Vouchers Free Students from Lousy Schools

December 31, 2013

Vouchers and other school choice options have had many positive effects on the educational system.  Competition between schools for students and teachers improves the entire system.  Market competition forces schools to constantly work to improve.  Government funding ensures all students have access to primary education.  Parents can send their children to any school.  Education vouchers would be at-worst budget neutral, and at-best a substantial money saver.  Vouchers can also be used to pay for other educational expenses such as tutoring, online classes, or textbooks, say Jared Meyer and Hannah Lange of the Manhattan Institute.

The following voucher programs all have across-the-board positive evaluations.

  • Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (1990).
  • New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program (1997).
  • D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (2004).

One complaint about vouchers is that competition would lead to some schools closing and some teachers losing their jobs. Others are wary of vouchers because they worry that voucher money could go to any school, even those of poor quality, and leave the public school system.

  • Qualified teachers would still have jobs and compete on value, which could attract more people to the occupation.
  • Low-quality schools would close from a lack of funds.
  • While the public school system may deteriorate, its replacement would be far superior.

If Americans are free to choose where they live, where they work, what they can buy and what services to use, then they should also have the freedom to choose where their kids can go to school.  Public education is determined by attendance area.  The U.S. public education system should instead provide parents more choices about where to educate their children.

Source: Jared Meyer and Hannah Lange, "Vouchers Free Students from Lousy Schools," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, December 19, 2013.

 

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