School Vouchers

2006-Jun-13

Over at the Urban Review blog, Steve Patterson has decided that maybe Liberals ought to support school vouchers:

… school choice has existed for decades, those with more money simply move to get better schools (or at least what they perceive as better schools). The reverse is true, people don’t move into areas where the schools are bad. A school voucher system in St. Louis … would allow someone to live in the city with less concern about the state of the public school system.

Presumably if people could live in the city but avoid the public schools, then more people would live in the city and there would be more tax dollars for public schools which them might…might…get better.

Well, I think vouchers are what they always were, a means for the almost-rich to get another leg up on all those below them on the ladder of success, a leg up paid for by those who are poorer than they are. So let’s look at a few numbers…

Folks are eager to talk about vouchers, but seldom do they actually spell out the specifics, especially not in print where someone can check them out. But I keep hearing that people would get $2,000 or $2,500 per year per child (and sometimes they go as high as $5,000). So just what will that do for all those disadvantaged families who will now have a chance to get as good an education as their suburbanite brethren?

Tamika is a single mom in north St. Louis with two kids, one in jr high and one in high school. She gets twice minimum wage and after taxes and deductions gets about $10,000 take home a year. She pays $300 a month for an apartment, $300 a month for food, and $200 a month for utilities and clothes and everything else, and nothing for entertainment. That’s $9,600 a year, and she’s got $400 a year to pay for private school for her two kids.

Tiffany is married and living in Chesterfield with two kids, one in jr high and one in high school. They both work and have a combined income of $130,000 a year, and around $100,000 take home. They pay $20,000 a year on their mortgage (after getting to deduct all that interest) and $50,000 a year for food and utilities (and they get to spend money on entertainment). That leaves them $20,000 a year for private school tuition.

So what would that private school tuition be? Well, I took a look at St. Louis Parent Magazing (available for free every month at your local grocery store). In the last few months they have been concentrating on summer camp, but last October they listed local private schools and their tuition rates. I’m going to use the maximum rate because the lowest rates are usually for two or three days a week for pre-kindergarden, which would give a wealthy suburbanite mom a wonderful break from the kids, but wouldn’t do much for a working mother who needs someone to take care of her kids every day while she’s at work.

Academy of the Sacred Heart $6,250
Andrews Academy $10,998
Central Christian $5,227
Chesterfield Day School $13,309
Chesterfield Montessori $9,100
The College School $11,435
Community School $12,640
Forsythe School $12,595
Rohan Woods School $11,850
Rosman School $13,400
School District of Clayton $12,450
St. Michael School $9,975
Gateway Academy $6,525
Visitation Academy $12,600
John Burroughs School $17,000
Thomas Jefferson School $17,800

Hmm, Tamika is screwed, no matter what. No way she can take advantage of any voucher that doesn’t cover pretty much the full cost of tuition, school supplies, lunch, and transportation to get there and back.

But Tiffany is gloriously happy. The greater the voucher, the better the school she can send her kids to.

And no matter how intelligent Tamika’s kids may be, they will be stuck in the public school, which will get less and less money and provide a worse and worse education as funding is all taken away by the middle and upper classes to send their kids off to private school.

I wonder if that’s how it was all designed?


Stealth Immigration

2006-Jun-02

The Senate passed the immigration bill and it’s off to the House. Bet you think it’s actually about illegal immigration and amnesty and walls. Sorry, but that’s just the cover story, allowing Congress to throw a little meat to those voters who have to work for a living and are afraid they won’t be able to.

The real voters–those who don’t have to put their votes in the ballot box because they put their votes into congressional campaign funds–they don’t care one way or the other about giving illegal aliens amnesty to do low paying jobs, they care about getting rid of highly paid white collar workers and replacing them with low paid workers from other countries. And they will get what they want no matter what the House does to the Immigration bill. And you will never hear on the news what is really going on.

If you have a white collar job, or if your spouse or parent or child has one, expect for them to have to give it up or have to take a fifty or seventy percent pay cut to keep it over the next decade. If you read the blogosphere, you may have a chance to find out what is happening…

From OpEdNews:

H1-B Visa Foreign IT Workers and the Immigration Bill
IT Unemployment Is About To Take A BIG Jump UP!
….
From the very beginning of the Bush Administration U.S. companies have lobbied Congress and President Bush extensively to obtain greater freedom in hiring cheaper foreign technology workers via H-1B and L1 visa programs. Concurrently, U.S. companies have also been busy relocating many technology jobs offshore to India and China where salaries are a fraction of U.S.-base technology salaries and where there is no health insurance cost – because the governments of those countries provide social health care for their citizens.
….
President Bush and Congress are about to greatly expand the H1B and L1 “guest worker” visa programs via the giant Immigration Bill, now pending before US Congress.

There are proposals that would expand the annual H1B limit from 65,000 to 115,000 by excluding dependents which are now are counted against the cap from the total, it could mean the entry of as many as 300,000 people a year, with an option of raising the cap 20 per cent more each year.

If you don’t know what that means, try calculating 20% compound interest on 115,000 for ten years, for 20 years… A clue: by year 25 it comes to 11 million a year…and we only have three and a half million IT workers total and that has been declining due to the current influx of guestworkers. By then they will have been able to replace any white collar job currently being done by an American citizen. That means you and anybody you love. And all the money they save on your salaries goes into their bonuses.

So what is going to happen? They will work it out in committee. They will give the House some meat so the voters will think they are getting “tough on immigration” and the House and Senate will quietly allow all the guestworker provisions to sail on through. And you will never know what happened until you get laid off. And your kids come back to live in your basement.