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The Boondoggle of Vouchers and School Choice

The Boondoggle of School Choice

The summer before my freshman year of high school, my suburban school district decided to implement a new school choice program developed for the state of Massachusetts. It is a program-limited choice similar to many others around the country. Schools offer a certain number of spaces in each class for “choice students,” that is, students from other towns who wish to attend the school. Students apply and enter a random lottery system. If they are chosen, they become legally-enrolled students at the new school. The costs of the program are covered by the child’s hometown or subsidized by the state.

The logic of the program (and all other choice programs) is that it offers students the ability to attend better schools than those in their hometowns. School choice is lauded as the great white hope of American education. “Let’s give those kids a chance!” “Let’s take control of our children’s education!” Supporters claim that school choice will not only save our students, but it will also save our schools. Schools will be forced to improve their programs to remain competitive. Soon, all students will be attending the schools they want to, and all schools will be worthy of their students. School choice is the panacea for the problems of American education.

Or at least that’s what the proponents of the program tell us. Unfortunately, they leave out a few crucial points. School choice will not be the saving of the American mind. It is a desperate attempt to patch up the problems of our system by offering a few students a new option and calling it salvation. One is reminded of a great juggling act, where if a few students are shuffled around, we may not notice the others falling to the ground. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . .

Let me stress that I am not speaking as a bitter product of the system who feels that school choice has hurt her educational experience. When it was first installed in our school, a number of parents, students and community members were outraged. They took a “not in my backyard” approach to the situation, bemoaning the influx of students from “bad schools.” They thought that the innocence of our town would be lost, as students who were different from our sheltered community were admitted.

Free Essays on Crime and Punishment in Various Countries

The effectiveness of the United States’ criminal legal system has been questioned and scrutinized by the media and legal analysts for decades. Even with laws to lengthen sentences and to try younger offenders as adults, the overall crime rate in the nation is still on the rise. But why is it that in places like Iceland and Singapore crime rates are so low yet both countries have very contrasting criminal laws? It has been brought to my attention that Congress will attempt to create an entire new criminal legal system for the states to adopt in an effort to finally make the streets of America safer for its citizens. Assuming that all states will forfeit their own policies to take up the system Congress builds, it is my duty to shed light on the criminal legal system and differing views of the United States and other countries legal systems and differing views of the United States and other countries of different governments, geographies, and legal systems. I will also explore the common ground they share when prosecuting criminal offenders. The information I will discover will be taken into consideration by legislators when designing a new and improved criminal justice system.

It is first important to take a close look at the crime rate occurring in America. The United States has more citizens in prison than any other country. The incarceration rate of the U.S. is second only to Russia with 666 incarcerated per 100,000. The U.S. constitutes one third of the world’s population that is imprisoned while it only makes up five percent population. (Father’s Manifesto) The criminal legal system is slightly different in every state. For example, only thirty eight states practice capital punishment while the other twelve employ life imprisonment with no parole as an alternative to putting serious offenders to death. The death penalty in the United states is one of the most criticized policies in American society. Under the Constitution’s eighth amendment, Americas are protected against cruel and unusual punishment. While it does not clearly define what punishment is deemed ‘cruel and unusual,’ several campaigns argue that capital punishment is cruel and unusual and is a direct violation of human rights. Organizations like Amnesty International, a worldwide human rights group, claims that capital punishment is not only inhumane, but it does not deter crime more effectively in comparison to other punishments not involving death.

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