Vouchers vs. Public Schools - Is Education a Right or a Privilege?

The New Jersey state Supreme Court told Governor Chris Christie he is in violation of the state’s constitution with his massive cuts to education. That state constitution requires the state to, “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State...”

But thanks to Christie’s budget cuts – a lot of New Jersey schools – mostly in poor districts – are not meeting that obligation – thus the court is forcing Christie to replenish the $500 million he cut out of education. But Christie isn’t the first Governor slapped down by his state’s Supreme Court. 19 other high courts have told their mostly Republican governors that their education cuts are unconstitutional.

Of course – when it comes to turning public education over to profit-making private schools for their millionaire buddies – Republicans tend to ignore what any constitution says and don’t think twice about screwing over poor students.


gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago

@Power Corrupts, I found his attack on David Sirota questionable. Whenever David Sirota takes Thom's show as a guest host, he does a very good job. Ed should not have had Laura Ingraham on the show. I doubt that Ed will be back on MSNBC.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago

Here is my take that drives my wife nuts.



gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago

Returning to God is the answer.


gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago

Here is what is needed to change our planet for the better!!!


mmetti's picture
mmetti 12 years 1 week ago

We have two choices when it comes to education, one is profit driven and the other is politically driven. I guess we shouldn't call that a choice but a dilemma. The poor lose in both.

dianhow 12 years 1 week ago

Public ed is a right No doubt about it.

dianhow 12 years 1 week ago

You are right Gullible / ill informed Voters get the gov't they vote for from 1981 Reaganomics Bush 1-2 Cheney- 2008 global crash / depression / TARP Many yrs under GOP Congress's The long GOP record is horrid Huge unfunded corp cuts , AND WARS , hidden war debt, lies about Iraq- GOP deregulation policy greatly enriched the top -and hammered middle class - lowered our wages. GOP creed is =has been CORP TAX CUTS LOOPHOLES O IL SUBSIDES BUST UNIONS- PRIVATIZE/ KILL MEDICARE / SOCIAL SECURITY BIT BY BIT WE MUST STOP THEM THEY ARE OUT OF CONTROL

dianhow 12 years 1 week ago

People can be good and moral and not follow any Church Doctrine or religeon . Many of us lead lives of helping people, giving, and following the Golden Rule . GOD knows who is good . Some believe in a higher power .. but do not call it God. Many who say they are God fearing are not good people.

Namaimo's picture
Namaimo 12 years 1 week ago

I agree with Dianhow. There is much religion-laced hypocrisy.

My discovery of the day was this link, that I think Thom and Louise would appreciate, a vision so far from where most of us live ...


I think Thom should interview the man, or at least the people behind the site. I am frugal, and have benefitted from it, and wish to spread the gospel.

Peace, love and frugality, all. The times they are a'changin'

miike's picture
miike 12 years 1 week ago

Its about time that Law worked in favor of the poor!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 12 years 1 week ago

Real quick, just a little history on public education, Massachusetts in 1647 passed a law that required every township of 50 familys to support a school that could teach children reading and writing. Townships of 100 families were required to provide a grammer school that could prepare students for college, at the time that would be Havard, not many other choices. Obviously the idea of public education was a good one, over time it has nurtured some of the greatest minds in history. Society as a whole greatly benefits, as do all those "job creators" waiting to enrich themselves off the sweat of the citizens publicly educated backs. Maybe they should pay more, they're the ones cashing in on all those educated minds.

So this is not enough benefit for the power elite, they see how political shenanigans, like George and Neil's "no child left behind", can turn public education, which is good and progressive for society, into a personal money machine. I have no doubt this has inspired the recent parasites, remember, much like health insurance CEO's, this type of greed only adds more financial burden to the system, or the quality gets sacrificed, or both.

Christies just another ugly reminder that Democracy is currently all about special interest using trickle down as the dumb-ass justification for bald faced greed.

Bonsai's picture
Bonsai 12 years 1 week ago

The right started this during that time when they were promoting the lie that private business can do anything better than government. It also came from some libertarian pipe dream (yes they like pot and it wouldn't surprise me if they took opiates too) that education is not a right, and that it could or should be something that you contract with a business for.... in short selling your son or daughter to a company so that they pay for their education and then work for that company when they finish... Yep, libertarians are fun people.

Anyway, the appeal is mostly to those people who send their kids to private schools, thinking that they are being unfairly taxed for something they are providing themselves. They don't understand, that they are not paying to educate just their children with their taxes, but all the children. The idea of a common school, which predates this country as a nation, is one of those socialistic things that is correct and the right thing to do for us as a society and community.

