Rogers' remarks on vouchers draw ire
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
July 13, 2012 01:22 AM | 6778 views | 17 17 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) <br> File photo
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock)
File photo
slideshow
WOODSTOCK — Backlash from comments Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) made during a debate now has the state senator backpedaling from his statements.

Rogers in a debate conducted Tuesday night said he would support a statewide voucher system for public school students and those comments have raised eyebrows from at least one public school education advocacy group.

Rogers’ comments came Tuesday night in a debate with challenger Brandon Beach, District 6 board member for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The debate, moderated by Atlanta Journal-Constitution political blogger Jim Galloway and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel, was held in Milton at the Crooked Creek HOA Clubhouse and sponsored by the North Fulton & Friends Tea Party.

The exchange happened when both Rogers and Beach were asked about their stance on charter schools and school choice.

Rogers, a longtime supporter of charter schools, indicated he was in support of restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools, despite the local boards of education denial.

Galloway followed up with Rogers by noting the senator has “spoken forcefully about parental choice and, if I extrapolate from what you’re saying, you’re saying that the state should be moving very quickly toward a voucher system.”

Galloway then asked Rogers “how quickly” should the state move toward that system and what the consequences would be if a move became a reality.

Rogers noted that move should have happened “yesterday.”

“And the consequences will be we’ll finally have a market-based system, where the best education schools in the system deliver a product to children and parents that they want, that they desire, that they will be involved (in) and not a system that says, ‘Because you live at 123 Elm Street you must go to this school over here’,” he said. “That’s craziness.”

Rogers went on to say the voucher system is part of the Republican Party platform and Republican governors in the states such as Louisiana, New Jersey, Indiana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin are all in support of vouchers.

Rogers’ statements were since met with criticism at the local level.

Cherokee County School Board member Mike Chapman, chair of Neighbors for A Better Cherokee, said Rogers’ comments were a clear indication of his agenda, which is to “dismantle public education and replace it with a privatized system.”

Chapman indicated there’s no concrete evidence that suggests providing vouchers would increase student performance.

He also said those who would benefit from vouchers are families who already pay for private education.

“Senator Rogers and his fellow legislators have stripped more than a billion dollars from public education in the state budget in recent years, and yet they refuse to take responsibility for these cuts (and they are indeed cuts),” he said.

When asked the next day about his comments, Rogers said he was “a little curious as to the ‘newsworthy’ nature of a statement I have made for over 10 years.”

The senator added he supports “every form of education.”

“I do not support any type of educational delivery system over the other,” he said. “I only wish that every type of educational delivery system is excellent.”

The majority leader also noted he is and always had been a supporter of vouchers and the state already has vouchers in place with the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship.

“The idea of sending students to a school based on their U.S. postal mailing address is an antiquated and damaging practice that puts the interests of the government ahead of the interests of the student,” he added. “We should put parents in charge of educational choices for children, and I support this 100 percent.”

The scholarship allows public school students to transfer to another school within their district or to use vouchers to attend a state-approved private school.

Rogers last year tried to expand the scholarship to include children of military families or are in foster care, but the change failed to pass the state senate.

Beach in an interview on Thursday said he would not support such a system and criticized Rogers for his stance.

“We have excellent public education,” he said, referring to schools in Senate District 21. “If Chip Rogers wants to send his children to private school, that’s his prerogative. But the taxpayers don’t need to pay for it.”

Beach added the state should replicate the success schools within Senate District 21 have seen, and said parental involvement is the key to quality education.
Comments
(17)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Craig Thompson
|
July 21, 2012
Typical Republican. Cut school funding to the bone, then whine because it's not effective.

