SC

School Choice: A Tongue-In-Cheek Reality Check

By Nancy Yates || Only a liberal or “Republican in Name Only” would introduce a school choice bill favoring the poor over the rich, right? After all when did it become the role of government to offer tax breaks to the poor and the middle class? Why is it our job…

school choice

By Nancy Yates || Only a liberal or “Republican in Name Only” would introduce a school choice bill favoring the poor over the rich, right? After all when did it become the role of government to offer tax breaks to the poor and the middle class? Why is it our job to educate those too dumb to even appreciate knowledge?

Our low-performing schools are minimally adequate, which means the poor and middle class are getting exactly what they deserve: a subpar education (for subpar human beings).

Liberal arts which serve no purpose in education will now become more appealing and affordable to the poor, who are typically liberal parasites feeding off the rich. In fact choice is nothing more than an opportunity to spread the message of liberalism across the state, utilizing tax credits and deductions that have zero monetary benefit for the one percenters – while creating a breeding ground for more liberal-minded schools.

As for the middle class, who knows where that could lead, more Montessori schools?

Now, do I anticipate lawmakers will cut the amount of education taxes we currently pay for our poorly rated public education system?

Absolutely not!  Call me cynical, but I fully expect lawmakers will use that money to provide higher salaries for teachers. Their goal? To build an impressive supply and instruction material arsenal, one large enough to sustain the next Armageddon waged upon the public school system.

Enough with the teachers whining about having to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket!

If you are as outraged as I am about unfair tax breaks for the poor and middle class, you’re in luck! School choice will never pass. And here’s why …

The poor and the middle class who would benefit from school choice are too lazy to actually read S.279. Lacking in reading comprehension and prone to reader’s deficit disorder, it is highly unlikely they will get deep enough into the bill to discover its value to them.  For example, Section 2, G (1) might reveal the authorization of tax credits for contributions made on behalf of students that are eligible for federal free or reduced lunch program, families who qualify for federal Medicaid benefits, and the ‘exceptional needs’ students.

Not only are those constituencies too stupid to realize the benefits they’re giving up, but also too lazy to contact their Senators and say “please support the passage of S.279.”

The inequity of it all! Let us continue to feed scraps of knowledge to the underprivileged in pursuit of graduation rates that rank forty-eighth nationwide. Indeed let us keep them dumb as dirt so that they will be oblivious to the corruption going on around them (here and here).  After all it could lead to widespread chaos in the event the parents of these children begin to grasp that their sons and daughters are being robbed of an education that only the rich can afford, limiting their opportunities to compete for decent wages.

Oh well – a poor man’s ignorance is a vulture’s bliss.

Nancy Yates is a conservative activist. Reach her on Twitter @NancyYates66.

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30 comments

Jan February 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Well Ms. Yates it is hardly tongue-in-cheek, when you believe all you say, about poor and middle class public school children and their parents being dumb and stupid.

However, maybe they are not so stupid as to pour millions of dollars of their hard earned money into South Carolina’s worst in the nation private schools in exchange the possibility some company will hand out scholarship to someone, somewhere so long as they are being paid back for their scholarships by the state with taxpayer dollars.

For a minute can we just think about the about the stupidity of letting corporations make and take credit for contributions to scholarship funds of their choice if the taxpayers are going to pay them back with tax dollars. Not only is that stupid,it is even more stupid to let corporations decide which schools and school children need taxpayer help and send us the bill.

Anyone with common sense knows the provision you are touting are window dressing, to hide the true intention of this bill which is to give taxpayer money to parents of children who are attending public schools. If you think the scholarship program so great, why do we need the tax deduction for private school. Lets just set up the scholarship program. It will save the taxpayers a ton of money and achieve the goal you believe to be so worthy.

This bill will do nothing to improve public education in South Carolina. This bill does not favor the poor over the rich or even provide a material benefit to the poor. This bill was not designed to benefit people with children in public school in any way. It is designed to get taxpayer dollars into the hands of people with children in private school at the expense of everyone else. It accomplishes nothing more, and is not intended to.

