School vouchers are basically certificates issued by the federal government, which parents and guardians can apply toward tuition of their children at a private or religious school rather than at the public school to which their children are assigned. The continuing debate about the education system in the U.S. presumes, albeit incorrectly, that there is no basis for the school voucher system.
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However, there is compelling evidence that school vouchers do work, at least if the successes of publicly funded vouchers in the states of Milwaukee, Cleveland and Florida are anything to go by (Cal-Tax Digest, 2000). Extant research in educational systems in the U.S. demonstrates that the state of California is faced with similar educational challenges that used to face Cleveland prior to the latter’s adoption of the school voucher system.
As such, it is generally felt that California can also benefit from school vouchers, particularly in improving math’s test scores. Some important reasons why the state of California should implement the school voucher system have to do with improving the quality of education, giving true freedom of choice for schooling, and entrenching proactive competition within the school setup.
The first reason why California should implement the school voucher system has to do with improving the quality of education. Equipped with this voucher, parents and guardians will have the capacity to send their children to a high-end private or religious school, where they will be admitted into a system that will inarguably put the interests and pursuits of the children at the core of their education (Cal-Tax Digest, 2000).
Such a move, according to educationists, would assist children in non-performing or low-performing public schools improve their grades for the betterment of their own future and that of society.
The second reason why California should implement the school voucher system is related to giving true freedom of choice for schooling. Seminal studies in states that have already implemented the system demonstrate that school vouchers not only provide parents with real educational choice, but also improve public schools without a corresponding increase in tax (Cal-Tax Digest, 2000).
This is welcome news for parents as well as their children, particularly after the realization that freedom of choice for schooling will, in the long run, instill creativity and innovativeness into the minds of the young children. Today’s workforce trends emphasis the importance of these two attributes as benchmarks for a competent employee.
Finally, the third and most noteworthy reason why California should implement the school voucher system is related to entrenching proactive competition within the school setup. Comprehensive studies conducted by the Manhattan Institute and Harvard University demonstrates that the school voucher system force American public educational institutions to improve, at least academically, since they are in a position of competing for students (Cal-Tax Digest, 2000).
It should be noted that prior to the introduction of school vouchers in states such as Cleveland and Florida, public schools in these states were constantly accused of using huge sums of taxpayers dollars only for them to produce failures. The situation has radically changed in these states, in large part due to school vouchers, which force public schools to restructure and become competitive or risk closure for lack of students. The same can be done in California.
Of course some critics of the system posits that the school voucher system lacks accountability benchmarks, and that teachers would not be necessarily required to have the mandatory teaching credentials in the event that the system is adopted (Cal-Tax Digest, 2000). The truth of the matter, however, is that no hard evidence exists to support such claims. No accountability claims have been reported in the states that have so far implemented the system.
There are many reasons why California should take a bold step and implement the school voucher system. The truth is that the educational and personal benefits accruing from the system far outweigh the related risks. The school voucher system, in my view, is the next frontier in attempting to improve the already badly performing public schools in California.
Cal-Tax Digest. (2000). School vouchers: Pro and con views. Web.