While tax-funded vouchers, education/scholarship tax credits, and charter schools introduce sorely-needed competition into schooling, they have at least four serious flaws which suggest they are more of a curse than a blessing.
(The following critique speaks to vouchers, but when all the camouflage is removed, the drawbacks of vouchers are also inherent in universal tax credits, refundable tax credits, scholarship tax credits, and charter schools.)
1. Vouchers spread the dependency attitude to independent families currently paying for their children's education.
2. Vouchers obscure the difference between parents who are willing to sacrifice to send their children to a private school and those who are unwilling to sacrifice. This means private schools will lower their standards of who gets in.
3. By creating a flow of money from the state to private schools, vouchers pave a wide road for additional regulations and controls. "When you reach for the money is when they slip on the handcuffs."
4. Other than expensive prep schools, private and religious schools that refuse to accept the voucher will lose a significant number of their students to voucher-redeeming schools. Many will face the choice of accepting the voucher — and its controls — or going out of business.
We propose interim steps that don't bring families into dependency, nor have the high risk of converting private schools into public school look-alikes.
Here are some ideas that actually roll back government involvement rather than increase it:
· Increase private voucher programs
· Repeal compulsory attendance laws
· Repeal government mandated graduation standards and testing
· Repeal government involvement in tenure
· Repeal government teacher credentialing
There are also links to two beautiful stories that illustrate the risk of vouchers, one about hogs in Georgia and the other about Davy Crockett.
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