BYU professor opposes vouchers?
Last week, the Provo Daily Herald published an anti-voucher letter by BYU professor Richard Davis and two others.
Not surprisingly, they falsely claimed that vouchers would financially hurt public education. Click here to see our response to this claim.
However, we can't help but be shocked that a BYU professor would be opposed to vouchers, especially since tens of thousands of BYU students have received vouchers (Pell Grants, GI Bill) over the years. Surely, Professor Davis himself has taught hundreds of students that have received taxpayer funds to attend LDS Church-owned BYU.
Davis dismisses vouchers as a "government subsidy, a handout if you will". Unless of course those receiving the voucher subsidies are BYU students. Then it's OK.
When calling vouchers a subsidy, Davis doesn't mention that K-12 public education itself is a subsidy. The voucher subsidy -- expected to be about $1,900 per student -- is actually smaller than the Utah K-12 subsidy, about $7,500 per student in 2008 (figure includes capital and debt service). When students transfer from public schools to private schools, everyone benefits financially, including those families that keep their children in public schools and those families without children.
Davis also plays the elitism card by saying "Americans rejected a caste system where rich people go to private schools". Is Davis not aware that rich people live in rich neighborhoods and send their kids to neighborhood public schools that are much different/better than the public schools in poor areas? Isn't it common knowledge that schools in Alpine and Highland perform better than the schools in Rose Park and Glendale?
Voucher opponents argue that the Pell Grant-voucher analogy is apples and oranges because K-12 education is an entitlement and is compulsory and higher education is not. Actually, the entitlement argument justifies vouchers for K-12 more than it does for higher education. Since K-12 education is a constitutional entitlement, K-12 students are entitled to government funded education, whether that's through the traditional school system or through vouchers.