They also need to remember there are large numbers of us who do not have children who pay for schools with our taxes. Our taxes go to pay for the education of the children of this country because we believe in the future and know that an educated society is better than an ignorant one.

So back to vouchers. Basically there are two plans floating around. One allows vouchers to spend in any school, private, or public, with that choice being left up to the parents. Paying for religious education is not something I want my tax dollars going to, so why should I allow parents to pay part of their private parochial school fees with public moneys? Second, the whole competition creates quality line the Right seems to have tattooed on their chests is a lie. There is no level playing field in education, schools are not factories turning out widgets from the same materials. Communities differ and so do schools. The best thing ever done for improving local education was giving back a lot of the governance of the local schools to the communities where those school are. We took a step backward with some of the NCLB testing crap, but schools where the parents, teachers and community drive the educational program work! QED. Making school 1 compete against school 2 for students will only mean that the school with the better marketing department wins. Competition can never be fair between private schools and public schools, because public schools have to accept any student that walks through their door and lives in their community. Private schools can pick and choose which students they accept.

The second plan is the one that gives you a voucher to take to any public school you want within a district or in some plans a county. It almost sounds reasonable but there are some buts. One is that transportation for students going outside of the normal attendance area is not provided. If you're poor and don't have a way to get your child to that "Good" school across town, well, you are just SOL. The second part of this is, do the schools have to take students from their attendance areas first before they take voucher students? What happens if your "Good" school is all full up and new local students arrive? Do they then have to attend school outside of their local area? Who transports them if they do. Do they have priority over voucher students the next year? And what about that voucher student? Do they have to find another "Good" school if they get bumped?

The real solutions to our problems with education are not simplistic and stupid ideological things like vouchers. Vouchers will kill public education. Fully fund all schools, give the training to the teacher, parents, administrators and communities they need in order to build those programs. All schools should have superior programs. It's up to all of us to help achieve that. Education is a right for everyone in our society.

dnarnadem 12 years 1 week ago

A Right!

mmetti's picture
mmetti 12 years 1 week ago

I agree that education is a right, but does that mean the government should provide it? Government should protect our rights. They dominate education today, it is not that impressive, and who holds them accountable? I am not convinced that throwing more money at public education works. Because the government runs our school system it is extemely political.

mmetti's picture
mmetti 12 years 1 week ago

Unions, political parties, bureaucrats and religious minded indoctrinations have fouled our system and it shows. Eating food should be a right too but I am glad that we do not have the government running that, otherwise we would be starving.

mmetti's picture
mmetti 12 years 1 week ago

I strongly suggest people to see "Waiting for Superman"

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago


gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 1 week ago

@mmetti, the government will not regulate our eating habits but Monsanto and their pesticides will kill us off and help complete the goal of a Project for a New American Century and its belief that our planet can only sustain 500 million people. That means 6.5 billion people must be exterminated. Who says Hitler and Stalin were murderers? They killed a paltry sum of 11 to 29 million people. Our Anti-Christ government is going to kill off 6.5 billion people through pesticides, polluting the environment, biological and chemical warfare, and endless immoral and wrong wars. Americans are treated like cannon fodder and mushrooms.

Jimspy's picture
Jimspy 12 years 1 week ago

"Rights" are a tough thing to get a handle on. I for one don't believe "rights" are conferred by a deity, nor are they "granted" by man. I believe rights are "discovered." As humanity bumps along, trying to figure out what's "good," we come across concepts that "work" for us. By that I mean, they innure to the greater good, improving the overall human condition. Democracy seems to work well, but we had to discover that it works through experimentation. The Great Experiment has worked, and so we consider Democracy a human right. If it hadn't worked, no matter how high-falutin it sounds on paper, we would have abandoned it. Public education is just such a concept. Taken to its logical extreme (everyone gets a free, top-notch education through the highest grade possible), clearly humanity would enter a Golden Age. So it works. So it's good. So we call it a "right." Privilege takes up where "right" leaves off, where economics makes it impractical to grant everyone everything. Someone somewhere must feel that everyone should have the "right" to live in a house. Right now, due to sheer economics, that's gotta be called a privilege, at least in this country.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 1 week ago

When illegal and immoral cuts are made to school funding, the children of all of the immediate and extended families of all of the people who are responsible for deciding on and implementing those cuts, should not be allowed to have any schooling. If they are currently in school they should be immediately removed from school and sent home, so there will be more money to educate the children of people who appreciate the value of education.

I know a teacher and principal who buy children school supplies out of their own pockets because their fascist school boards and fascist governors and legislatures say there is plenty of money for corporate welfare but no money for schools.