Chip Rogers is a disaster for Georgia and Cherokee. Get rid of him.
Clarify "Backpedal"
|
July 16, 2012
I'm confused with this story's lead. You say Senator Rogers is "backpedaling from his statements," and later report his affirmation of his stance he has had "for over 10 years,” which includes “every form of education,” including public, private, and public charter. That's not backpeddling. That's a principled leader who is solely focused on students and their access to a high quality education -- and not buildings and systems.
Brenda_Reddy
|
July 16, 2012
School vouchers don't improve education. Studies show private schools and charters don't do a better job of educating than traditional public schools. The money spent by traditional public schools on each student varies depending on their needs, and students with special needs can cost three times as much. Only the wealthy can subsidize vouchers to afford the truly outstanding private schools. Vouchers leave public schools without enough funding to educate students with the greatest needs. When public money disappears into private coffers, so does all accountabilty. If you think the money gobbled up by Georgia's Student Scholarship Organizations to funnel tax dollars to private schools or the misuse of funds by charters to do things like pay for foreigners to teach in the U.S. is outrageous, just wait until it's a voucher state. Private schools and charter schools managed by for-profit companies choose which students they take, but traditional public schools have to take them all. Private and for-profit charter schools don't want students who will make a negative impact on profits. Vouchers allow government funding of religious education, which is why the courts are quick to strike them down. True conservatives abandoned the idea of vouchers a decade ago, but Chip Rogers must have been at the tables when that memo came out.
Talking Points
|
July 16, 2012
Did you go all the way to the National Education Association's website to just cut and paste this one-sided, uneducated assertion?
Joe Waldrop
|
July 16, 2012
First off, Chip Rogers does not support public schools. His children attend private schools, and if he had his way, then public schools would disappear. He fails to understand that public schools are the foundation of the American democracy. Next, if Rogers and his friends would fully fund public schools like the law states, then we would not be having this discussion. He has cut public schools in every situation. Do not vote for him!
Amazed....
|
July 14, 2012
Senator Rogers has a long history of animosity towards public education. Ask him how many times he met with the Cherokee County School district last year. Up here in Cherokee he is trying to dismantle the award winning public schools many of us specifically moved here for. Our classes are over-crowded, housing values are falling, business are moving away, he walked out on millions in a bad bank loan deal and yet there are still people like you who defend him.
Free Home
|
July 13, 2012
Kind of crazy to say that a guy who leads a successful Chamber of Commerce, who has helped create thousands of good paying, real jobs is anything but a capitalist.
Small Business
|
July 13, 2012
Those who don't support school choice think it's ok for only a segment of our population to have access to a quality education. Our country can't survive unless everyone is educated - why should it matter if it's public or private?
Jimmy James
|
July 14, 2012
The issue isn't private, charter, or public education. The issue is public tax dollars going to for profit charter schools or private schools. I don't want my tax dollars going to support a for profit company that is only in the game to make a profit AND can exclude any students with "special" needs. County supported and run charter schools keeps our public tax dollars out for profit hands.
pat_henry
|
July 13, 2012
The part of this debate that I never hear discussed is the practical side of school vouchers and school choice. Just because parents have the right to place their children in a different school doesn't mean that they actually can.

Who is responsible for transporting their little darlings to their new dream school? Is there any geographic cut-off? What if it is 50 miles away and in another county? What about kids who just want to play football or basketball at a particular school?

It all sounds so nice and wonderful until you think through the logistics, and my personal favorite, the unintended consequences.
GoodScout
|
July 13, 2012
Cant wait for the first time a Muslim school applies to use this great state voucher system to have pay payers pay for "their" parochial school system. The hypocritical howls from Rogers and the like will be histrionic!
Three Jack
|
July 13, 2012
Mike Chapman said, "there’s no concrete evidence that suggests providing vouchers would increase student performance."

Not sure if that is true, but there is no doubt that 'concrete evidence' proves the abject failure of government schools. Chapman is a Dr. P pawn who should either run against Senator Rogers or "move to another county" as he suggested charter school parents do.

Chip is absolutely right on this matter and deserves credit for saying it when most politicians are afraid to do so.

BryanPeppard
|
July 16, 2012
If you support Chip, you're lowering his score by taking shots at Chapman. And if you knew Mike Chapman, you'd never call him anyone's pawn. Chapman is a very smart guy, a businessman and supports our community not just by actually creating jobs and by serving on the school board but as a board member and/or chair for United Way, Rotary, YMCA, Appalachian Tech, Cherokee Learning Center, Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, Canton Development Authority, ARC, GEC, Canton First UMC, etc. And where's the "concrete evidence" of the "abject failure" of our public schools? It's not in Cherokee.
Educate the public
|
July 13, 2012
I don't see how allowing parents the ability to choose the school that best fits their student is so terrible. Vouchers exist in several states all over the country and I've never heard of an instance where it harmed a traditional public school.
B. Free
|
July 13, 2012
Socialists opposed to school choice say that private school vouchers, and any other measure guaranteeing ultimate parental control over education, undermines public education because it takes money away from the system. That argument is illogical and flawed.

A fixed amount of tax dollars are allotted on a per/student basis in the public education scheme. If each student, along with their allotted tax dollars, is allowed to move to the educational system of their choosing, the public school system is neither better off nor worse off than their original position. Logically, their position is revenue neutral. While they have lost the specific, allotted amount of funds for that student, that student is no longer part of the system -- it's a wash. This should be obvious to an educated person.
PropertyTaxPayer
|
July 13, 2012
If we went to a vouchers program, 99% of currently-employed teachers and admins would merely become workers in the private sector rather than gov't employees.

As most of us in the private sector know, once you work for profit, you become accountable for your actions and must compete with other companies. It's part of capitalism.

Ah, now I see why Beach is against it.
Jimmy James
|
July 14, 2012
The only flaw that I see is that my tax dollars are going to a for profit company or a religious institution. I think county run charter schools are the answer. I don't want my tax dollars going to any institution that can impose their beliefs/bigotry on others.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides