Following our post about how both candidates in the race for the 27th Senate District both support a school voucher program, we got a note from Republican David Storobin’s team slamming Democrat Lew Fidler’s proposal as “vouchers lite.”

Campaign rep David Simpson wrote:

Ned, thanks for coving the vouchers issue today but you’re a little off. Fidler is not pushing vouchers as it says in your post. That’s inaccurate. In fact, it’s the opposite: Fidler is opposed to vouchers. Ask him. He rather favors tax credits, which is like “vouchers light.”

Fidler’s campaign strategy from the beginning has been to protect his liberal flank by remaking himself as some sort of jewish hero among the orthodox community. He is not, and we aren’t going to let him run from his record. And here it is…

For 10 years on the City Council, Fidler has proven himself to be the UFT favorite son. Never has he gone against them, nor will he. Only now is proposing tax credits for private school. The idea has some merit and has been tried in a few states. However, the financial relief is limited in that it can only be applied to state income tax and a portion of property taxes … this screws people who aren’t homeowners. Storobin favors direct tuition vouchers which would help many more people and in a more meaningful way financially. Big difference.

Furthermore, as detailed in his press release yesterday, Storobin’s plan is to tie voucher amounts to the average cost of educating a child in a given public school district (in New York City, that’s about $18,126 per student), and capping eligibility at a certain income level.

Fidler’s plan, as we wrote yesterday, is scaled back to a proposed $5,000 tax credit per yeshiva student, reimbursement to the schools for state-mandated programs, and increased funding for Priority 5 vouchers – which covers the cost of after-school programs.

So, in a sense, Simpson is right: Fidler isn’t pushing direct tuition vouchers – but “vouchers lite” is still a voucher in that it reimburses parents of private schools on tax revenue that otherwise would have went to public schools.

And, in case we were getting ahead of ourselves, we did ask the Storobin team the following questions:

How does Storobin intend to fund the voucher program? And, in his press release, he states it’s to provide financial relief and that “New York has the responsibility to provide every family, every child with the same opportunity at a quality education.” Well, if that’s the case, my question is how will he ensure that the money won’t come from the public school system, and thereby reduce the opportunity for others to have a quality education?

We have not yet received a response.

UPDATE (5:41 p.m.): It’s only fair that we ask Fidler the same questions we did Storobin, so we just sent him the following queries:

How do you intend to fund the tuition tax credits, security cameras, transportation vouchers and reimbursements for mandated services? And how will you ensure that the money won’t come from the public school system, and thereby reduce the opportunity for others to have a quality education?

We’ll let you know if we hear back from either party.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

     So parents who send their children to private schools could receive tens of thousands of dollars if they have several children in school. And what are the income caps?

    This type of indirect government support is definitely not in the spirit of the separation of church and state which the framers of the constitution felt necessary, as many of these schools are religious organizations, and their course offerings are reflective of that.

    • Anonymous

      As I’ve posted a while back – NYC is spending close to $20k per student and in return these students are getting poor education and the UFT eternally complaints that teachers are underpaid. The solution is making the vouchers available to *everybody* so they can opt out of the public school system.

      • bagels

        That’s not a solution, that’s pandering. The vouchers should be an option for those families whose zoned schools are deemed to be failing. There should also be income limits. Siphoning money out of the public schools and giving it to people who do have access to the many successful public schools in the city, but who instead, choose to send their kids to religious/private schools is wrong. 

        • Anonymous

          bagels, people having an ability to choose is wrong? Oh my! 

          People should have a choice when it comes to educating their kids. You ask any parent and I am sure they’ll tell you that they would rather have a $20k voucher to send their kid to a school of their choice rather than have it wasted through government.

          • bagels

            stan, C’mon now. This is America. People can choose to send their kids to a public school or a religious school, but now you think it is perfectly ok for them to have their hand out and have the city pay for religious instruction even when they live in strong school districts?  You did read the Constitution at some point in you life, right? The spirit of the voucher is supposed to be a safety net, a life line for those parents who can prove a low income and who have kids in a struggling school district. No family should feel entitled to public money simply based on the fact that they want a religious education for the children.

          • Anonymous

            Hand out? Public money? Are you serious? You do realize that this is taxpayer money,  right? Instead of taking *my* $20k and spending it on the public school system I should be given a choice. Give me a voucher and I’ll decide how I want *my* money spent.

