Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

School Vouchers Part Two

Philosophy News image
Image Credit In the previous essay, I considered some of the arguments in favor of school vouchers. I now continue the discussion. Another set of arguments focus on the choice aspect, that vouchers allow parents to select education that best fits their children and education that will cultivate values. For example, choice proponents claim that vouchers (and similar programs) will enable parents of children with special needs to pick a tailored program not available in public schools. An obvious reply to these arguments is that the main reason public schools lack tailored programs is that they are woefully underfunded. Schools could offer tailored programs if they had the funding—so diverting public money to vouchers makes less sense than funding such programs. To use an analogy, this would be like arguing that public money should be diverted from community rec centers to private gyms because the rec centers lack the variety of equipment possessed by private gyms. If the equipment is critical for the community, then the funding should be used to get that equipment for the rec centers. A third set of arguments focus on economic efficiency and accountability—the gist of the arguments is that private schools will be more economically efficient and more accountable than public schools and hence they are better. While I will not deny that public schools can be inefficient and lack accountability, I will also not deny that the same is true of private schools. Look at the nightmare of for-profit colleges to see what can go wrong in the private education sector. There is obviously no public sector curse and private sector magic—one can have bad or good in either domain. If a school district is inefficient and not accountable, going private is not an automatic fix—it also leaves all the problems in place in what remains of the public sector. Rather, the solution is to increase efficiency and accountability in the public sector—as has been done with many very good. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus