Voucher foes, led by State School Board Chair, Kim Burningham, continue to try to play the accountability card on the voucher issue:
The radio ad, titled “Troubling,” focuses on accountability concerns regarding private voucher schools that receive public funds…no accountability for tax dollars.
While this is an old argument, it is ‘troubling’. It inherently indicates that parents (the voucher recipients) are incapable of making the right choice for their children. It indicates that government bureaucrats, not parents, know what is best.
Parents have full control of the vouchers. First, you need not get a voucher if your public school is doing a good job (most of us). However, we all know of children that have difficulties learning in our “one size fits all” system. If your son or daughter is struggling in a public school, you may opt for a voucher to help pay for a private school that better fits your child’s method of learning. Should a private school be inadequate, your money and the voucher walk (talk about instant accountability).
Further, parents using vouchers will typically be more involved and heavily scrutinize the school their child is attending. Remember, a voucher will often not pay the full tuition at the private school. That means parents will be opting for additional out of pocket costs rather than the already paid for public school.
I fully believe that parents will do what is best for their children. Public schools will serve most, but not all, of us and our children well (myself included here). However, we all know of neighbors/friends/family with children who need a more challenging environment, who require more discipline or individual attention, who are in a bad learning environment or on the verge of dropping out, or where other factors hinder their educational progression in a system designed to serve “most”.
While opting and paying for a private school to allow their child to excel may not be problem for the rich, it is for others. That is where to vouchers come in. Private schools will be within reach of those willing to make the financial sacrifice to ensure that their child can meet their full potential. For me, that is what our educational system should be about – not giving the “average” child a superior education, but giving each of your children a superior education whether in a public or private school.
Bottom line: I trust parents to know and meet their children’s educational interests better than I do and better than government bureaucrats do.
11/2 Update – See also: Consolidated Voucher Post (Referendum 1)