven’t seen it you should take a look.

            And yes, I have been commenting on this issue long before that movie came out. I only list it because it is easily accessible, interesting to watch, and might, just might, get people out of this notion that traditional public schools are the be all and end all of education.

            They aren’t. There are alternatives and they are not more expensive.

          • Ardbeg

            Magical schools? Are you high or just stupid.  Sorry, I forgot, your not high.

  • ProfMan

    While you fools argue over small change, the powerful teachers’ union is making sure that school choice dies a quick death. Trust me on this.

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