Giving students stuck in failing schools the opportunity to rise out of the muck–that’s the idea behind vouchers. But while vouchers sound heroic and noble, they come with fatal flaws.
Voucher supporters argue that they will increase competition among schools, thus elevating the quality of education overall. But in reality, vouchers will just cut public schools’ funding without cutting their cost. When schools have lower budgets to work with, they can’t provide students with the current tools and innovations needed to enhance their education, which would be detrimental to the continuity of free public education.
Proponents of vouchers also believe that parents’ motives in choosing their child’s school are strictly educational. Athletics and other extracurriculars, however, can taint their choices. That’s why the University Interscholastic League in Texas places restrictions on students who appear to transfer for athletic purposes. Though switching to private schools does allow students to side-step these rules, adding vouchers to the equation could allow students to use the school’s funds to finance their ulterior motives.
Issuing vouchers also poses the the threat of reinstating segregation in schools. While vouchers could cut some of the cost of private school for low-income students, they won’t always cover all of it. President Donald Trump’s $20 billion school choice plan can’t cover every poor student in American without an additional $110 billion from the all of the states. Unless America reaches a zero percent poverty rate, there will always be students who can’t afford private school.
In addition, research shows that students in private school don’t score better than students in public school when it comes to standardized tests. With no major benefits proven, the government must be wary in pushing the use of vouchers.
Instead of financing private educations, the money put into vouchers should be used to revamp public schools. Improving the affordable education system would provide a long-lasting benefit to students everywhere, regardless of their income.