A big part of Americans believe that improving the system of education should be the main priority for the US government at all levels. Legislators, school boards, community organizations, education professionals and parents are trying to implement new ideas to prevent children from failing school systems, especially in inner-city neighborhoods. A lot of such groups support voucher programs. Such standard program, which is proposed all over the country would distribute monetary vouchers (usually valued of $2.500-$5.000) to parents of school-age children, mostly in poor inner-city school areas. So, parents would be able to use the vouchers in order to pay for private schools, including religious schools, rather than let their children go to the public school to which they are assigned (Shaul 2008).
From the first point of view, school vouchers might seem to be a rather good way to increase the options which poor parents have for educating their children. But, in fact, vouchers create a serious danger to values that are important for American democracy. Such programs are contrary to the constitutional American principle of separation of church and state and are dangerous to the system of public education.
As every governmental program, this one also has its pros and corns.
The main argument against school vouchers is that it takes away money from public schools. Implementation of school vouchers is just a good way of a thinly veiled gimmick to funnel public tax money into financing of private and religious schools. That money should be going to improve public schools.Ā If some people do not use a public service, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to pay for it. (I don’t use the parts or the library, so why should I pay for them?)
Public education gives benefits to everyone. If someone wants to send their children elsewhere, that is fine (as long as the school meets basic educational standards), but not on the public tab.
So, a voucher system would weaken public schools and at the same time it can not to provide children who attend private schools with enough money. According to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, “76% of the money handed out for Arizona’s voucher program has gone to children already in private schools”¯( Palast 2006).
Jonathan Kozol, a former teacher and famous public school reform thinker has called vouchers the “single worst, most dangerous idea to have entered education discourse in my adult life”¯(Kaiser 2009). Ā Many other teachers and unions don’t support school vouchers either.