            It seems to me that the only people who got their hands out are the ones that want a taxpayer that’s paying for a private school out of pocket to also contribute $20k on a public school system that he/she’s not using.

          • levp

            Just keep in mind that YOUR tax money will be paying for things like “promoted Islam through its Arabic curriculum”:
            http://www.christianpost.com/news/aclu-lawsuit-accuses-minn-school-of-promoting-islam-57153/
            Or this:
            “Within the charter school system, though, there is a danger. There is a group of charter schools that may be teaching more than ABC’s. They have innocuous names like Chicago Math and Science Academy and Pioneer Charter School of Science. Currently, they are educating as many as 35,000 students in 100 publicly funded schools and make up the largest charter school network in the United States. They promote an Islamic agenda, but receive government money, unlike other religious schools in the United States.”
            http://www.khouse.org/articles/2011/971/print/

            Allahu Akbar, my friend – also known as “the law of unintended consequences”.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences

          • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

            Everyone that lives in the city should be contributing to the public school system, even if they spend their own money to send their kids to private school.

            That’s how the public commons works. Everyone contributes for the benefit of ALL not just the benefit of the few. 

            Now, I’m not against parents getting vouchers to help pay for “Public Charter” schools that meet certain educational guidelines and follow various restrictions (such as no religious instruction or affiliation). The whole point is that those schools are still open to everyone.

            We want to encourage a system with options where everyone can excel and grow, but if we give away all our money because nobody wants to contribute and only cares about themselves then the entire system is going to fall apart….as if it wasn’t bad enough now.

          • bagels

            So, by your logic we should cut a check for $100,000 and give it to a family of 5 that do not currently nor have had any intention of ever utilizing the many fine schools in Sheepshead Bay and Marine park so that they turn around and give it to a religious institution?  So you’re saying, for example, that people can just opt out and receive money from the government if they choose to use a private ambulance service instead of the FDNY? This is the America you envision going forward?

          • TryAgainBubba

            Stan – who do you know who’s paying $20,000 per year in state and local taxes?  Voucher advocates aren’t asking to get back “their” tax money; they’re saying that the rest of us need to subsidize their children’s religious education.

            Public schools are funded through a combination of tax revenues because we as a society have determined that we have a common interest in ensuring that other people’s kids get an education. And as taxpayers, we have a right to demand accountabiliy for how those funds are allocated. We lose that right when our money gets diverted to private schools (unless you think it’s ok for the state to audit the yeshiva’s books…)

            If you chose to send your kids to private school, mazel tov. Go and be happy. That’s your choice. But don’t come to me to help pay for it.

          • Anonymous

            bagels, I think people should have choices. If they choose to keep their kids in the public school system they can redeem their voucher there, if not – they should be able to redeem it at a school of their choice. 

            People being forced to pay for a failing school system is the America you envision going forward?

          • levp

            Fine.  We will pencil you in “Islamic Jihad Charter School” supporters column.

        • Anonymous

          Bloomberg seems intent upon reducing public school funding and closing so called “failing schools”. Why do they fail? If funding for public schools is cut for such programs as the arts and after school programs that only eviscerates the public schools and brings them further down the line to failure. Some people, such as Bloomberg don’t like the UFT. The Teachers Union has resisted performance based ratings, a series of widely publicized events of child abuse has tarnished their members image and some are really incompetent. Some people simply don’t want to negotiate in good faith with the UFT and keep presenting roadblocks to a largely qualified bloc of educators.

          Yet what is the alternative? Would you really trust a teacher earning $11/hr to have the ability, energy and the resolve to provide your children with a well rounded learning experience? That’s about the rate paid to teachers in these private schools and charter “academies”. The profession of Teacher has lost respect. The profession of Teacher has become nothing more than that of an assembly line worker churning out cut-out paper dolls for a testing based system that fails to motivate and invigorate young minds. Siphoning out money from public schools and bailing out for-profit charter schools and private institutions that exploit those who wish to pursue this higher calling is absolutely wrong and I agree with Bagels on this.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        I’ll let what bagels said stand without further comment.

