The Importance Of Education Vouchers

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Democracy necessitates equality. It operates under the assumption that all citizens have an equal opportunity for success. America promises that whether you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth or in the state penitentiary, you have every opportunity to be successful. While several factors blur the lines regarding equality, education plays an extremely important role. The public education system – in which no child can be denied for any reason – promotes a playing field that despite its small hills and valleys, is level. However, another hole is deepening quickly, further threatening a flat field of equality. This hole is education vouchers. An education voucher is a certificate of government money that, rather than being applied…show more content…
Many supporters of education vouchers point out that the free market enables maximized efficiency and satisfaction – it allows the consumer, not the producer, to determine which features are necessary, how much we need, and how much we’re willing to pay. We apply these capitalist principles to cosmetics, homes, even healthcare, so why not education? According to Dr. Roy Schwartzman, a 17-time nominee for national and university teaching awards, “Adopting this [capitalist] framework frays the moral fabric of education and shortchanges students who are configured as consumers to please rather than characters to build.” While competition can be beneficial in certain markets, such as cars or clothing, education simply should not be reduced to another commodity influenced only by profit. Privatized education, in which control is transferred from the government to corporations, ignores that education is not just a product to be bought and sold – it is having an educated population that thinks critically. It is a fairly stacked deck. It is a poor child’s key to a mansion. It is a public good. Applying free market principles to our education system would force this harsh competitive reality on children, who deserve an exceptional education regardless of their perceived ability. But aside from education’s role as a public good, I’d like to discuss education as a route to unifying a diverse population. Education vouchers promote segregation…show more content…
According to Dr. Iris Rotberg, who is a research professor in the field of education policy, “in many cases, school choice programs – enabled by vouchers – lead to the stratification of students who were previously in integrated environments.” However, the segregationist underpinnings of voucher programs often go unchallenged, because private schools reserve the right to deny and exclude any child due to income, aptitude, or special need. The beauty of public schools lies in that no child can be told that they are unwelcome. Furthermore, diversity in the classroom – which is often limited due to voucher programs – has been shown time after time to be an asset to students. According to a study conducted by the University of Geneva in Switzerland, “the performance of both native and immigrant students benefits from the presence of immigrant students in educational institutions”. This implies that a diverse setting, not a homogenous setting, influences better educational
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