[quote="manualman, post:10, topic:283504"]
The voucher wars have been fought here many times with good points made on all sides.
My summary of the best ideas on the matter is that vouchers should only be offered in a small amount, probably half or less of what is actually spent on a normal kid's education. If private school vouchers in the amount of $1,500 per kid, there would be ZERO downside compared to the status quo. The public schools would end up with MORE money per student to spend and more families would have options in where to send their kids.
What voucher opponents fail to address is the consequences of doing nothing. Fewer and fewer people can afford private schools every year. As the number of public school students increases, but the TAX base for them doesn't, what results? Tax increases. So remember that: anyone opposed to any level of vouchers for private schooling is secretly attempting to raise your taxes in the long run. :)
P.S. Many have challenged my math skills in asserting that a partial voucher would INCREASE the per student funding of public schools. Here's the sample math:
School district has 10,000 kids and spends $13,000 each per year for $130million budget. Same district currently has 700 private school students and those schools could squeeze another 500 kids in if there was that much interest.
New public district budget = (9,500*$13,000) + (1,200 * $1,500) = $125.3 million. Since they already tax at a rate of $130million, they can take the extra $4.7million and now spend $13,495 per student. Sounds like enough to restore music class to the budget to me, maybe art too? Win - win.
But no, the teacher's union lobby wins and no vouchers go through. One private school is forced to close and 200 kids move to the public school. The District now has 10,200 kids to educate, so they need to raise your taxes by $2.6million. Enjoy.
I like the idea of vouchers in that it promotes competition among the schools to pay the best teachers well, and to train their less able teachers.
One worry I have, though, is that some schools would forego the more difficult job of finding or training good teachers to improve basic skills, and simply start offering sports programs to attract the kids.
Together with vouchers, there needs to be universal testing (whether administered by the government, or some other impartial body - perhaps the insurance companies - to ensure that every child is reaching their appropriate grade level in reading, writing, mathematics, history, civics, and the arts and sciences. Individual scores would not be made public, but each school's overall scores would be made public in the newspapers, with detailed reports, but again without naming names - for example, they would say, 35 out of 40 children in third grade achieved less than 50% of correct answers on the grade 3 math exam at such and such school, etc.