Tuesday, January 30, 2007

School Choices: Questions About State Educational Policy in America: Part II

For most of the past fifty years, education has been compulsory for all children in United States. The following figures from the US Department of Education's National Center for Educational Statistics illustrate the enormity of the situation involving education:

In Utah, as of 2005:

    • 83% were enrolled in private schools in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties, compared with 69% enrolled in public schools in those counties.

These numbers represent only a fraction of the data available to exemplify the present Utah and American didactic predicament. The numbers alone do not show the entire situation, as many problems exist with schools.


Tyler Farrer said...

Education has been compulsory, but public education has not. As such we're in the "half-way house". A term coined by Milton Friedman.

Regardless what we do, we must do something to account for the divide that now exists between the various educational institutions.

The fact that a divide exists, in the form of a class-based system, should compel us to do something to increase choice between schools.

Parents who can choose, universally, which school their child will attend, may not choose alike. But parents who can only choose, if they have enough money, will have very few choices available to them. Those parents will choose alike, because it is the only other choice.

They can remain in a public education system that, by law, limits their choice. Or, move away into a small private system where choice is inherently limited by a lack of competition.

That's one argument for a voucher system that Milton Friedman espoused. Removing the imposed restriction for choice of public as well as private schools will lead to more choices. We can move away from a class-based system, to an open public/private system.

Allie said...

The voucher system as proposed by HB 142 will do nothing to help improve "choice" for those who might need it the most.

The full voucher amount, which my family probably makes too much to qualify for, would not allow us to send our children to private school, so how is it going to help people who really are poor?

It won't.

Vouchers will not do anything to close the divide that you say now exists. They will only widen it.

If this bill passes, it will be interesting to see what happens. What if enough parents decide to take advantage of vouchers, that public schools can't accommodate all the students? Prices will go up. That's how businesses work. Supply and demand.

Are we going to increase voucher amounts so that private schools can make more and more money?