The School Voucher program was designed to give families a choice about where their children could go to school. The program offered a fixed dollar amount each year to put toward a child’s tuition. Their choices ranged from private or parochial schools, these are schools that many of these children may not experience otherwise. Charter schools were also options because they are run much like private schools. The thought behind voucher programs is that a sense of competition would be created. The hope is that a higher educational output and an improved level of education would be provided. Proponents of the program believe that children from poor public school districts should have the ...view middle of the document...
Although, the system would help some students they would not help them all, vouchers are offered in limited numbers. As each state works through this political quagmire, the debate continues.
School vouchers are not the savior to public education that they set out to be, as long as the vouchers are not offered to everyone equally. Funding to public education continues to be under siege so allocating funding toward a voucher program that everyone can not access may not be the best use of these dollars. The assumption that a sense of competition may develop among schools for the best and the brightest may be true but what about schools that can not compete. What happens to the children that will be left behind? Is the federal government prepared to improve public schools that are suffering from lack of funds? “School voucher programs undermine two great American traditions: universal public education and the separation of church and state” (Anti-Defamation League, 2005).
While researching the voucher system this writer found that there are several factors to take into consideration such as: is the use of funds for the voucher program the best use of educational funds, what happens to the kids left behind in the public schools who do not get a voucher or can not afford to take advantage of the option, what happens to schools that can’t compete for the best and brightest voucher students, is the federal government obligated to improve public schools when they continue to lose students to special schools and will the voucher program undermine public education. This writer will focus on addressing these factors throughout this report.
Is allocating funds for a voucher program the best use of education funds
The voucher program serves as an opportunity for parents to choose where their children go to school with federal funding. In some states participants are chosen through a lottery system in other states children are chosen from underperforming schools. These vouchers or scholarships as some states refer to them are valued from $2500 - $6500 depending on the state you reside in. They can be used for tuition at a private or parochial school. In some cases these scholarships did not fully cover the cost of the school due to the rising cost of tuition. When the scholarship does not cover the full cost of tuition the parents are responsible for the remainder of the balance(Riley, 2011). In many cases the additional cost can be a financial hardship to low income families and no longer offer anything of value, when they can not afford the option.
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) that was started in 1990 was the “first voucher program to provide urban parents with public funding [that was] sufficient [enough] to cover the [cost of] tuition” (Loeb, Valant & Kasman, 2011). The other concern from detractors of the voucher program is that these vouchers took money away from the public schools. Most of the of the revenue...