Here is an idea for you Nancy. If you are having a difficult time paying for possibly substandard private school education your kids are receiving with your own money, get a job. Or get a second job. Or drop out of the country club. But don’t ask for a taxpayer hand out. We don’t need anymore welfare queens.

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Jan February 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

corrections

“Anyone with common sense knows the provision you are touting are window dressing, to hide the true intention of this bill which is to give taxpayer money to parents of children who are attending private schools.”

“If you are having a difficult time paying for the possibly substandard private school education your kids are receiving with your own money, get a job.”

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

@Jan, as a matter of fact one of the best rated private schools in the US is right here in SC. Being paid back for their scholarships by the state? They get a “deduction” which best case scenario is a VERY small percentage and I could certainly find more lucrative ways to invest with a better ROI if money were my primary concern.

As for the provisions I am touting – what ARE the true intentions of the bill? Please quote it from the bill. Do you really believe that there will be LOWER education taxes? That would be unprecedented, once they get the money when do they ever give it back? I strongly believe it will help public education.

Why do we need tax deduction for private schools? I would like to see more of the Liberal Arts Schools AND Montessori, I believe this is an opportunity to improve education on all fronts.

As for your comment asking for a taxpayer handout – know your audience. My daughter goes to a private school, my son goes to college, both of which I pay out of pocket with NO tax deduction – the state offers none and I do not qualify at the Federal level due to income threshold. The credits in this bill are set up on a first come first serve basis and I assure you I will qualify for none.

I do have an interest in contributing to Montessori schools and/or other non-religious schools. There is a Magnet school within driving distance of my primary residence called Stone Academy of Communication Arts, but since I don’t live in that district, my chances of getting that type of education for my child is comparable to winning the lottery.

As for the welfare queens, my family pays enough in STATE taxes to support a multitude.

I can only assume you do not understand the bill and possibly suffer from reader’s attention deficit disorder, or maybe your are just too paranoid to recognize that it would help the poor and those with exceptional needs, to lift them up out of poverty vs. dumbing them down – it’s a win win.

Thanks for taking the time to read the article and provide feedback!

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Jan February 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

I do know my audience. I pay a lot of taxes too, and my audience is the vast majority of SC taxpayers who will not see one iota of benefit from this bill. You say you will not benefit, but this is just an attempt to get a foot in the door. There is no doubt that if this passes, the same folks will be back pushing for credits, vouchers and tax deductions for everyone who has a child in private school.

A SC tax deduction will do nothing to expand enrollment in private school among poor people as they do not pay any income tax. Nor will it provide any significant benefit to middle income people. The SC tax rate is only 7%. So if the tuition is $7000 a year, a tax deduction will only save a middle income taxpayer $490. Hardly enough help them pay for private school.

Consequently, we have to look at the real goal of the people involved in this effort. That goal is to get a tax deduction for all parents of private school children and ultimately to ask for tax credits and vouchers. The ultimate goal being to eliminate public education or reduce it to a system only used by the poor.

As for one of the best rated private schools in the nation being here, the operative word is ONE. Most of our private schools are small religious or white flight schools. Further if you are going to single out schools, there are plenty of public schools in this state where the children perform well above average on national tests.

By the way, how many of the poor kids has one of the best private schools in the nation committed to take if this bill passes?

I fully understand the bill, and I don’t buy your altruism. If you were truly concerned for improving the education of the poor in failing public schools, you would target bills to helping those people. That I could possibly support. But I am unwilling to voluntarily let the state spend my tax dollars helping private school parents pay for PRIVATE school.

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Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 11:33 am

@ Jan you are correct that a tax deduction would amount to not more than $490, a deduction shaves money off your taxable income, so the value depends on your tax bracket, but SC caps at 7%. HOWEVER, there are also tax “credits” in the bill. A tax credit lowers your tax bill dollar for dollar.

