On Motives, Money, and Vouchers

[Full Disclosure: On November 8, citizens of Utah will vote on what is known as Referendum 1. This issue, while currently only limited to residents of Utah, has the potential to bring vouchers to states across the nation. In my opinion, the issue of vouchers is a simple one: Do we, as a nation, believe that a quality education should be given to every child or not? As I think that an education is one of those unalienable rights to which every citizen should benefit (regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status), I will be supporting public education in voting against Referendum 1.]

An open letter to Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr

Honorable Governor Huntsman:

I appreciate the attention you have given in supporting education in recent legislative sessions. Your support (or at least your approval) has led to many great things, including additional funding for technology in public schools. I suppose these and similar past efforts are what puzzle me so much in relation to your current efforts involving the public funding of private schools.

In response to this video, I have several questions for you:
  • How does funding private schools with public funds actually help the public school system? It seems to me that as private schools gain more students (and publicly funded revenue), they also gain political power. Do we really want that?
  • What about church and state? In granting private schools increased political power, we would also be distributing much of that power to various churches upon which many private schools in Utah are founded. How is a vote for vouchers not a vote to mix church and state?
  • Why has no one (evidently) explained to you that as students are removed from public schools then a proportional number of teachers are also removed? In consequence of this fact, supporting an initiative to promote private schooling does nothing to reduce class sizes in public schools.
  • How does financially assisting proponents of private schools ensure that every child in Utah (regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status) receive a quality education?
  • Given that the average cost to attend private schools in Utah is roughly $6,000 and the proposed voucher system will only reimburse $3,000 to private school students, how do you suggest that financially challenged students pay for the remaining funds (so that they too can benefit from a quality private education)? Surely you realize that there are students in Utah that don’t have an extra $3,000 just lying around.
I suppose my final question is of a more personal nature:
  • What are your true motives for promoting the voucher system in Utah? In other words, are you really concerned with helping every student in Utah or are you more concerned with enhancing your political resume?
I appreciate your attention in addressing my questions, either online or off, and sincerely hope that in future discussions I can continue to refer to you as “honorable”.


Darren Draper

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