On July 18, 2006, National Education Director Margaret Spellings along with congressional leaders proposed to spend $100 million for 28,000 students that attend low performing schools. The funds would help support a school voucher system. School vouchers help parents pay for the education of their children at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they were assigned an under this program are performing below adequate standards.
This proposed program would be open to students who are currently attending failing public schools. These schools are ones that have been unable to raise their failing test scores for at least five years according to the No Child Left Behind standards.
Voucher programs are not new. A pilot program has been in effect in Washington DC for several years with mixed results. I think that it is probably too politically volatile in that particular section of the country to get an accurate, fairly obtained results about the program. In addition, objectors of this move are utilizing last weeks faulty report about public schools doing as well or better than private schools as proof that vouchers won’t work either. One article that I read stated that President Bush tried to bury the report because it would hinder the voucher program and Bush wants others to continue to believe that private schools are better than public schools. Interestingly, the Education Department commissioned the report and a branch of the Education Department conducted the study. So why would Bush or any other government official cover up the good news that the Bush Administration’s public schools, under his NCLB program, are doing better than private and charter schools? The answer is that the report is faulty and the findings are skewed. For more on that read my Blog titled “Public Schools vs. Private Schools Courtesy of the Department of Education.”
The voucher system, could bring a higher level of competition, and give parents more choice in their child’s education. Both of those things are good for business and will probably be good for education. If it is good for our education system and will help children to access the resources they need for an excellent education, then we should do it.