Friday, December 05, 2008

Honesty on vouchers

I'm not so ideologically closed that I wouldn't get behind the idea of vouchers if there was consistent statistical evidence that showed they aided in test scores and helped students from all sorts of backgrounds, but current evidence doesn't suggest that. I'm all for being pragmatic on some issues, but I just don't think vouchers is where we ought to go at this moment (particularly considering our budget crisis, as Flack notes).

All of that said, I have philosophical issues with such a proposal that are almost as troubling as the practical ones I have. Namely, we have allocated money for public education, and we have set up local school boards to run public schools that are wholly funded by taxpayer money. You may like that concept or you may hate that concept, but that isn't the point right now.

The point is why would we shift to a system that supports both? The money our state spends is dedicated for public education, and any type of voucher program ultimately will take money away from public education and transfer it to private education. That hardly seems to be an efficient use of money, particularly at a time when folks are throwing out all sorts of bad ideas on efficiency in education spending.

Proponents of vouchers, it seems to me, would be better served by saying 'let's get rid of funding specific public schools and give every family in the state $10,000 or whatever so they could attend any school.'

Granted, that's a position that I'd have some issues with, but it's one that seems more honest than deliberately taking money from something that is dedicated for one specific use to fund something which currently doesn't get state funding.

2 Comments:

Blogger griftdrift said...

This is a position I tried to argue last Friday night but you just did it a helluva lot better than I did.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Yep. Had a very similar argument the other night about state healthcare facilities vs. private ones. Notably, private healthcare facilities are profitable mainly because they're not actually required to meet the same standards as public hospitals. So, either the regulations are or are not important, and if they are important then public money should only got to institutions that are in agreement with them. Meanwhile, it's ridiculous to claim that private entity is "more efficient" or "better" than a public entity when a private entity can create its own market and set up its own terms upon which to be successful.

11:45 AM  

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