Patterico's Pontifications


Utah’s School Voucher Referendum expected to Fail

Filed under: Education,Government — DRJ @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Utah voters cast ballots today on Referendum 1 to decide if Utah HB 148 and HB 174 will be implemented as planned. HB 148, as amended by HB 174, was passed last Spring and it authorizes universal vouchers – in the form of state-wide scholarships ranging from $500 to $3000 each – to all Utah public school students.

A lengthy analysis of the legislation by the Utah Senate staff is posted here.

The Utah ACLU and teacher/public interest groups oppose the voucher program as a poor use of public funds that would be better spent on public schools. Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation hailed Utah’s voucher program as revolutionary. Clayne L. Pope, a BYU economics professor, also endorsed Referendum 1 and the voucher program in last week’s Utah Daily Herald that concluded with this paragraph:

“Referendum 1 is the most important vote of recent memory. Our decision should be based on rational, fair arguments. If you doubt the ability of parents to act in the best interest of their children, you may want to vote against vouchers. If you believe the increase in private schools will further fragment Utah society, you may consider a negative vote. But if you do vote against Referendum 1, you should be aware that you are voting for the status quo in Utah education as well as a somewhat higher future tax burden. But please ignore the bogus arguments that educational resources will decline with vouchers or that increased competition will harm Utah education. Even in a political campaign, educators have a moral duty to educate rather than brainwash.”

Pre-election polls indicated the referendum would not pass and the very early returns bear that out.


9 Responses to “Utah’s School Voucher Referendum expected to Fail”

  1. Err … doesn’t this mean the referendum is expected to succeed? This was put on the ballot by voucher opponents, right?

    Xrlq (6c2116)

  2. The EduCrat Community has thrown everything they have into defeating this referendum, just as they did against the initiative in CA during the 90’s.
    Their stock-in-trade is that yes, there are problems, but that if you don’t approve vouchers, we will correct the deficiencies in the system. After the election – NOTHING!
    This is what happened in CA, and is what will happen in UT.
    The only question is just how long it will take for the UT performance (which pretty much leads all states) to sink to the national average, or below.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. XRLQ,

    The legislation passed but the opponents succeeded in getting the referendum on the ballot to determine whether it will be implemented. Voting against means the voucher program won’t be implemented; Voting for means it will. The referendum vote is currently trending heavily against, meaning it will not be implemented.

    I’m sorry if I didn’t make this clear. Thanks for giving me a chance to do that.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  4. Here’s a quote from the Senate summary that I linked above:

    “Citizen’s State Referendum Number 1 asks Utahns to vote for or against implementation of H.B. 148, Education Vouchers, which the Legislature passed in February 2007. H.B. 148 establishes the Parent Choice in Education Program, which provides state-funded scholarships for qualifying children to attend eligible private schools.”

    Also, I didn’t know a Utah resident is a Utahn, did you?

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  5. haven’t we funnelled enough public money to churches in the last few years?

    assistant devil's advocate (312d75)

  6. Not all churches are takers, ADA. Many are givers.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  7. But from the moment the bell rang Tuesday, it was a one-sided affair, with the anti-voucher crowd decidedly crushing Referendum 1, which would have given families public dollars to pay for private schools. With 94 percent of the state reporting, the vote against vouchers was 296,974 to 181,938.

    Looks like it lost big. From the article I read it seemed that the rural areas went against it the most, but possibly this is more a reflection that alternative schools may be less available than in the urban areas so in effect making it a non issue from their viewpoint.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  8. haven’t we funnelled enough public money to churches in the last few years?

    Apparently not. If “we” haven’t mastered the three Rs well enough to spell “funneled” or even know how to capitalize the first word of a sentence, perhaps “we” didn’t learn much in the public schools, and may have fared better at St. Sensible’s instead.

    Xrlq (6c2116)

  9. This is very sad and unfortunate for children everywhere. Government schools are apparently doing their job quite well. Brainwash all the little kiddies to be worshipers of the government when they grow up. Obviously, this has worked very well in Utah, where I would expect them to distrust the government.

    When I have children, there is no way in hell or heaven that I will let the government brainwash and stupefy them. My children will be able to think for themselves and then decide whether government is good or not.

    Sean (e1d31a)

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