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School Vouchers: Allowing Parents To Choose What School Their Child Attends

1881 words - 8 pages

Americans pride themselves on their freedom. We can choose whatever we want. No government agency dictates what foods we eat, or what clothes we wear; these choices are left to be made by the individual. Despite this relative freedom in other areas, many Americans feel constricted in their choices of where their children go to school. Government agencies draw arbitrary lines on maps that determine school districts. Many parents are forced to send their children to schools which they might not have chosen, if they had the opportunity to. In his bid for presidency, John McCain has promised to give parents the chance to freely decide what schools educate their children. He has suggested that the way to raise the standard of education in America is to turn the school system into a market economy; the parents of students decide the schools their children attend, and which schools receive funding from the government. Though the Arizona senator’s campaign website is surprisingly lacking in details, throughout his political career, McCain has shown strong support for school vouchers as an appropriate system of choice for parents. He argues that opening the education market will increase the quality of American education.
There is little argument over whether or not the dismal American school system needs improvement; most scholars agree that the current system is lacking. Especially in America, there is a divide in education. Currently, there is a wide discrepancy between schools located in poor neighborhoods, and those schools located in wealthier areas (Lyne 2001). Many scholars Though, McCain touts vouchers as the answer to America’s education woes, vouchers are not without critics. Some opponents argue that the voucher programs are not constitutional, because they allow students to put money into schools with religious affiliations attached to them, and that voucher programs do not greatly raise the test scores of the students who utilize the vouchers. Other detractors feel that vouchers do not provide any sustainable increase in the quality of education provided. Though the voucher system is not without its flaws it is largely positive because the introduction of an open market for schools would increase school funding, encourage higher quality of teachers, and more efficient teaching methods, and the introduction of vouchers would allow parents to have greater say in their children’s education.
History of School Vouchers
In order to truly understand the debate about vouchers, one must consider the history of school vouchers in America. Though the efficacy of school vouchers has come to light in recent years, with the implementation of limited voucher programs in several states, the debate over school vouchers is not a new one. The history of vouchers in America reaches all the way back post-Civil War America. The southern United States implemented voucher programs that were redeemable only at segregated schools. White...

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