Voucher Movement Could Bring More Money to Public Schools
July 2, 2002
Some of those involved in the debate over school vouchers think they have come up with a proposal that liberals could support and which would bring more money to poor schools.
Here is what they suggest:
- In three or four large cities with failing public schools raise per pupil spending by 20 percent to 30 percent through the use of higher-priced vouchers.
- Pay for the increase by having the federal government ante up $1 billion or so a year, for a trial period of 10 to 15 years.
- Require that any school that wants to accept vouchers reserve a certain proportion of seats for which the voucher would serve as full tuition -- so schools could not simply jack up prices and ignore poor children.
As for the teachers' union complaint that vouchers drain money from the public system, this plan doesn't, advocates say. As to the question of where the new schools will come from, the proper response is, "if you think new schools won't be started by market demand, children will take their 30 percent increase back to the schools they're in now."
And as for the argument that vouchers will divide Americans by class or race, today's public schools, in which only poor urban kids have no options, feature these demoralizing divides already.
Source: Matthew Miller (Occidental College), "The Liberal Voucher Opportunity," Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2002.
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