In the past two days there have been two New York Times opinion pieces decrying the state of
The first article, titled “Our Schools Must do Better,” calls for a “wholesale transformation of the public school system.” Yet how does author Bob Herbert plan to go about achieving this? He calls for improved teacher quality and more alternative schools. Not much of a wholesale transformation. In fact, improving teacher quality has been on the agenda since the public schooling system in
What must be introduced, wholesale and nation-wide, is choice in our nation’s schooling. This can be accomplished quite easily with what are called education vouchers. An education voucher is a certificate by which parents are given the ability to pay for the education of their children at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they were assigned. For example, a parent can use an education voucher to send their children to a private high school instead of a public high school, as long as the child is eligible for acceptance. Additionally, parents would be able to send their children to whichever public school they choose, as opposed to being forced to send their children to the school in whichever district they live in.
Such a system would open faulty public schools up to competition and scrutiny. If parents feel their children aren’t being properly educated at one school, they may easily transfer them to another. In this way, schools unable to educate children up to their parents’ standards will be forced to either improve the quality of their education, or shut down. Such a system is the only way to ensure improved quality of education – it relies on that great arbiter of quality – the market. If
Education vouchers have seen tremendous success wherever they have been implemented, most notably in