  • bagels

    I can understand and support a voucher program that empowers a parent living in a school district with shitty public schools to be able to  send her son or daughter to a better school and thereby have access to a quality education. This is what a voucher program is supposed to be for, isn’t it? When did it morph into a direct government subsidy for people who choose to send their children to a private religious school (even though there’s a great Public school around the corner) with yearly tuitions as high as $10,000? What’s to stop a Catholic or Muslim family from saying, “I don’t want to send my kids to the local public school to mingle with the “great unwashed” so, therefore, I need the city to help me pay for my kids education.” It’s just not right.

    • levp

      For example, see:
      ACLU Lawsuit Accuses Minn. Charter School of Promoting Islam
      http://www.christianpost.com/news/aclu-lawsuit-accuses-minn-school-of-promoting-islam-57153/
      “Among other allegations, Samuelson’s organization claimed that TiZA, located in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., “illegally transferred money to its religious landlords, promoted Islam through its Arabic curriculum and its connection to the after-school religious program, and used taxpayer funds in excess of $1 million to renovate buildings to the benefit of their religious landlords.”

      Fun part:
      “Moreover, said Zaman, the charter school would still be open were it not for the Minnesota state government and the ACLU.”
      Translated as: “And we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids and your stupid dog!”

      • Anonymous

        I don’t see why you think you make yourself look smart by baiting me with your pet causes. I am more interested in policy than pandering to specific groups or to people who are against specific groups. If you are campaigning to make Islam illegal – just say so.  

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          That would be unconstitutional, and as you know, Lev is a strong believer in that document.

          • Anonymous

            Lisanne, “as you know”? Again we are with that? Should I ask you to admit that you are a racist, again? ;)

            Lev’s posts indicate the opposite of what you are claiming.

          • levp

            Promotion of any religion, including Islam, in a publicly funded institution, including schools, is already illegal (as in unconstitutional).  Just to make the matter clear.

          • Anonymous

            Like I said – give people their taxes back via vouchers and they will have a choice, thus the government won’t be promoting anything.

          • levp

            Government agency distributing tax money collected by the government constitutes government involvement.
            Also note that a taxpayer can already deduct educational expenses (including those for private schools) by filing an itemized income tax return (just search for recent Mr. Reisman’s articles on this site or consult your tax advisor).

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            To Stan

            How about if we just give people back the percentage of their taxes that would pay for education?

            That would be fine, but it still creates the problem whereas citizens have the right to a PUBLIC education. Not a religious based one. The public one must be paid for.

          • Anonymous

            levp, ”
            Government agency distributing tax money collected by the government constitutes government involvement. ” -  involvement in what? The choice is up to the parents – they can send their kids to a religious or a non religious school. In fact, one can argue that government is promoting atheism by forcing the religious folk to contribute to a public school system…

          • levp

            “The choice is up to the parents – they can send their kids to a religious or a non religious school”
            True, so the only way such voucher plan can survive a court challenge is to allow any school to be a beneficiary. Which brings us back to your taxes supporting Islamic Jihad.

            “In fact, one can argue that government is promoting atheism by forcing the religious folk to contribute to a public school system…”
            In the Soviet Union that was exactly the case. In the United States, however, First Amendment protects free exercise of religion by both students and faculty in public schools, for as long as such exercise is not organized or endorsed by the school.

          • Anonymous

            “is to allow any school to be a beneficiary.” – isn’t that what I was saying all along? People should have a choice.

            “Which brings us back to your taxes supporting Islamic Jihad. ”

            Unless we make the promotion of Islamic Jihad illegal this is a moot point.

          • levp

            I doubt members of Bay People, Inc. would be content with their tax money going to any Muslim school (even the ones without Jihad in their names)…

          • Anonymous

            levp, ”
            I doubt members of Bay People, Inc…” – what do they have to do with this discussion? Or is this what this was all about? You were baiting me because you figured me for a member of the “Bay people, Inc”? Is that it? Surely a socially conscious, progressive soul like you wouldn’t be stereotyping an entire group of people… Right?

          • levp

            1. Organization “Bay People, Inc.” is relevant to this discussion due to their opposition to a Muslim religious institution.
            2. This is really not about you…

            3. Some groups of people voluntarily organize and define themselves. Repeating their own (voluntary) definition is not stereotyping. For example, it is safe to say that all members of organization American Atheists, Inc. are “godless”.

          • Anonymous

            “Bay People, Inc.” – ah, my fault. I had no idea that was an actual group, I thought that was some sarcastic label. In any case, I don’t see what relevance that group has as far as this discussion goes.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

             Fact. Therefore you should know. As stated in Lev’s response, in case you didn’t.

