The anti-voucher side is well funded by the NEA (National Education Association), and has blown some of the money on ads trying to tell people that private schools are not accountable. Implicit in the ads, however, is that the NEA and anti-voucher groups do not believe that parents have the sense to place their children in the most appropriate school. They indicate that parents are incapable of making the right decision for their child.
Obviously, I find the ads entirely absurd.
If parents decide to send their child to private school, the voucher won’t cover the full cost and parents will be chipping in a portion of tuition. I don’t believe that parents will just blow the money on a school that is failing, especially when the same parents were already involved enough to determine that another public or private school was not meeting their child’s educational needs. These parents will, without a doubt, expect a return on investment.
Further, if the private school fails to satisfy the parents, what will happen? Tough accountability – the money and child shift to another school (public or private). The school will know they failed when they see the “pay cut” and poor performing private schools will, ultimately, go belly up.
Additionally, most private schools participate in accreditation programs as well as auditing procedures. Again, parents are not going to blindly and stupidly shove their kids in any old school to use a voucher, especially when they are still going to have to sacrifice and pony-up some money themselves. Parents, in my estimation, are the best accreditor and auditor of their child’s eduction. The first hand view of their child’s educational progress/results trumps any auditor’s matrix or spreadsheet.
Long story short – I place my trust in parents knowing what is best for their individual children, not me, nor government entities or professional organizations based in Salt Lake City or Washington DC.
Additional reading: David Miller also has an insightful post regarding his position on vouchers (it is also a trackback on one of my posts dealing with vouchers).
11/2 Update – See also: Consolidated Voucher Post (Referendum 1)