If you haven’t been following the series, you can check out the links below. This is the final installment in which I answer critics’ concerns over tax funded school choice proposals. School choice options include options like vouchers and charter schools. If you’re just joining us, my position in a nutshell is that I am not anti-public education, but I feel that school choice options would improve the over all educational system. Let’s take a look at a few more issues regarding school choice.
Public schools have a minimal standard of accountability while private schools are without regulation. Sending tax dollars to schools that are without regulation is a poor use of the public’s money.
My question is what about public schools that are without accountability? Public schools do not always meet their minimum standards and when they don’t, they still continue to receive tax funds. In addition, most private schools participate in standardized testing and/or are independently accredited. As far as financial accountability, private schools, just like any other business, must adhere to tax reporting, accounting, and other laws.
Vouchers don’t cover the cost of private schools. Poor families will be left behind thus widening the socio economic gap.
While it is true that vouchers don’t cover the entire cost of tuition, plenty of families are finding private schools to be affordable through scholarships. In Washington D.C. for example, all private schools that accept scholarships for students cover any remaining costs so that any student can attend. In 2002, approximately 97,000 children used publicly and privately funded vouchers to attend private schools in the 5 states where there are publicly funded voucher programs.
There are not enough seats in private schools.
This argument assumes that the number of seats available in private schools are fixed–but this is simply not the case. As with public schools, private schools will meet the demand to accommodate more students. That’s simply how the business of education works.
Vouchers do not help inner city kids. There are better programs that could be funded right in their own schools.
This argument, to be honest, simply frustrates me and I suspect it is made by people who have “theories” about inner city education rather than having lived it. The problems in inner city schools are like a gaping wound and while I admit that school voucher programs are only a part of the band-aid; they are still one part of the solution and should not be ignored just because they cannot solve the whole problem.
The reality is that school vouchers give students who already have significant academic disadvantages–a fair playing field. Numerous studies, done in several cities across the United States, show that inner city students who are educated in private schools do better and improve significantly in reading and math scores.
What officials need to realize is that it is not a lack of resources the causes school failure. In conclusion, I pose my original question: If monopolies are bad for business, why are they good for education? The sooner the monopoly of public education finds competition, the sooner we will see a markedly improved educational system. From my point of view, school choice would actually be good for public education.
School Choice Articles:
My Inner City Story: