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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ohio Voucher Program Expands

Joanne Jacobs reports that Ohio has increased school voucher program. The tuition aid, which has been available only in Cleveland since 1996, will allow up to 14,000 additional students statewide to leave schools that persistently fail academic tests and move to private schools, beginning in the fall of 2006. Parents will get $4,250 per elementary student and $5,000 for a high school student; vouchers may be spent for tuition at church-run or secular schools. substantially.

Meanwhile, the NEA claims closing the minority achievement gap is its top priority. However, the NEA's budget for the year starting in August does not reflect a greater emphasis on raising student achievement. The department with that responsibility is to see its funding go up by less than 1 percent over the year, while the department handling collective bargaining and member advocacy is slated for an increase of almost 4 percent.

The interests of any union is the union first, members second and quality of the end-product last, if at all. This is nothing pejorative. Think of the auto union. It seeks to build its membership as large as possible. Its advertising budget is immense. While they seek higher wages generally, they are less interested in an individual teacher's growth or satisfaction. If any individual has a gripe that was not protected in the collective bargaining agreement, there is no hope for satisfaction for the employee. Finally, does the union itself care about the quality of the auto or the price charged by retailers? The same holds true for the teachers' union.

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