Private School Vouchers Essay

2547 Words 11 Pages
Proposals to use private school vouchers, a marketplace strategy, as a mechanism by which to improve the general quality of public education have produced a lively debate. Frequently, that debate has degenerated into a disagreement about whether public schools are as good as private schools or whether a given private school is better than a certain neighborhood public school. Other issues raised in these discussions include the appropriate use of public funds, the role of competition in improving public education, and the right of parents to choose a school for their children. Although these issues are of interest, they are not the fundamental questions which must be raised about the future of public schools in a democracy.Two Core Issues …show more content…
The Thompson proposal for Wisconsin's schools embraces this belief system it is a denial of the fundamental role of public education in affirming the public good.A second issue which remains unexamined in the rush to the marketplace concerns the claims offered in defense of private school choice. Choice is offered as a "lesson learned" rather than a proposition to be examined. Advocates of private school choice have ignored its history. Despite the claims made for a market-based school restructuring strategy, the history of choice does not support the claims of its proponents.A Declaration of CrisisWillingness to abandon strong support for public schools and to turn to marketplace solutions is driven by a crisis rhetoric.

This rhetoric, which suggests that public education is failing, is not only misleading, it is dangerous because it may erode public confidence in the very institutions on which our capacity for a democratic response depends.Criticism of public education has continued unabated since the publication of A Nation At Risk in 1983. Stimulated in large part by new international economic realities, by a domestic economy based on traditional production models, and by changing domestic demographics, the critics have sought solutions to these challenging problems by turning to schools and educators. The data cited by critics of public schools were accepted at face value until the late 1980's. However, since