          • Anonymous

            lev merely mentioning the constitution in one of his posts does not qualify him as “a strong believer”  plenty of people mention it when its convenient to their cause and keep mum when it’s not.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            The constitution isn’t germane to every discussion.

          • Anonymous

            Lisanne, I dont’ understand why you guys are having such a difficulty with this. A person with a voucher would be able to take that voucher and send their kid to a school of *their* choice. A religious or a non religious one. 

    • Anonymous

      I am sure that the shittiness of the a district will be gauged by some city appointed bureaucrat and not by the parent, right? After all bureaucrats know what’s best for kids that are not theirs.

      • bagels

        Actually, its gauged by graduation rates, test scores, % of kids reading at grade level, etc. Those stats are available on the NYC DOE website.

        • Anonymous

          They’ll just dumb down the tests to improve the stats. A friend of mine is a math teacher at a public HS in brooklyn. Apparently the teacher there *have* to take in (and count for a full grade) any homework as long as its handed in before the end of the semester. Great way to boost the grades. Back when I went to HS in the mid 90′s – if you didn’t make the deadline – too bad.

      • http://twitter.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

        However…you also have to look at why it got that way…oftentimes it’s the residents of the area that don’t teach discipline or a love of learning when it becomes a dump.

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  • Anderson

    When you look at the bigger picture we need not elect career politicians, they are part of the problem we all face.  Nor should we be told by other elected officials who we should vote for.  Can’t we think for ourselves.  This is what I am thinking.  This country and the state are too great, but many of us have been led around in the past it is time to wake up and elect someone like Storobin, and if he’s no good at least we can throw him out in two years.

    • Brightonresident

      In 2 years Mr. Storobin can do a lot of damage.  It seems to me that if he is endorsing school vouchers, what else from the radical right wing does he support.  Republicans on most levels are against everything that has been fought for over the last 8 or 9 decades and will take us back to the dark ages!

      • Anonymous


        Republicans on most levels are against everything that has been fought for over the last 8 or 9 decades and will take us back to the dark ages!” – LOL! 

        • levp

          You are right, Dark Ages did not have transvaginal ultrasound requirements…

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Don’t use that word when talking to Republicans. They start reaching for the aspirin.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

           You think that’s funny.? In a sinister way I guess it is.

          • Anonymous

            Any time people envoke the dark ages to make some liberal point de jour I know they are super cereal. Srsly.

            Undoing 8-9 decades takes us back to the dark ages. Some kind of lolarity right there.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            I wish I could find humor in some of the absurd utterances made recently by right wingnuts. Some of them indicate an ignorance that is quite scary. Those who make these statements are not merely commenters on a newsblog, they are people who have a large audience, and are taken seriously by uneducated people. Some of the recent suggestions made about birth control come straight out of disproved folk medicine. I find it sad and pathetic that some will actually take such advice.

          • Anonymous

            That’s pretty much on par with the uneducated that think that raising the minimum wage to $10-11 is going to improve the economic situation. Lots of uneducated folks out there. Why, speaking of Dark Ages, one only needs to look at the videos of crowds standing around chanting “hope” and “change” and passing out while the Dear Leader speaks.

          • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

            Super Cereal? Is that like cereal that doesn’t get soggy in milk? Cause that would be fucking awesome.

          • Anonymous

            That was a south park reference..

          • Anonymous

            “We want to encourage a system with options where everyone can excel and grow, but if we give away all our money because nobody wants to contribute and only cares about themselves then the entire system is going to fall apart….”
            That doesn’t make sense. Options signify choice, now if parents choose not to send their kids (and vouchers) to the public schools and that system falls apart. Well… The people have spoken then. 

            As for teh “give away all our money” part – it’s not a tough concept – I am talking about keeping “our” money vs. giving it away to the gov’t to misspend it as they do now.

    • Lana

      What two years are you talking about? The district will be gone by January 1, 2013. I do agree that we need new ideas and strategy, new faces and new leaders but Storobin has no clue what he is talking about. He came from nowhere, he has nothing to offer. You should hear his speeches in Russian. Utopia! 

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  • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

    The State/Federal Government should not be funding vouchers to send children to religious schools or schools owned/managed by religious institutions under any circumstances.

    If a parent is not satisfied with a public education and insists on sending their child to a religious school it’s THEIR choice and they should have to pay for it.