Yes, as a matter of fact I do favor voucher programs, however, I also know that at this point it would break the budget and kill the bill. You appear to be looking out for “the system” and my guess is you in someway contribute to the problem of under performing schools. Did your name make that list of the most grossly overpaid School Administrators? Do you work for the school board? Have family that does? Do you even have children in school?

BTW – a tax “deduction” does not take one precious penny out of your pocket.

I am anything but altruistic! I am passionate about education, because I want better educational opportunities for my child, for my future grandchildren, and yes for ALL children. I believe education is a key element to lowering incarceration rates, particularly among the young and a cure for many other ailments we suffer in SC – such as neck deep in corruption. If the majority of the people were educated enough to know the corruption that goes on in SC, they would be outraged and We The People would once again be heard.

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hhuuhh?? February 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Don’t think she does “tougue in cheek” very well.

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

You took the time to read it didn’t you? :)

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Tom February 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Nancy, if you believe what you are saying you are lacking in reading comprehension and prone to reader’s deficit disorder; but most likely you are a smart person, who believes everyone else cannot or will not read the bill or be capable of understanding the bill.

Actually you probably believe it is highly unlikely most taxpayers will get deep enough into the bill to discover its value to them is illusory or nonexistent, and that in fact the Taxpayers will be paying for the same thing they are paying for now, plus giving money to support the parents of private school children; plus giving money to scholarships funds chosen by some corporate president who will take credit for the contribution.

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm

@ Tom, are you familiar with dramatic irony/sattire/hyperbole to get a point across? I do believe that is highly unlikely that most constituents will dig deep enough into the bill to discover it’s value – that is why I highlighted it.

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Tom February 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

Actually there is very little value to this bill, if any to people who have children in public school. These scholarship donations are not gong to materialize in any significant amount, unless the contributor is getting a “credit” not a “deduction”. Consequently this bill will primarily and in fact almost exclusively benefit people who already have their children in private school or who would not send their kids to public school no matter how good they are.

Secondly I see you responded to Jan, that your family pays enough in taxes to support a multitude. I pay a lot in taxes as welll. However, you do not pay any more as a percentage of your income than the rest of us, but you want a portion of yours back. That means those of us who have already educated our children and those of who have children in public school will pay a higer percentage of our income in taxes than you do. That is a taxpayer hand out.

As for dramatic irony and hyperbole, if that was your attempt, you failed. It is clear you believe most of what you said.

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Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

@Tom, anyone who can afford scholarship donations are likely itemizing, so a deduction is sufficient. It is my expectation that the wealthy would be more inclined and capable of contributing. The Bill caps at I believe 15 MIL, and I feel the credits are better used to offset the costs for the lower income. The bill also has an allowance “for those who qualify” to take their children to another public school district vs. children being trapped in a low performing district.

Secondly, I do not want ANYTHING back for the costs spent on my children’s education, nor do I feel I will qualify. It is first come first serve basis, it is everything I can do to get my taxes filed by the deadline and sometimes with extension. I do find the idea of out of district opportunities appealing. I think it goes without saying that I am passionate about education, not just for my children but for ALL children. They are the future.

Lastly, if that is what you believe, I hope are angry enough that you will step up and try to help the poor who are at a disadvantage. Not only a disadvantage due to lack of educational opportunities, but they will also lack opportunity to get decent paying jobs and as a result it is more likely they will remain at the poverty level.

If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I find there are two groups of people who typically oppose School Choice – Lobbyist and those who have NO children in the school system, that believe it is the same as it was some 40 years ago when they attended school. Which category do you fall into?

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Uncle Willie February 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm

“Our low-performing schools are minimally adequate, which means the poor and middle class are getting exactly what they deserve: a subpar education (for subpar human beings).” The education equivalent of “let them eat cake’, with likely the same result if this thinking persists.

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Interesting should say that, a tagline that today I was considering for a future article :)

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Old Bike Dude February 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I may have just the thing to improve her tongue in cheek.

