Monday, March 21, 2005

Vouchers: Another tax break for the rich

Bush's program to provide indirect support for private schools at the expense of the public school system could only be designed by an elitist. A voucher will at best pay only a portion of the cost of a private school education. The balance of that cost must be paid by the students' families. Low income families will not be able to pay the students' portion of the cost of a private school education. If the average low income family has more children than the average middle and upper income families then access to a private school education for children of low income families becomes more unlikely.

The quality of a private school and the education it can provide will be proportional to its cost. Children of high income families will have access to more costly and higher quality schools. Children of middle and low income families will, at best, have access only to private schools of lower quality and cost. As more and more students and funding are diverted from public schools, the quality and quantity of public school resources and the education they can provide will decrease. Students of the lowest income families, which are limited to publicly and poorly funded schools, will receive the poorest education. These students of Bush's future public school system will be the least prepared for competitive employment or higher education after high school.

The opportunity for a quality primary and secondary education should not be limited by family income. Access to higher education is and will continue to be available to most, if not all, children regardless of income. Successful participation in higher education, generally a perquisite for high income employment, should only be dependent on a student's aptitude, attitude and k-12 education and not the economic status of the student's family. Today the average family income of all high school students who will attend a competitive college or university may be higher than the average family income of all high school students, however; only the students' aptitude, attitude and the quality of their k-12 education are unavoidable determining factors not family income. A student's aptitude is not limited by his family's income. A student's attitude is likely to be proportional to the parent's expectation of their child's access to economic opportunity. If family income limits a student's access to quality education then family income will also limit a student's attitude if his parent's believe that their access to economic opportunity is as limited as their access to quality education. Obviously, the average student of an under funded school will not be as prepared nor as competitive as the average student of an adequately funded school.

Attitude and the quality of the k-12 education are the key factors determining whether a child will become a financially secure adult who can afford at least a comfortable standard of living. Vouchers can only destroy the public education system and worsen the economic condition of the low income population. While for the economically advantaged, vouchers will be another tax break from the Bush administration.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I agree... good "rant". Sounds like an editorial... maybe you should send it to the newspaper.