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  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    I think the quality of candidates here is directly proportional to the length of time this district will last. Political justice maybe?

  • bagels

    Stan –  Let me take a different tact with this voucher thing and appeal to your sense of right and wrong. The word “choice” implies that there are two options a family would consider for educating their children – public school vs religious school – but if the public school was never an option to begin with because of conservative religious values and there was a politician out there who banged the drum long and hard that the public school was the devil incarnate (even though he comes from a strong school district) then viola! that family would have a religious education paid for by the state. You’re trying to manipulate the system in the most negative way possible.

    • Anonymous

      There can be three types of schools. 
      1. Government schools (cash your voucher there if you like)
      2. Non religious private school.
      3. Religious private school.

      If you decide to send your kids to a non religious school – you’ll have that choice.

      • levp

        Note: choice number 3 is prohibited by NYS Constitution.

        • Anonymous

          Lets for a moment assume that the NYS Constitution is not amendable and the idea that only the rich should be able to send their kids to religious schools will find sympathy with the non wealthy voters.

          So now we’llhave two choices. Public schools or non religious private schools. What say you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Diaz/1142973185 Joe Diaz

    People who
    support vouchers are selfish.  Plain
    & simple.  I wish they would go
    away.  Because they don’t send their
    children to public schools, they don’t support the higher spending and real
    estate taxes that go along with supporting the public schools.  We need to pay Educators a living wage; not
    minimum wage.  We don’t need people who
    send their kids to private schools calling the shots and hurting the children
    in the public schools.  And yes, when you
    pay teachers less than they’re worth; it is the children who suffer. 

    • nolastname

      One of the things I don’t like about the vouchers is the abuse. Too many people taking advantage. There were stories that people lied about the effort to get their children into public schools.
      A person can not pray in school so the state has to pay for a person to have that right somewhere else?
      Talk about cutting off your nose.

      • Anonymous

        The state gets it money from a taxpayer. If a taxpayer wants to use the $ that he/she paid in taxes to be applied to a school of his choice that should be his or her right. Everybody should be given vouchers to pick schools of their choice.

        • levp

          So a family that has 5 children, lives in the projects (having no income) and pays no property, income or payroll taxes, will receive $100,000 worth of vouchers under your plan, right?

          Meanwhile, the public school still has to paid for.
          New York State Constitution, Article XI, Section 1: “The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.”
          http://www.dos.ny.gov/info/constitution.htm

          So where the extra money will come from?

          While we are on the subject of Constitution, let’s look at the same Article XI, Section 3″
          “Neither the state nor any subdivision thereof, shall use its property or credit or any public money, or authorize or permit either to be used, directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance, other than for examination or inspection, of any school or institution of learning wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught”

          I see a constitutional challenge lawsuit in our future…

          • Anonymous

            We are going in circles here over a very simple concept. Extra money? Again, we are spending close to $20k per student in NYC, so those 5 kids are already being spent $100k on. All I am saying is that we should take that same 
            (not extra)  $ and give it out as vouchers to let the parents make their own choices when it comes to schooling. If a family chooses to spend their vouchers on a government ran school that’s fine – its their choice. Key word – choice – everybody is still getting a free education.

          • nolastname

            Sounds like you would be very happy if the whole Public School thing would just disappear. With the voucher system is will not take Houdini.

          • Anonymous

            Why would it disappear? All of you supporters of the public school system would fund it by parking your vouchers there.

          • Anonymous

            Why would it disappear? All of you supporters of the public school system would fun it by parking your vouchers there.

          • nolastname

            I support, yes. If I am alive another 50 years I would still have no voucher to park anywhere. More reason I don’t support it. I want my next 50 years of taxes to go to the Public School System.
            Ya’ see Stan I am very aware what abuses day care tax write offs have taken. I also see religious exemptions as being waaaay over board with some whole neighborhoods as one big house of worship. 
            No need to add another burden on the system.
            It will disappear because funding will diminish.

          • Anonymous

            Not sure what write offs you are talking about. Everybody will get vouchers. If you want to keep funding the public school system you can send your kids and redeem your vouchers at a government ran school.

          • bagels

            Levp made a very good point. What if a family pays no taxes, then any money they receive from the state would be state money not the family’s  money since they paid no taxes to begin with. That would mean they are using state money to pay for a religious education.

