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Blog Directory Del's Perspective: Vouchers Aren't The Answer

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vouchers Aren't The Answer

The magic bullet has been placed in the chamber in hopes that all of the ills of public education will disappear. Like other supposed cures, it sounds good in the sound bites, but it just won't cut it when the smoke clears.

School vouchers work something like this: Student X doesn't like h/her current high school and wants to be with h/her friends at Scared Heart Secondary School. Student X applies for chit (voucher: equal to the amount the public school spends on h/her for an academic school year) with a value of $3000 to $5000 depending on the state.

The hue and cry promoting the vouchers is that the private school has:
1) smaller class sizes;
2) high quality instruction;
3) a safer environment; and,
4) higher tests scores.

There is no longstanding evidence that could suggest that any of the above are factual save for #1.
But, let's get to the points that aren't shared with the public.
1) Private schools are not required to admit anyone, so racial groups might have issues upon enrollment;
2) Students with disabilities are likely to find the admission doors closed; and
3) Private schools are not required to meet any state standards on tests, teacher quality, special education, etc.

An example of unfairness in the voucher program is if student X takes his chit to Sacred Heart and discovers that that school does not have a speech therapist (physical therapy) on staff, state law will require his previous high school to provide for that service even though the expenditure money for student X is now in the coffers of the private school.

Of course the above list is short, and yes there are many more issues that should be brought front and center to the marketplace of ideas for a fair hearing in the public square.

So, the next time you hear the cheer for vouchers, take the role of a wise and informed citizen and look at all the facts.

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