Parents Should Demand Vouchers

March 8, 2012

An unnamed teacher at Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard was placed on paid administrative leave this week as the Oxnard School District investigates whether she has been moonlighting as a porn actress.

That followed the criminal citation last week of John Eaton Cromwell, a teacher at Maple Creek Elementary School in Fresno, after agents with the California Department of Justice found some 3,880 marijuana plants at a property he owns and $387,000 in cash at his primary residence.

Before that, there was the resignation of James Hooker from Enochs High School in Modesto after the 41-year-old teacher left his wife and kids to shack up with an 18-year-old student with whom he has had a relationship — non-sexual, he claims — since she was a minor.

Then there were the recent arrests of Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, teachers atMiramonteElementary School, six miles south of downtownLos   Angeles, on separate charges of sexual misconduct with tender-aged students.

What could public school officials in Oxnard, Fresno, Modesto and Los Angeles say to concerned parents of schoolchildren at Haydoc, Maple Creek, Enochs and Miramonte, what gesture could they make, that would convince those parents that the school districts in which their children are enrolled truly have their best interests at heart?

It’s simple. They could offer parents a voucher equal to the per-pupil expenditure for the school district.

Parents could use the voucher to re-enroll their child in the public school she or he currently attends. Or, if they have lost confidence in their public school in the wake of the recent scandals, they could use the voucher to enroll their child in an accredited private or parochial school.


As it is, California’s public schools continue to maintain a monopoly over 95 percent of the state’s schoolchildren.

If a child is reared in an affluent neighborhood, chances are she or he will attend a very good public school with outstanding teachers. However, if that public school does not measure up to the expectations of the child’s parents, they may very well choose to enroll her or him in a better-performing private or parochial school.

Unfortunately, many, if not most, California families lack the means to exercise that option. So, no matter how bad a public school may be, students are stuck there.

That’s why classrooms are full at the 180 or so public schools that the California Department of Education identifies as the state’s lowest-achieving. That’s why parents do not pull their children out of public schools where gang activity is rampant, weapons are ubiquitous, racial tensions are rife.

And that’s why there has been no mass exodus of children from the public schools scandalized by a porn star on the faculty, a drug kingpin in the classroom, a teacher leaving his wife and kids for a student, and sexual deviants preying upon tender-aged pupils.

– Joseph Perkins


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  1. Ron
    Ron 8 March, 2012, 12:38

    Its great for you to highlight this situation, but the reasons why most parents dont pull their kids out is because they dont give a damn. The teachers who are trying to work in these places without doing porn or selling drugs are being abused and oppressed. They see a constant lack of support from the administration because expulsions reduce dollars coming in. Many of the parents in these areas use education as free childminding and they pay nothing in the way of taxes towards them. The more generous that california becomes the worse this will get.

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  2. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 9 March, 2012, 08:24

    Ron, when you say “most parents”, you may be correct, however *this* parent has real concerns re: the quality of education my children receive, not to mention the moral environment they experience in class.
    If vouchers were available I would be one of the first to make use of them to get my kids into a better school.

    Reply this comment
  3. lila
    lila 16 March, 2012, 12:35

    It is sad to hear of all the horrendous things happening in our schools. As an educator my heart cries to see the tremendous load teachers and students have to carry everyday. What can help? Communication and education, on all sides. Teachers, Parents, chilren are all slowly moving toward destruction. The beauty is there is hope. Everyone can reform, everyone can turn from bad to good, from uneducated to educated. Chilren can learn if thaught properly. Parents need educational classes. Teachers can benefit from workshops. As we all strive to improve our schools systems let us look towards communiction,and education which is a key factor to improve knowlege of realty to all involved.

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