          • Anonymous

            Didn’t I already address that point half a dozen times on there? We are spending close to $20k per student regardless if their parents pay taxes or not. And why do you keep saying “religious education”? You do realize that private schools don’t hav  to be religious, right?

          • levp

            Extra funds will be required since the state still has to pay the same amount of money to maintenance personnel, the same amount of money to provide building services, and a comparable amount of money for teacher salaries (since you have to have a math teacher regardless of 100 students present or 1).
            Granted, it will not be 100% of current expenditures, but it not going to be 0% either.  Can you save on heating costs if only half of current number of students show up (hint: no)?
            So, extra financing will be required.  Unless you sell off public school facilities, that is.

            I know – we can finance these vouchers with more tax cuts!!

          • Anonymous

            Thanks for the hint! I feel like I owe you a few of my own.
            1. Several under occupied  schools can be merged into one.
            2. School can be kept a smaller size – in a smaller building. (this is probably better).

          • nolastname

            TYVM.

        • bagels

          This has nothing to do with school choice and every thing to with securing a religious education with state/city money. This nonsense was tried in Colorado last year and it failed to pass the smell test:
          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904823804576504861098609894.html 

          Your assertion that taxpayers can pick and choose what public service to support is ridiculous and simple minded.

          • Anonymous

            We are already doing it with foodstamps.  Are they not vouchers for food? Let’s just eliminate them, then, and have government ran supermarkets for those on the dole.

            What’s ridiculous is that some are content with the fact that we are spending $20k on a child which results in a shitty education for them and teachers who claim to be underpaid.

          • bagels

            I have no idea what food vouchers have to do with this discussion. People have to eat and i support food stamps as a safety net for those who need help. I do not support manipulating the system to alleviate a financial burden for families who would only consider a religious education for their children.

            I want my share of taxes that go to supporting a transit system that i never use, I also want to be reimbursed for life guards because i never go to the beach. 

            Taking that 20,000 figure you throw around so much and giving it religious schools does not come anywhere near assuring a quality education for children. It satisfies a family’s desire to make sure religious doctrine is taught but really, not much more.

          • Anonymous

            My food stamps example was in reference to your public service comment. The government is already delegating this safety net to the private industry by issuing foodstamps (and not procuring and handing out food themselves).

            And as we know – taking the $20k and funding the public school system does not assure quality education, either. At least with the voucher system parents would have a choice of moving kids to a different school if their current one was not to their liking.

          • nolastname

            Let’s concentrate on improving the Public School System and the conditions that brought about so much Public Assistance.
            In your accepted process of building the world of private schools what will happen to the dwindling Public School System? Poof, Houdini again, but in the process there will be losses unimaginable to you.
            Fix the problem without creating a new pattern that will only sooner crush the (what’s left of) middle class, the less educated and lower class.
            TAX THE SHIT OUT OF WALL STREET!!

          • Anonymous

            Why are you so worried about the “dwindling Public School System”??  Judging by by all the supporters of it here, there’ll be plenty of parents who’ll redeem their vouchers at public schools and sending their kids there. Everybody will have an opportunity to send their kids to a school of their choice (public or not), thus eliminating the class issue.

          • nolastname

            Again, one of my reasons….a personal one……I, me, as myself do not want my tax dollars going toward this form of genocide. 
            Private schools are expensive. Will a person of little or no income have the additional resources. Seems a way of putting the UFT out while giving $ to private schools. Fix the school system with those dollars….Do not assist Bloomieass in his quest to destroy this city.
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/34224145@N04/5163349148/in/photostream

          • Anonymous

            Private schools are only expensive because there’s little competition between them due to the fact that there’s not many customers and the ones that there are can afford to pay whatever. Currently, private schools in brooklyn run about $30k a year. We are spending $20k a year on the public schools. I am sure that once *everybody* is given a chance to attend a private school – more will open up thus driving the tuition down.

            Let’s create an example school. Whats the current student to teacher ratio at public schools? 30:1? Let’s, for example, imagine a private school with a 20:1 student to teacher ratio that commands a tuition of $20k (equivalent to a voucher with no overage) per student per year. For simplicity (math wise) sake let’s take a school that has 6 periods a day – 6 teachers, 120 students. 120 students @ $20k generates $2.4 million per year. Let’s say the compensation per teacher will run $100k a year. That’s $600k. Let’s be generous and say that a  principal, guidance counselor, a security guard, and a janitor will set us back another $250k. That’s $850k. Let’s say a full set of textbooks is $1k per student and we get new books every 3 years – that’s $333 per year. We got $850.333k per student per year. Would it be fair to say that we can rent a building that will house a school of 120 for $500k a year (I’ll admit that I am no expert on real estate, so I welcome a correction here). 

