Unintended Consequences-A Guest Post

Today I am featuring a post from a blogger friend, this incident happened recently and because she didn’t feel comfortable posting on her own blog where the woman involved may see it, I offered her a voice. It’s a subject you know pisses me off no end anyway so it’s nice to see others getting pissed off about the state of Education in America. Please enjoy and if you love her as much as I do then be sure to head on over and read more of Alyson at The Shitastrophy.

the shitastrophy


The state of Indiana, where I live – kinda, has implemented a school voucher system. Indiana is not known as a progressive land, more a land of corn and Amish and cows. Did I mention corn? Indiana is conservative, having voted Republican the last election and most prior elections as well. They did swing Democratic a few times, but decided they only go one way and went back to the shit they know and love – red. Oh that was fun.

Indiana ushered out the past Democratic Governor and swept in a new Republican with quite a large swing. Yes I did it again. The conservatives had their guy back on top and they were stoked (or stroked – third times a charm really). The new Governor made one of his first pillars Education Reform. Awesome, who doesn’t love education? People want good quality schools for their kids. Who wouldn’t? Indiana instituted a State Voucher System that has had some issues since it’s inception, in my opinion.

Vouchers? What are those? Well in a nutshell parents in failing school districts can take their taxpayer money that was earmarked for public school and now send their funds and child to a private school. In theory this is a great idea. Here’s why.

If you live in a shitty school system why should your kid continue to be screwed? This is not something minor we are talking about; this is their education. This is what will determine their future paths. Why should a child be limited by their parent’s financial inabilities to afford the awesome house in the awesome school district? In a land that is constantly weighing fair against unfair this would seem to me the pinnacle of unfair.

I live in the shitty school system. My kids go to the private schools but we do not get the benefit of the vouchers. There is an income cut off that prohibits our family from benefiting from this law. Shit happens. As a parent that has seen first hand the impact of this law, here are my issues.

1) Taxpayer money is now going from public schools to private, primarily religious based schools. How does this not break the separation of church and state provisions in our constitution? It doesn’t according to the Indiana Supreme Court.

2) The private schools are now required to provide a large amount of accommodations for the new students to bring them up to speed. This would be fine if the private schools were also provided special education teachers, or other resources – but they are not.

3) By making a decision to draw a line on income, some families that have worked their asses off to afford private school prior to the implementation of this law are now priced out. These families pinched and saved, taking on multiple jobs to make private school possible. Now they make too much to meet the state requirements for the vouchers, while other families that have done nothing to advance their socio-economic status will get the full benefit. How is that fair? It’s not.

These were some of my main issues with the vouchers, that is until the other day when I almost lost my fucking mind.

I was picking another child up for a play date when her mother informed me, “Thank God I am getting vouchers for all three of the kids!”

“Oh, that’s great.” (I totally don’t know why she is telling me this.)

“Yeah, so-and-so in the office called me to tell me that all of the kids were now covered.”

“Wonderful, the school would hate to have seen them go, glad it was worked out.” (Why do people tell me this kind of shit? Please just drop your kid off and go.)

Now here is the crowning jewel of the entire conversation…wait for it…wait for it…


“Yeah, if it wasn’t for the vouchers we would have had to quit the Blah-Blah Country Club.”

BOOM! BAMM! WTF? Did this chick just tell me that she has a fucking country club membership?!!!

I am pretty sure Indiana did not have that in mind when they gave the vouchers out to families in the state. Take note lawmakers – if you have a fucking COUNTRY CLUB membership you should not be getting a fucking voucher!


What are your thoughts on this? I personally think it is bullshit, in case you hadn’t noticed.


Comments 20

  1. Wow, didn’t see hat last line coming, but seriously have to agree and don’t think country club memberships were thought of for this one indeed. That would have irked me and sure I would have said something and started a war. Trust me, I don’t think I could have kept my mouth shut on this one at all!!

  2. Our state (NC) has also considered vouchers but has never put it into action. If they did, I’m pretty sure we would be on that middle ground – too much income to qualify for vouchers & too little to afford private school for three kids on our own. (And we definitely don’t have a country club membership.) I would say there is obviously some re-evalutation of the plan that needs to be done by the state.

    I used to be a public school teacher, so I could really get on my soapbox about this, but I’ll try to contain myself. The thing is, teachers in public school are expected to do so much more with so much less these days. When I taught (11 years ago) there was a school supply closet where I could go to get pencils, crayons, Kleenex etc. for my classroom. Now, all that stuff is on my kids’ supply lists. I don’t have a problem providing the stuff MY kids need, but I am now expected to provide for the whole class because that supply closet doesn’t exist anymore. If the classroom is to have Kleenex or glue sticks or whatever, either parents have to send it in or teachers (who get paid way too little) have to purchase it on their own or do without.

    Politically, I am admittedly pretty conservative. However, I think the public education system needs a LOT of work right now.

  3. That chick is exactly the kind of person that gives systems intended to help bridge the socioeconomic gap a bad name. That is absolute crap.

    Interestingly, separation of church and state is actually NOT in the constitution (federal anyway, don’t know about IN). That phrase was in a letter Jefferson wrote. The constitution just says government can’t force a specific religion on you.

  4. Then there are some of us that add additional work to your day to make “the. Best” available to our children.

  5. I am someone who taught in a school district that was considered “shitty” because the students who lived in the district were primarily low income and high risk. I have no clue what makes your district shitty but I know there are many reasons. Even private schools can provide a crap education to students if the methodology used isn’t good. (Which, also, I’m not saying is your case.) I’m just one of those feisty teachers who has to get that out there 🙂
    I worked at schools that were targeted for programs built by politicians who felt running the field of education like a business would help kids learn better. Vouchers, Reading First, and the endless, brutal standardized testing. If I said “If it works for Target, I’m sure it will work for literacy!” would anyone think I was making sense? Absolutely not but it does appear that is the mindset. Just like anything, people will figure out a way to play the system, no matter how it’s set up. I find it gross that business are making millions by getting government money and forcing their way into schools with tutoring programs that suck. I hated giving federally required tests to students made by companies who were in it just for the profit.
    I do find it absolutely horrid that woman is getting a voucher despite having enough money to still stay on at her country club -seems like she’s playing her part at screwing over one of the most important parts of our country.

  6. Meredith – Wow, I had to actually go and look that up. Sorry Mr. Aronis I must not have been paying as close as attention in 8th grade as I had thought. You are correct, through my quick online googling skills I found that although it has been interpreted to be part of the 1st amendment – it is not actually written verbatim. Just as the ‘right to a fair trial’ and ‘right to privacy’ are not clearly written. The Supreme Court has cited the separation of Church and State doctrine in numerous rulings which has helped to perpetuate the idea that it is in the constitution. Since they are the Judicial branch of the government their interpretation of the 1st Amendment has created the assumption of the clause separation of church and state. I think I just made that more confusing. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and teaching me something!

  7. Jean – In Indiana there is a grading system that determines your school’s score A – F. A large part of this is the lovely standardized testing scores, which I abhor. Also graduation rates, reading scores, etc. In our school system the scores are failing, there are a large number of children receiving free lunch, and the overall average income of the families living in the town is so low that the local taxes do not provide much towards what the state and federal government provide. Sadly, this has resulted in a subpar education for these kids.

  8. So here are my issues with school vouchers since no one asked:

    1. The public school, shitty or otherwise, is now left to fend for itself. What becomes of all the students whose parents don’t know or worse, don’t care about the voucher system? The result is a dilapidated building with teachers who have zero resources and kids who just don’t give a frack because their government doesn’t, so why would they?

    2. The “better” schools are selective, obviously. You’re working your ass off to get your kids a better education, but Ms. Cuntry (too much?) Club is a coveted community member so the “better” school is going to work its ass off to get her kids.

    3. Education is supposedly the focus, the goal. The end product? Productive contributors to society. Unless…those schools have personal and political agendas that they’re actually allowed to pursue because they’re not “state schools” and don’t have to meet the standards and requirements for all students set forth by state and federal mandates.

    My blood pressure just went up 100 points.

    1. Post

      I agree wholeheartedly. The system is so fucked up it makes me sick. NYC is no better, while we don’t have vouchers we have a very unfair selection process. And don’t even get me started on the tests.

  9. Stephanie – you are absolutely right. The schools are left to figure out how to handle a huge loss of income with fixed costs. It’s not right. Ms. CC (not too much BTW) is a gold digger who is busy trying to get a doctor hubby. She lives in the shitty school system, but only first sent her kids to the catholic school when her Dr. boyfriend insisted he wanted a catholic education for his kids. He has since dumped her, but don’t worry she has found a new Dr. She doesn’t work her butt off for her kids, just for herself.

    The voucher students have no gov’t provided lunch, no transportation, and no special services. As a result it is somewhat limiting to the family that can take advantage of this program. The money is provided to families that are in a school district that has repeatedly received a D or F for 2 + consecutive years. It is hard for a school to turn around in just 2 years, just as it didn’t take them 2 years to begin their decent into a failure status.

    It is a result of failed administrators, programs that were implemented and backed off, the state that insists standardized testing is the end all and then provides it only in English when a large portion of the students only speak Spanish. Parents that are not involved and the list goes on.

    It’s sad and frustrating on so many levels.

    Thanks for taking the time to post, sorry your blood pressure went up – it’s probably back up again now.

  10. Wow! All I can say to this is \”Don\’t Hate the Player – Hate the Game!\” Someone who is able or should I say chooses to pay country club membership dues and fees should obviously be able to pay the school\’s tuition. She obviously is someone who is working the system. I fault the government for not doing their due diligence to make sure whether or not someone is truly eligible, but if someone lies on the application by not not declaring all income and memberships what can they do. If it was me I would report her ass!

  11. Jae Mac – The application is her W2’s and tax receipts – now that she doesn’t have to pay for her kids school her money has been freed up to pay the for the country club. There should just be some way to ensure this doesn’t happen. There have been other’s that now that they don’t pay for the private school are considering moving on up to a bigger pad. Just wrong. People will always find a way to make things work in their benefit.

  12. Wait….Indiana has country clubs? (jk, Sorry!) In all seriousness, this would piss me off, too! I, like, Janine, would probably fall into the middle ground of too much income, but not enough money for private school. Fortunately here in East Bumblestick, PA (no country clubs here!) the schools in our district are pretty good.

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