Friday, February 6, 2009

Where should the money go?

Here's an example of the kind of reasoning I'm so opposed to when it comes to the issue of school vouchers.
A bill to create school vouchers has been introduced in the Georgia Senate. A local news station in Chatham County reports that their school superintendent is vehemently opposed to the bill.

Among his reasons, which are all pretty weak, is that "taxpayer dollars shouldn’t fund private or parochial schools."

Of course not! Here is where people fudge the issue. When it comes to education, taxpayer dollars should fund children, not particular schools.

Parents ought to be empowered to choose where their children learn best. This would create maximum flexibility in the education system, whereas the current system has little to no flexibility for students who can't pay for it.

Here's an interesting quote from said superintendent:

“It’s not fair to say that my teachers are held accountable for children who have some challenges in their lives. Give me the same playing field as private and parochial schools and I’ll give you the same results if not better.”

If you want a level playing field, wouldn't it be best to allow students who don't have a lot of money to still have the option of choosing a different school? As it is, the whole reason public schools are left with certain children with "challenges in their lives" is that such children aren't rich enough to choose something else.

School administrators need to understand that the current system hurts them, too. Because there are so few options, children are not placed in the optimal setting, and that leaves public schools with a large and diverse collection children whom they are in no position to serve. Then when public schools aren't as good as other schools, administrators get blamed. It's not fair for anyone.

If we're going to spend as much money as we do on education, we deserve to expect results. We can get those result better if we free up the system to allow a more efficient allocation of resources.

Hence, we need school vouchers. Or at least something to give real choices to students.

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