Thursday, November 1, 2007

Balkanizing Utah's schools

by Richard D. Kahlenberg from Politico

On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to adopt the nation’s most far-reaching school voucher initiative that would provide taxpayer funding for every public school student in Utah to attend private school regardless of family income ... Utah is a very conservative state, yet one recent poll showed roughly 60% of voters were leaning against vouchers. Conservatives generally like to know that taxpayer money is being well-spent, but private schools aren’t subject to the same set of standards and testing that public schools are. Another issue is assimilation ... Arguably the worst thing that could happen to conservative pro-voucher Republicans like Giuliani would be for the voucher initiative to pass. Suddenly, voucher supporters would have to explain why American taxpayers should fund schools like a Saudi-sponsored institution in Fairfax County, Va. While Republicans like to paint a picture of liberals as supporting an extreme form of multiculturalism that divides Americans, the Utah voucher fight could expose Republicans as the real balkanizers.

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