Progress for voucher students

Florida’s first voucher students are making progress, even though many were below grade level when the program started in 1999.

Most of Florida’s first voucher pupils have progressed more than one grade level on a standardized test for each of the four years they have been in the program, Roman Catholic school officials say.

Only two of 34 voucher pupils at Catholic schools have failed to meet that goal on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Sister Mary Caplice, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, credits a focus on basics and a tradition of discipline, structure and communication and collaboration with parents.

Students at two failing public schools in Pensacola were offered vouchers in 1999. Almost all chose Catholic schools.

Cassandra Galloway obtained a voucher for her son, Jonathan, in 1999 because he couldn’t read although he had Bs and Cs on his report card. He is now 14 and in the eighth grade at Sacred Heart School.

“He was on a kindergarten level,” Galloway said. “He’s still not on grade level in reading and spelling, but he gets better every day.”

A judge ruled against spending public money on religious school tuition, but the decision is under appeal.

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  1. I’m not Catholic, but if I thought my kid’s school was interferering in their ecucation, I wouldn’t be against sending them to a Catholic school. So they learn about someone else’s religion. That isn’t a bad trade off.

  2. Why is it so difficult for public schools to mimic the educational atmosphere/behaviors that succeed(s) so well in private schools?

  3. Wacky Hermit says:

    There’s a joke that I think says it all…

    A boy was not doing well in public school, particularly in math, so his parents decided to put him in a Catholic school even though he wasn’t Catholic. While he had been in the public school, he had come home without much homework, and had played video games after school. But when he came home from his first day at Catholic school, he marched straight upstairs to his bedroom and sat at his desk doing homework for hours, until dinner time. After dinner he went straight back up to his room and studied until bedtime. This pattern repeated itself day after day.

    Finally the first report card came in, and the boy was getting straight A’s, except for an A+ in math. His parents were understandably proud! They asked him what it was about the Catholic school that had caused this change in his attitude. “Was it the nuns?” they asked. “No,” replied the son.

    “Was it the strict discipline rules?”
    “Was it the curriculum?”
    “Well, what was it that motivated you, son?”

    The son replied, “The first day I walked in there and saw the guy they’d nailed to the plus sign, I knew they meant business.”

    (Rim shot)

    IMO, it’s all about knowing the school means business. It makes all the difference.

  4. Why is it so difficult for public schools to mimic the educational atmosphere/behaviors that succeed(s) so well in private schools?

    Because they didn’t think of it first? Seriously, the “not invented here” syndrome permeates many organizations; it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true here.

  5. Why is it so difficult for public schools to mimic the educational atmosphere/behaviors that succeed(s) so well in private schools?

    Here’s a few for starters: Parents who in the past have sent their children to parochrial schools for the most part were concerned about and valued their education and could afford it. If a student was told they had to wear a uniform, they did … as opposed to public school where a t-shirt with ‘anything goes’ on it was supported by the parent who would call the local ACLU to defend their little darling’s right to wear the filth. If you were thrown out of a parochrial school it was basically a done deal … in public school its hearings, lawyers etc.; bottom line, if a student told you, a teacher, to F… off there was a 50-50 chance he/she would be back in your class the next day (100% chance for the day after). If you want accountability and discilpline in public schools then they need to be able to do their job. I wouldn’t go to a surgeon whose hands were tied; but we have tied the hands of the public schools !!!