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Vouchers and School Choice – Opportunity for Success

School Choice: Opportunity for Success

For some parents, education is highly valued and they can afford high tuition, so they send their children to the private school. Other parents spend more money to move into a community where has good schools. We can call the situations stated above “school choice”. However, what we talk here is not the “school choice”; there is another kind of school choice, which all parents can make and do not need to spend more money to move into another community.

Generally speaking, children from the high SES family have better opportunities to get appropriate education and succeed in the society. On the other hand, children from the low SES family often face many difficulties in the educational process because of the financial problem and might get less support from their families. Therefore, in my opinion, this is the group that the government need to take care of. We need to provide children from the low SES family with opportunities as much as possible to help them succeed in the school and the society. One of the opportunities we can provide for those children is school choice.

Some people argue that they pay high tax to provide quality education for their children, and others do not have the right to share with it. If we follow the system thinking, this belief is a fallacy because we can not separate one from others in a system. In the long run, school choice can create success for children from the low SES family. In other words, if we can help those children succeed in the school and society, they will produce less problems to the society, and we can build up a better environment for everyone. Furthermore, though people pay high tax, they still share the limited resources of the society and the country; they do not pay all what they should pay.

There are the rich and poor in the society, and it somehow creates positive and negative cycles. That is, the rich can get better education and have good opportunities to succeed in the society.

The Problem of Vouchers and School Choice

The Problem of School Choice

Is it right to force students to attend the schools prescribed for them by geography? Is it fair to deny students who live in poorer neighborhoods the chance to go to better schools with better facilities, better teachers and safer conditions? Should we allow our tax revenues to leave our school districts for greener pastures? Should we permit schools poor in both resources and performance to wither on the vine, an acceptable casualty of competition?

Because of dissatisfaction with many public schools, particularly those in large urban settings, a movement to allow students to choose alternatives to their assigned schools has sprung up in various parts of the country and abroad. Proponents argue that competition for students (and their attendent tax revenues) will automatically make all schools better. They point to towns in Vermont who have no schools of their own and allow all their students to pick from surrounding public and private schools, applying their tax dollars to those entities. They talk about the successes of magnet schools and charter schools and link the school choice concept to our basic rights under the Constitution.

What kind of American would argue with that? What kind of capitalist would disagree with the beneficial effect on performance brought about by competition? Who wouldn’t love the idea that students could pick their schools based on quality or experience of teachers, special offerings or curricula? Who doesn’t cringe when they see images on television of graffiti-scarred inner city schools with bars on the windows and fear in the eyes of their students? Wouldn’t we all want to see students escape these schools?

Of course we would. But l…

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…ialties of programs — one school might focus on theatre, another on science enrichment, still another in government. But we could not allow a discrepancy in funding or community commitment to make one school a palace and another a snakepit. If we reform educational funding so that schools receive the resources they need to attract students based on their special features, rather than a desire to escape something, controlled school choice could work. I believe in the concept of magnet schools and perhaps even of charter schools. Convince me that those students most in need would not be left with the dregs and we can start to talk about it. Until then, let’s work on addressing what makes some schools work and others not. Let’s look at public education as an investment in our society’s quality of life, not simply an entitlement for somebody else.

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