Of Republicans and Vouchers

As a newly registered candidate for the Utah House of Representatives I sat down to write up my platform.  I began talking about my young family and how important it is to me that they received a high quality education. I deleted the line and started over.  My reason for running for state office was not about my family.  They will be fine.  My reason for running was to make sure all Utah residents had an opportunity for self reliance.

I probably do not need to make an argument against school vouchers, as Utah voters soundly rejected them at the polls. So I will make it short.  Vouchers make it easier for those with money to secure a better education for their children than those with out money.  Vouchers achieve this by allowing parents who have more time and money to put their children in different schools than parents who must rely on local public schools. Students with higher income and better educated parents generally use less school resources than students who's parents are lower income.  So by transferring their students out of public school and redirecting the funding to a different more selective school, higher income parents ensure that low income students have access to less resources than they did prior to vouchers. Voucher by their very nature limit class mobility. There are more arguments about government funding for religious instruction, and the low quality of for profit education, but I won't go into those now.


Most voters consider vouchers a dead issue since the referendum. How ever as part of an "anti-poverty" plan released today Paul Ryan called for an increase in voucher programs. Every major republican presidential candidate supports vouchers. Republicans have touted vouchers as way of swaying female voters. Utah's Republican federal nominees continue to fight for vouchers across the country, including Donald Trump, Mike Lee, and Jason Chaffetz. While Gary Herbert accepts the verdict of the referendum we see Utah Republican delegates reject Herbert in favor of Jonathon Johnson and Robyn Bagley leaders in the voucher movement who have yet to accept defeat. 


Republicans who support vouchers will tell you that vouchers are fundamental to the Republican opposition of public institutions.  This is true. If you support high quality public education for all children, vote Democrat.

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