            That works out to $1,350.333 per year – out of a budget of $2.4 million. That’s a school with a 20:1 student to teacher ratio (vs 30:1 at public schools) that gets new books every 3 years, and where teachers are nicely compensated. So what happened to the other $1+ million? 

            Why are you, as a taxpayer, not angered by th fact that our money is being misspent and that kids are affected?

          • Anonymous

            As for Colorado – they spend half of what we spend per student. I am sure if they had to pay what we pay they would start figuring that they might as well be sending their kids to a private school for that $.

            See here:

            http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/cb11-94_table_11.pdf 

          • Anonymous

            Also, fun fact about Colorado. They rank #13 when it comes to SAT scores, NY ranks #42. I suppose if we spent half of what we spend now and ranked #13 as far as the SAT scores went, vouchers wouldn’t be as appealing as they are in our current situation.

            http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog/detail/sat-scores-by-state-2011 

        • nolastname

          If the taxpayer has 12 kids going through this system and Joe Shmoe has no kids, never had, never wanted and never will want kids why should Joe pay for the taxpayer to be so comfortable?
          These vouchers and tax deductions are not only given for “freedom of religion” purposes, they are given to people who say there is no room in the public school system for their child. This is the abuse/taking advantage I mentioned.
          I went to Public School and had to go on Wednesdays for release time to practice my religion. 
          Is that only good for some people and not others?
          Now if you are saying these taxpayers are contributing all their taxes to one school for the purpose their children attend then screw the rest of the poor slobs,aye. 
          We seem to be talking about 2 different points. I not surprised.

          • Anonymous

            I am not sure what your point is. We are already spending close to $20k per student regardless if these students come from parents of taxpayers or not. All I am saying is that we should be giving that $20k as vouchers to parents so they can send their kids to any school they like. Government school, religious private, or non religious private.

          • bagels

            You do realize that part of that 20,000 (yeah, i know it’s a bloated figure) is allocated to special needs kids and all the services they require as well as ESL programs. The expense associated with this will remain the same because, lets face it, those religious schools can’t do the job. The city needs those programs funded so the federal government will have to step in and provide funding, which, when you do the math, means that they are indirectly funding religious schools, in violation of separation of church and state. 

            You can go around in circles all day long about this and repeat the same tired ideas but I’m standing by my assertion that what you propose is unconstitutional, unworkable and an attempt to subvert a noble concept and turn it  government support of religious institutions.

          • Anonymous

            bagels, I was an ESL student – that meant that I attended all my regular classes other than Spanish. I went to my ESL class instead. No biggie.  

            I am fine with the expense remaining the same. The point is that parents will have choices where to send their kids. 

            You are the only one going in circles about the religious schools. Fine, forget religious schools for a moment. We’ll have public schools and private schools – both will accept vouchers. 

            The fact that “a noble concept” is the only good thing you can say about the public system is telling, by the way.

          • levp

            But the majority of private schools are clearly religious:
            http://www.greatschools.org/new-york/brooklyn/private/schools/?sortBy=SCHOOL_NAME_ASCENDING&sortChanged=true&gradeLevels=e&gradeLevels=m&gradeLevels=h&st=private
            I like America Come Back To God Academy, myself.

            So who is going to supervise the voucher process to make sure the school is truly non-religious?  Sounds like, with 481 private schools just in Brooklyn, Board of Education would have to hire hundreds of new inspectors to maintain new “non-religious, voucher-approved” certification.  Great news for public employee unions!

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps in your mind the vast majority of parents will insist on keeping their kids in the public school system when given vouchers, but I speculate that will not be the case. Having all these parents now being able to afford private schooling – more private schools will spring up – creating choices and competition.

            As for inspections – right, because all these schools will teach religion on the hush, hush when nobody’s looking.