Do you think I'm out of line for mentioning the word fascist so often? Think back on Obama's recent speech, when John Boehner was sitting behind the president. Everyone who watched that speech on tv had a very good view of Boehner. Now tell me, what was the only time during Obama's entire speech when Boehner looked happy? It was when Obama mentioned the word "fascism." Why did hearing that word make Boehner so happy? Because that's the kind of government that he wants. Oh sure, he pretends to be a Catholic, just like Bush pretended to be Christian, but look at their actions and you can see what really motivates them.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 1 week ago

For three days before I flew recently, I went on a strict diet of baked beans, cabbage, lutefisk, limburger cheese, hard boiled eggs, and habanero peppers. By the time I got to the front of the "Do you want a full-body-scan or a full-body pat down" line, I was almost bursting with the effort of holding in my gaseous emissions. I think there may have been something about the look in my eye when I raised my arms for the pat-down, because that poor TSA guy did not look happy. My first few farts were tentative silent-but-deadlies, but by the time the TSA guy had gotten his first whiff of them, I couldn't contain it any longer and let loose with a thunderous series of the loudest farts my wife says she has ever heard in her life, (which is saying something, because her father was Irish and her mother was Italian). When that poor TSA guy leaned over to grope around my butt cheeks, I basically blasted him off his feet. Have you ever noticed how some airport security areas are all concrete, so that any loud sounds are echoed almost forever? Every person in the lines was laughing so hard that many of them were falling to the floor.

Two other TSA guys came over and helped my groper to his feet, when I cut loose with an even louder series of deafening-but-deadlies, and they basically ran for cover, yelling at me that I was cleared to go. I heard one of them mutter, "I wouldn't waterboard that guy if Dick Cheney himself told me to," and I have to say that it heartened me to hear such a patriotic statement.

Interesting thing about the flight, It was completely full, with every seat taken, but for some reason every person within fifteen feet of me went and sat on someone else's lap for the entire flight, and after coming within range of my emissions, the flight attendants let them do so. One of them told me that I should be forced to wear a catalytic converter.

"Not a bad idea," I said, "but I think I would rather that America returned to its old system of government, I'm trying to think what it was... Oh yes, I remember now: it was a democracy."

dnarnadem 12 years 5 days ago

This ‘Evil Government’ mantra and this 'Evil Government' meme is a BLUE MOOSE and RED HERRING!

This is nothing but scare verbiage from the Right to scare the Middle Class into subservient submission!

The only entity that PROTECTS 90 per cent of American Citizens from the rapacious Banksters, Super-Rich, Corporations Fascists and the Right Wing ideologues is GOVERNMENT! In Fact, our Democratic GOVERNMENT was created to protect the Small guy from the Rapacious Greedy guy, who if left unchecked, would make slaves of us all.

Stop watching FOX Noise/Lies! Think! The very people who advocate and preach this nonsense are the very people who would love to see Government disappear.

Government is GOOD for the Middle Class. If you don't believe this, hope you like living under a Fascist state where there is no longer a Government to protect or fight for you! And where your vote no longer matters. And where the super-rich and corporate fascists can start treating you like Slaves!

Edmund's picture
Edmund 12 years 4 days ago

Republicans tend to ignore what any constitution says and don't think twice about screwing over poor students.


(What do you think? Tell us here.): The insidious reason for this defunding of education is that education is the bane of the Corporatist Party. Why? Because without an education there would be no public objection to egregious private corporate profits. The oligarchs like the Koch Brothers dictate to the Republi-cons their directive to keep the public as dumb as Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the under-informed propagandists, O'Reilly, Lamebow and Hannity, for their Faux News Republi-conned listeners to accept all their 24/7 distortions, deceit, duplicity, pejorative dirt and verbal dross.

The Repubs, like, con the people into voting against their own best interest! As on their health care's cost necessity, appreciated as "medicare for all" in Europe, as it should be here, according to the Statesman, Bernie Sanders (I VT), including medical and dental expenses (that just cost me $1400 for a few filings).

The people are kept under-educated since "1984" so that they will accept without objection the (McConnell, Boner, Cantor, Ryan) public agency assistance cuts, such as the governor's abrogation of New Jersey's mandate to educate its children, (especially in the now nationally abandoned "Civics" classes) where future voters may learn how they have been duped, Republi-conned into accepting their diversion of public tax revenue for education, over to public, Socialist bail-outs for Corporations, when their private, Capitalist profits fail, falling flat-out on the stock market. But, Hey! Their private-profit enterprise is saved from collapse by those diverted state and federal public-costs for education!


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