School choice battle makes education ‘the civil rights issue of our time’

With the fight for and against school choice sweeping the nation, President Donald Trump deemed education “the civil rights issue of our time.”

In addition, the President urged Congress to pass legislation to boost school choice opportunities, according to Matthew Nussbaum’s recap of his Tuesday night speech posted on Politico.com Feb. 28, 2017.

Texas House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Houston, however, said he will not approve the passage of vouchers in his state because they “would reduce school accountability by putting public dollars in private schools that are not subject to the same rules and also would distract from more pressing challenges, such as fixing the school finance system,” Brian M. Rosenthal wrote on Chron.com Feb. 28,2017.

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A girl shows her support for school choice along with the crowd. (Image courtesy of CreativeCommons.org)

I’ve talked before about the fatal flaws of vouchers, but lawmakers need to listen to Huberty’s stance. Vouchers do not level the playing field–they take public school’s funding and leave the idea of a private education dangling just out of reach for low socioeconomic students, who even with voucher support, would not be able to afford private school tuition.

According to PrivateSchoolReview.com, the national average rate per year to attend a private school is $10,003, and it’s unclear whether or not the government will be able to provide full funding to impoverished students.

In her post on Education Week from Nov. 17, 2016, Alyson Klein writes that there is no guaranteed source of money to implement Trump’s $20 billion education plan for school choice, which will most likely require additional funding from the states.

The main argument for school choice is to help students escape failing public schools. Without an attempt to save these public schools, however, it seems as if the government is trying to privatize education in general so that they can eventually cut it from their spending list.

Vouchers and school choice not only harm funding for public schools–they endanger the public’s right to a free education.

 

 

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