          • levp

            No, I’m saying exactly the opposite – assuming the vast majority of parents will choose private schools when given vouchers, a lot more private schools will be created. Someone will have to ensure their compliance with the constitutional requirements – regardless of whether they are religious openly or in a hush-hush way. Because nobody is violating any laws – so we don’t need any enforcement, right?

          • Anonymous

            levp, we already have a mechanism in place that accredits private schools. All we have to do is add some extra checks to make sure that there’s no religion in the curriculum.  What’s the problem, again?

          • levp

            1. A lot more private schools, as you wrote yourself.
            2. It is not just the curriculum, it is also “control or direction”: “wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination, or in which any denominational tenet or doctrine is taught”. 3. Someone will still have to verify all the extra information provided by a lot more schools (as President Ronald Reagan said: “Trust, but verify”).

          • Anonymous

            Not sure if I understand. Control or direction by something outside of the curriculum? How do you think this would work? If you try to preach judaism – wouldn’t the parents of the catholic kids complain (and vice versa)?

          • levp

            This was a quote from aforementioned Article XI, Section 3 of the New York Constitution. I quoted the entire section earlier, and you can find its text at:
            http://www.dos.ny.gov/info/constitution.htm

            There is a prohibition on public funds for both religious curriculum AND religiously-controlled schools in general, which will have enforced. Or the (expensive) lawsuits defended.

          • Anonymous

            Right. The accreditation process will enforce all of that. It would be the schools who’ld get sued for violating the law, by the way.

          • levp

            Currently, the New York State does not even have private school registration, let alone accreditation:
            “New York has operated without mandatory registration for private schools since its state statute was struck down in 1948. Packer Collegiate Institute v. University of New York, 81 N.E.2d 80 (1948).” http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/RegPrivSchl/newyork.html
            Private high schools only have to be registered with the Board of Regents in order to issue a high school diploma (same source).

            Accreditation currently is voluntary and provided by organizations like New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS).

            So it appears that we will need the whole new mechanism for state licensing of private schools to implement proposed voucher program.

          • Anonymous

            Right, which means that if you are not accredited you can’t issue a valid HS diploma.  From your link:

            “Nonpublic high schools must be registered with the Board of Regents in order to issue a high school diploma. N.Y. Educ. Law § 210; 8 N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. § 100.2(p).”

            Make vouchers redeemable only at schools that are accredited. Problem solved.

          • levp

            Registered, not accredited. And only high schools even have to be registered.

            ac·cred·it
            to certify (a school, college, or the like) as meeting all formal official requirements of academic excellence, curriculum, facilities, etc.

            reg·is·ter
            to enter or cause to be entered formally in a register.

            ( From dictionary.com )

          • Anonymous

            Thanks for the dictionary definition. Are you under an impression that registering with the Board of Regents would not involve an accreditation process? I find it hard to believe that non public schools would be allowed to hand out a high school diploma without being accredited. 

            Any idea why it’s only high schools that have this requirement? Perhaps because elementary/jr highs don’t issue diplomas?

          • Anonymous

            See this link - 
            http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/aipr/CertificationofContinuedCompliance.htm

            Note that the top header link is labeled “Institution Approval & Program Registration” (Registration!), now scroll down and let me know if any of it look like a process of accreditation. Ya, know, where accredit means “to certify (a school, college, or the like) as meeting all formal official requirements of academic excellence, curriculum, facilities, etc.”

          • levp

            This is a process for colleges and universities (Office of College and University Evaluation), not high schools. Then again, currently there are no requirements at all for elementary and secondary schools. Now there will have to be. This will require a bigger evaluation/certification workforce.

          • levp

            …have TO be enforced…

          • bagels

            Stan – Why are you “fine” with the expense remaining the same? should we just discontinue those programs and throw the children out on the street? Those children have to be served and if the money walks away and is spent at a religions school someone has to Pick up the tab which i believe would be either the city or the state by funneling more money into the school system. Religious schools have no inclination to educate those children because they are not mandated to do so.

            And no, I will not forget religious schools. That’s how this discussion started. Religious schools are expensive and when a family chooses not to send their kids to the good public schools in their neighborhood they should not expect the city to pull money out of the public coffers to alleviate the financial burden.  And why can’t these schools but their own security cameras?

            Finally, I can say many, many good things about the public school system. 

    • Anonymous

      Joe, we spend $19k per student per year in NYC. Not enough? What do you think we should spend? $25k? $30k? $35k? Throw a number out – I am curious.