Regarding Edgar Allen Beem’s “LePage, Bowen let down public schools,” some disagree with his conclusion, but I am of a different opinion. My son’s English class research on the subject of teacher recruitment in education and its impact has arrived at the thesis: “Education reform has been the crack through which taxpayer dollars are moving to profit-making companies, who use anti-union and reform rhetoric to gain access to these tax dollars. This has begun the erosion of public education in America.” The evidence is there.
What are the economics of LePage’s proposal? A large chunk of education costs are fixed. If intent is not to destroy public education, the existing budget remains. If 30 percent of all Maine elementary students attend private schools, the economic impact would be a 20-30 percent increase in the state’s education budget, depending whether student costs are with or without fixed costs. From where do we generate this additional funding? How much more is needed when current public school students choose private/religious schools? How will this impact bus transportation costs?
Expanding “school choice,” without discriminating, means religious, private and home schools. Why would taxpayers pay for the wealthier funded private/religious schools? Beem found a court case ruling where a tax dollar paid was different than a tax dollar waived. Choice is a tax dollar paid. If this proposal persists, it feels once again like the poorer families would be bearing the burden of the rich.