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

@ Old Bike Dude – I strongly doubt it :)

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BigT February 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Ms Yates is just another tired Leftwing cliche…Nowhere is the left more hard to suffer than when they wax stupidly about education…

Yates has gotten more, more and more…year after year after year..and people like her just keep torturing logic, running their mouths, as if their insatiable GREED being addressed will make them STFU.

Truth is: where parents care, and help their children, the students in South Carolina can out-perform many in other “more-enlightened” (liberal) states…

Yet the IGNORANT, like Ms. Yates, drone on about mo’ money being the cure for all their stupidity…

You have had education for 3 or 4 generations, Ms. Yates..and you seem to F&*# it up just a little more each year…all the while blaming others, and begging the decent for more to waste on your endless failure…

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Nancy February 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm

@Big T, Tax Credits/Deductions that empower the parents and the children with CHOICE.

Truth is: Some parents care, but do not have the rudimentary skills or education to help their children. Some of them work and do not have the luxury of home schooling. Some of them are poor and cannot afford private schools or even the gas to drive to an out of district school.

What exactly am I getting more of?

No idea what your last comment is in reference to, maybe you are a product of SC’s great public education system? Certainly provides a logical explanation for your need to use expletives, lacking the vocabulary to express yourself effectively.

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Keith Funderburk February 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Finally, Nancy Yates hit this right on the head. Government should not stand in the way of parents wanting better for their kids. Or, a better statement, Government should not stand in the way of parents who give a damn wanting better for their kids. I think that more covers it!

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Amelia Peabody Emerson February 6, 2013 at 12:00 am

I don’t think we can fix the school “problem” until the chain of parents not caring and not encouraging is broken. The key to the successful schools and children is the high ratio of parents who are involved with their children and help push them to achieve. We are a free country and the things that would break the chain cannot be done (such as removing children from destructive parents/homes at an early age and expose them to civilized conversation – no vulgar obscene language, regular healthy meals that require a fork and knife, wonderful stories to read or listen to, DISCIPLINE and encouragement

Maybe the answer is boarding schools that are state supported, but that would be very expensive and if you house only the socially and economically disadvantaged kids in one place, there probably would be no children to serve as a good role model – and the cycle won’t be broken.

It all makes my head ache because there is NO easy clear cut answer. Ms. Yates, I don’t think your idea would really help, but I commend you for having put so much thought into the issue. Even if your idea would help, the children who need help the most have parents who won’t know about the idea and are either unable or not curious enough to improve their child’s education.

How did I become so cynical?

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Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 8:18 am

@ Amelia, It’s a baby step, but one I believe in the right direction. Put enough of those baby steps together and over time we are marching forward to better education and a brighter future for ALL children. If we do nothing, we can expect the same results or perhaps even worse.

I believe with knowledge comes a certain amount of cynicism, when we see just how big the problems really are. I have talked to a number of parents across a variety of districts and seems each school has it’s own unique problems. The larger schools, those with the highest ratings, in my experience are the least collaborative. They don’t listen to the parents, they want to tell the parents how it is. The smaller public schools, do not have the necessary funds for supplies. I would take the smaller school over the larger ones every single time, even though they do rate lower, because I “believe” (no proof) they would welcome parents that do want to get involved and help with the supply issues. I also believe it is less of a breeding ground for some of the violence and drugs you see in the larger schools. For parents to be involved, they need more rights than just attending a parent/teacher meeting where they are “informed” of their child’s progress vs. working with the parents and taking suggestions under consideration. For example, I do not feel a 20 minute lunch break is adequate, the children in the larger schools don’t even have time to eat their lunch. Even employees get at least a 30 minute lunch break and in most cases an hour. I tried to address this with one of SC’s highest rated public schools and was told the parents would complain that it would extend their school day – end of discussion. This was a bit confusing for me since I am a parent. I couldn’t even get in touch with the BOE to express my concerns.

I agree there is no “easy” clear cut answer and I thank you for your kind words. The School Choice bill can help IF we share the information and it trickles down to those that need it most.

