The education status quo in this country is for each child, based on where he or she lives, to attend the designated public school. Some charter schools exist, but those schools handle only a fraction of the total school-aged population. An obvious alternative is private school, but few have the financial means to afford private schools. So at the end of the day, most children attend the public school that is geographically the closest to where they live. If the child happens to live in a wealthy suburb, the status quo might not be so bad. However, if a child happens to live in a poor, urban neighborhood the education these institutions provide is terrible.
A voucher system takes the money that would otherwise go to a child’s designated school as determined by georgraphy and gives it to the child, via the parents, to go to the school of choice. Public schools hate this idea because they know, when given a choice; public schools would empty very quickly. Assuming parents are interested in the best education for their children, a voucher simply makes school choice a reality.
Politically, to provide the dream of school choice to children a terrible fight will need to take place amongst the adults. On one side will be the defenders of the status quo. It will include teachers unions and their enablers, the Democratic Party. On the other side will be free-market types and their enablers.
The defenders of the status quo will say that public dollars should not fund private religious institutions as many students, armed with a voucher, will attend religious schools. This argument fails the hypocrisy test as the Government spends a lot of money on things that may end up in the hand of a religious institutions. After all, we allow Medicare patients to be treated at catholic hospitals, don’t we?
The other argument defenders of the status quote will bring up is the fairness argument. Because private schools are free to have a rigorous admission policy, many students will not get in. The result will be private schools full of the best students and other schools full of poor students. That is the way the system works now, so the vouchers would only enhance the amount of students that get access to a superior education. Besides, the public school system has exam schools, is that fair? The simple math suggests that armed with vouchers students would be able to receive a superior education from a private institution. Without a voucher, there is no choice, just the inferior public education.
As you can see, the arguments against vouchers are weak. Adults; please put children above politics and put public schools out of business.