Published DateTo the editor,
I had not planned to weigh in on the Inter-Lakes School Board election even though I have been involved with the district for the past six or seven years
as a volunteer in a variety of capacities, all enjoyable and thought provoking. However, after reading a significant amount of misinformation and misrepresentation of facts in various letters to the editor in Saturday's edition, I could not in good conscience, not write a letter.
Good teachers don't fear the Education Tax Credit/Voucher Program. They fear ignorance and work every day in their classrooms to eradicate inferior critical thinking skills. Teachers know that people with the ability to think critically, and discern "spin," from facts are less apt to fall prey to intimidation and fear mongering about such things as one's marital status affecting his or her ability to think objectively. I am married to a teacher, a Teacher of the Year award winner five times, and he remains the most grounded in reality decision-maker I know and the single best thing that has ever happened to me, even when he does not vote as I do.
It may shock you, as it did me, to learn that 115 religious schools in Georgia are funded through a similar state Education Tax-Credit scheme like the one being sold in New Hampshire as, "School Choice." Those schools have in place "draconian anti-gay policies and practices," the Southern Education Foundation said in a recent report quoted on Page 3 of the March 2013 issue of Church and State. Georgia's "neo-voucher" program offers a dollar for dollar tax break to individuals and corporations that donate money to non-profit groups that in turn grant "scholarships" (a euphemism for vouchers) for tuition at religious and other private schools. Over the last four years, $170 million in taxpayer funds have subsidized private schools. Imagine picking up that "downshifting," of costs to taxpayers. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it and the cost that goes with it.
If we as a community believe in funding at least an adequate education for all children regardless of specific support they need to succeed like speech therapy, special education, etc., we must have a stable and dependable way to budget and fund the costs which are involved.
The Education Tax Credit/Voucher Program is anything but stable and dependable. Florida, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia are all experiencing major problems with their voucher/tax credit programs.
Kay M. Anderson