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BigT February 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

1) Don’t convolute the message w/ sarcasm. There are not enough Conservatives clearly stating the problems in the first place to get cute. And I’m not sure many even understand it.

2) Don’t assume the people, who are failing, CARE. Even if the children could be saved, liberals want to use them….They don’t really care about making lives better.

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Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm

@ Big T Just trying to get people to actually read the bill and understand this benefits everyone. It isn’t a partisan issue, but one that should concern people from all walks of life, across the state. Leading off with logic, seldom draws enough attn – it isn’t emotional enough to spark interest.

Many swear they have read the bill. If you look at some of the comments, you will see mention that “next” they will be asking for “credits” – when credits are already in the bill. I think many do not understand how taxes work. Particularly deductions applied to scholarships, let’s say someone invests $100,000 in scholarship program, the most they can deduct from SC using highest tax bracket of 7% is $7,000, hardly a lucrative business deal that the rich are trying to get more money :)

I don’t assume everyone cares, but I do know many that are very concerned about education – I happen to be one of them and it is a topic I often discuss. It is such a hot issue with parents who do care, that some who are able, are willing to move to get better education. My “preference” is to try to get legislation passed that will improve upon education, it won’t happen overnight, but it CAN happen in the future if we start now.

For anyone who thinks that 15 MIL is going to break public education system – a close look at the budget for education might indicate what an insignificant amount this is. That the money allocated to School Choice is being utilized in the best possible manner, considering the cap.

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anonymous February 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Well Anonymous, as it turns out I have never worked for a school and no one in my family works for a school. I run my own business, and I sent one child to public school and one child to a private school in Virginia. I also spent the first 8 grades of my education in a small Christian School and the last 4 grades in a public high school.

I have read the bill. I do understand how taxes work and I do understand this will provide no material benefit to children who are not already in private school, and will in no way improve education in this state. Apparently you have not read the bill, do not understand taxes, do not understand the bill, or you are not being truthful. I am really not sure which at this point.

The bill provides for a tax credit for scholarship contributions. That means the business or person makes the contribution and the state pays the bill with taxpayer dollars. That makes no sense. The state would be better off identifying where to spend the money in the first place. So your 7% analysis is dead wrong. The state is simply allowing individuals to choose how to spend state dollars and take credit for that contribution.

A 7% tax deduction is not going to cause people to attend private school.

You keep saying there are credits, but the credits are for people contributing to the scholarships. Not people trying to get out of public school.

The entire bill is not a step in the right direction, it is a sham. The stated goals are not true. They are designed to mislead people, and you are not being accurate or truthful about this bill.

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Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

@anonymous – yes, I have read the bill several times and contacted many legislators to discuss the bill. I do understand how taxes work, but you are correct that the credits are for scholarship contributors NOT individuals. I also agree, that makes no sense. I looked at the bill too quickly this a.m. when responding, and was not intending to mislead anyone, so let me clear that up right now.

I do prefer the tax credit go directly to the children vs. the contributors of scholarship programs, however, I should also mention that the contributors to the scholarship program cannot “designate a specific child or school as the beneficiary of the contribution.”

Also, based on these scholarship contributions and qualifying credits “Grants may be awarded by the nonprofit scholarship funding organization in an amount not exceeding five thousand dollars per year or the total cost of tuition, whichever is less, for children who are eligible for the federal free or reduced school lunch program or whose families meet the requirements for federal Medicaid benefits to attend an independent school. The dollar and percentage amounts of grants permitted by this item must be increased annually beginning with 2014, in the manner provided in subsection (H).”

I continue to support the bill because it “authorize(s) a deduction from state of South Carolina Taxable income up to specified amounts for tuition paid by a parent or legal guardian for their child or ward to attend an independent school or a PUBLIC SCHOOL (emphasis mine), outside the child’s or ward’s school district of residence, and to also authorize a similar income tax deduction up to a specified amount to a parent or legal guardian for home school expenditures.”

At MINIMUM it does allow children to go to a school that is outside the child’s school district. Can we not at least agree this is a step in the right direction? In some of the larger cities these schools are within a few miles of each other.

