So let's go down the list. Even adjusted for inflation, are buses as cheap to purchase and maintain as they were 40 years ago? No. What about building construction and maintenance? No. How about utilities and security staff and nurses and aides and instructional supplies (including computers we didn't have 40 years ago)? No.
Go down the list: the costs of all these have greatly increased. That is, for the ones that existed forty years ago. The increased costs the conservatives rail about do not take into account that in the past forty years most schools have found that they need computers, and people to maintain the computers and the networks. Forty years ago, security staff were almost nonexistent, and there was usually only one school nurse as opposed to the several aides and nurses needed to take care of the severely disabled students that now attend regular school instead of being hidden at home. The reader can look at the list and imagine all the changes that have happened over the past four decades, and the increased costs they entailed. These are not some kind of strawmen in the argument, these are hard-and-fast reality.
But what about the argument that private schools are run so much more cheaply than public schools, yet often achieve better results? That, too, is a false argument. Why? Because there is no private school that does everything that every public school is required to do. Let's look at what private schools don't do:
- No private school has a legal mandate to provide transportation to and from school for every student within its district, and busing is not cheap!
- Very few private schools provide nurses and aides dedicated to the severely disabled children that any public school is required to educate. In fact, most private schools would turn away such students, saying that they didn't have the resources to help them.
- Private schools, unlike public schools, can turn away children who don't speak English. I'm sure that there are many who accept them anyway, but they don't have to.
- Private schools (particularly religious private schools) usually don't have to deal with anything like the range of religions and cultures that every public school is required to accept with open arms. Anyone who doesn't think this is an issue should look at the graduating class of 2011 of the all-white private school that I attended in 1975. Guess what? It's still all-white, despite the fact that it's situated in a county that's seventy-one percent black! This academy is but one of a dozen or so such totally-white (or nearly so) schools around Mississippi, and if the conservatives got their way with the voucher system, your tax dollars would go to help fund these schools which were founded by the racist Conservative Citizens Council as a reaction to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.