Vouchers as Oreos: Crumbs for the kids


Here’s the infamous “Oreo® cookie” ad by the pro-voucher Richard and Linda Eyre, in the 30-second version:

I have a few questions for the Eyres and their Modified Vampire Voucher program:

1. Private schools are few and far between in Utah — where is a kid supposed to find a school?

2. National statistics tracked by the Department of Education show Utah at the bottom of the per-student spending list. Were Utah spending $7,500/year/student, Utah would rank comfortably near the top. Where did you get your figures for spending in Utah, and why do they differ from the national statistics?

3. Are you saying that, if vouchers cut student loads at public schools, no teachers or classrooms would be cut? I don’t see that guarantee in the law, and I’m wondering why you’re claiming something like that will occur.

4. How many kids need to leave the average public school classroom before there is a significant increase in money left over for the rest of the kids, under your formula? By “significant,” I mean at least 10% increases, or with your statistics, $750/pupil. My quick, in-my-head calculations show that, if only rich kids leave, we need to get 5 rich students , with the lowest vouchers, out of that 30-student class in order to get a significant increase in spending. That’s 17% of the students.

If 17% of the students left Utah’s public schools, how much would your program cost? How many private schools would need to be created to accommodate that percentage?

5. You say Utah spends about $7,000/student, and you suggest that Utah should be spending nearly $10,000/student. In order to get a $3,000/student increase in that classroom, you’d need to get 10 rich students to leave, or 33%. How soon do you think you can get a third of the students to leave Utah’s public schools?

6. You say teachers should lose their jobs if students leave public schools for private schools. Why? Studies show that generally it is the best students who leave public schools for private schools. If their teachers are punished . . . well, explain just what it is you really advocate?

7. When I published the research studies at the U.S. Department of Education, we published studies showing that reduction in classroom size helped student achievement — a measurable amount once classroom size got down to 18 students, and significantly once classroom size got down to 15 students per class. By your figures, we’d need to get half of all students to leave Utah’s public schools to get down to 15 kids per class — without firing any of the bad teachers. How long will it take to get that reduction? How much will it cost?

8. If we can’t get a third of all students to leave the public schools, we’re still stuck with a massive shortfall in funding. What’s your backup plan, since getting a third of all students to leave is a stupid idea with zero chance of success? When you’re done hammering at the foundations of public education, what then?

9. Do the good people at Nabisco approve of your abuse of their cookies?

Eyre’s program may look neat as Oreos, but it leaves only crumbs for the kids. Taking money out for vouchers does almost nothing to contribute to solutions for Utah’s education problems.

Below the fold: The longer version of the ad.

Six minutes of this stuff. Whew!

Other comments on Utah’s voucher referendum at other sites:

Other postson Utah’s voucher referendum at the Bathtub:

7 Responses to Vouchers as Oreos: Crumbs for the kids

  1. […] and don’t forget the Oreo cookies. Get lots of milk, […]

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  2. […] Utah voucher referendum: Slapping the hand in the cookie jar A Utah school teacher made his own video, in his home it appears, with a non-professional camera and crew — and it eviscerates the points Russ Eyre was trying to make in his slick, professionally-produced, commercial version. […]

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  3. Brack says:

    Here is a great response to the oreo ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8Kt-i4pmV0

    Like

  4. Tom says:

    The $7.5K comes from the Utah Taxpayers Assoc, and is an _estimate_ of what will be spent this year (school yr 2007-08). That number also includes debt service and capital costs, which are excluded from the common national comparisons. It takes advantage of the large increase provided by the legislature in the most recent session. National comparisons (such as those from NCES, the National Center for Education Statistics necessarily lag a couple of years, as they report how much is spent, not how much was allocated.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Are you serious? What about the legislative analysts at the legislature? What figures did they use?

    That’s crazy. The newspapers and television reporters should eat them alive for such a stunt.

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  6. CR says:

    The information about how much money goes towards per-pupil spending comes from one district, the Park City district, the most exspensice district in Utah. PCE took out the more exspensive schools for their average to reach a $4000.00 average for private schools in Utah, but then they used the most exspensive school district for another set of numbers.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if they used actually numbers that represent the truth.

    Can anyone say “Fuzzy Numbers”?

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  7. […] Vouchers as Oreos: Crumbs for the kids […]

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