I personally have asked for an amendment to include voucher programs, which I prefer over these scholarship programs, but I have been told it will likely kill the bill because the funds are not there.

So contact your legislators and ask them to provide the credits to the children and deductions to those who contribute to the scholarship fund if that is your desire. Ask them for voucher programs, if that is what you want. Or come up with a solution all on your own and submit that, but for goodness sakes, do something!

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BIN News Editorial Staff February 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

As we have said over and over and over:

Vouchers are a scam. You can call them education vouchers or education tax credits or anything you want.

Regardless of what you call them, they are a scam.

They are a scam because they would only leave those who need help the most even further behind.

They are a scam because they rob public tax dollars and divert them to private businesses (private schools).

They are a scam because they do nothing to address the real issues facing public education.

You know the real issues.

They include funding, poverty and the host of social issues that come with it, latent racism, a shortage of teachers in many poor school districts.

Fix the real issues facing public education in S.C.

Then our Funding Editor may consider supporting Howie the Voucher Clown’s latest version of the voucher scam.

Until then we will just add Ms. Yates to the list of voucher pimps.

Until then we will watch as Howie the Carpetbugger continues to try to show that S.C. has the best Legislature that his money can buy.

BIN News Editorial Staff
Flair and Balanced

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Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

@Bin News Editorial – it’s really a moot point, because vouchers are highly unlikely to be included. Having said that, it is apparent, based on your website, that you wish to perpetuate a failing system of public education, and provide no viable solutions to address the root cause.

We see more money poured into public education, but the return is minimal. Only a small percentage of that money even makes it way into the classroom due to top heavy administration. IF the public education built smaller schools, IF parents concerns were at least considered instead of dismissed, IF they fired the bad teachers vs. moving them to poorer school district, and IF teachers performance were open to the public or at least the parents involved vs hidden in some personnel file – then maybe there would be hope for better public education. But that isn’t going to happen, and I’ll tell you why. The teachers association is a powerful lobbying group that does not have the best interest of the children at heart. They are more interested in their benefits, their rights, their pay and so the cycle continues. Is the system there to serve the educrats or the children?

Lastly, I agree in large part (not all) that SC has the best legislature that money can buy and those education lobbyists have a heavy influence.

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Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 9:21 am

@ BIN News – I followed the link by clicking on the hyperlink in your title. It appears you have your own “non-government” agenda: http://www.adl.org/education-outreach/anti-bias-education/c/a-world-of-difference.html#.URO3xKXoSAR

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Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

It may SHOCK many of you to know that @BIN News is associated with ADL, and “ADL Owns Ratfacedjews.com” among other SCAMS, at least according to this source: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/01/22/adl-owns-www-ratfacedjews-com/

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Nancy February 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I asked Senator Grooms, the primary sponsor of the bill about the credits. I think believe his reply answers the question as to why credits go to contributors vs. following the students. Here is his response: “I fully support universal school choice and in previous years, I have sponsored bills that would have provided tax credits directly to the parents of a student. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with that effort and are now borrowing a strategy from Georgia. Pass a limited school choice bill and create real benefits for parents that no one can deny and then come back and expand it for everyone. This year’s bill is limited in its total financial impact to the state with available tax credits capped at $25 million. The examples of successful scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) with similar programs can be found in Florida and in Arizona. I hope this information is helpful.”

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Nancy February 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I asked Senator Grooms, the primary sponsor of the bill about the credits. I think believe his reply answers the question as to why credits go to contributors vs. following the students. Here is his response: “I fully support universal school choice and in previous years, I have sponsored bills that would have provided tax credits directly to the parents of a student. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with that effort and are now borrowing a strategy from Georgia. Pass a limited school choice bill and create real benefits for parents that no one can deny and then come back and expand it for everyone. This year’s bill is limited in its total financial impact to the state with available tax credits capped at $25 million. The examples of successful scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) with similar programs can be found in Florida and in Arizona. I hope this information is helpful.”

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