Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Boondoggle of School Choice
The summer before my freshman year of high school, my suburban school district decided to implement a new school choice program developed for the state of Massachusetts. It is a program-limited choice similar to many others around the country. Schools offer a certain number of spaces in each class for "choice students," that is, students from other towns who wish to attend the school. Students apply and enter a random lottery system. If they are chosen, they become legally-enrolled students at the new school. The costs of the program are covered by the child's hometown or subsidized by the state.
The logic of the program (and all other choice programs) is that it offers students the ability to attend better schools than those in their hometowns. School choice is lauded as the great white hope of American education. "Let's give those kids a chance!" "Let's take control of our children's education!" Supporters claim that school choice will not only save our students, but it will also save our schools. Schools will be forced to improve their programs to remain competitive. Soon, all students will be attending the schools they want to, and all schools will be worthy of their students. School choice is the panacea for the problems of American education.
Or at least that's what the proponents of the program tell us. Unfortunately, they leave out a few crucial points. School choice will not be the saving of the American mind. It is a desperate attempt to patch up the problems of our system by offering a few students a new option and calling it salvation. One is reminded of a great juggling act, where if a few students are shuffled around, we may not notice the others falling to the ground. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . .
Let me stress that I am not speaking as a bitter product of the system who feels that school choice has hurt her educational experience. When it was first installed in our school, a number of parents, students and community members were outraged. They took a "not in my backyard" approach to the situation, bemoaning the influx of students from "bad schools." They thought that the innocence of our town would be lost, as students who were different from our sheltered community were admitted.
How to Cite this Page
"The Boondoggle of Vouchers and School Choice." 123HelpMe.com. 14 Nov 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The 14th Amendment in the United States Constitution forbids states from denying any person life, liberty and property without due process of the law. It further states that any person, within a state’s jurisdiction, cannot be denied equal protection of its laws. This amendment protects all people. Chief Justice Clarence Thomas, in a 2002 ruling, stated reasons why school choice should be protected under the 14th Amendment. Justice Thomas wrote in defense of school choice, “Whatever the textual and historical merits of incorporating the Establishment Clause, I can accept that the Fourteenth Amendment protects religious liberty rights.... [tags: school choice, school reform]
4616 words (13.2 pages)
- We, as human beings, irrespective of our backgrounds, traditions and cultures, believe in certain fundamental ideals. We want all our children to have access to a good, overall education regardless of family income; we want to make sure that they are prepared for times to come; we want them to be responsible adults; and expect that these qualities are fostered in them through learning in their familial environments, friend circles and most importantly through the institution called school. The growing idea has been that these ideals may only be achieved through a universal centrally planned system of tax-funded schools, commonly known as “public schools”.... [tags: School Choice]
1685 words (4.8 pages)
- School Vouchers School vouchers can be described as financial funding given to students who elect not to attend public schools. Therefore the government would not be spending money educating that student in a public school. A school voucher is the allotment of money that the government would have used for that student to attend public school. This money is then given to the family of the student to help fund the education of that student. This money cannot be used for anything other than education.... [tags: Position Paper School Vouchers]
1466 words (4.2 pages)
- It is a growing debate in an area that American society cannot afford to ignore, as the discussion on voucher schools directly affects our youth, the very foundation of our country. Many cities across the United States have proposed school voucher programs in an effort to improve the education of inner-city children that come from low-income families. However, with this proposition arises certain questions that cannot be avoided. Although proponents of school vouchers argue differently, challengers of the system expressly state that the taxpayer-funded voucher system infringes upon our First Amendment rights.... [tags: School Choice Essays]
1084 words (3.1 pages)
- School Vouchers: A Harmful Choice Since entering office in January, President George W. Bush has given education reform high priority on his agenda. One element of his four-point initiative involves the implementation of school vouchers. A voucher, as defined in The American Heritage Dictionary, is a "certificate representing a credit against future expenditures." (The American Heritage) By diverting tax dollars from public schools to private institutions through the use of vouchers, America's public education system will become less effective, students from low income families will be set further behind, and the First Amendment will be directly violated.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Education Essays]
3105 words (8.9 pages)
- A Case for School Choice There is growing conflict over the nation's education policy. Indeed, this conflict remains one of the few areas of divergence between our converging two-party structure. Yet, as is so often the case with pressing concerns in American politics, any real proposals have been drowned under the Washington bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the nation can no longer ignore the ever-expanding education crisis plaguing the country, and Washington must consider school choice as a remedy for the ailing public school system.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]
1043 words (3 pages)
- School Choice and Vouchers are Bad I have spent considerable time reading the literature on the topic of school choice and tuition vouchers. I was initially in favor of the idea simply because it seems to be common sense. After just a little reading, I am now an advid supporter. After all, our entire standard of living is based on the idea of choice. The more choices we have, and the means to pursue those choices, the higher the standard of living we enjoy. In our lives, simply stated, choice means everything.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]
949 words (2.7 pages)
- The issue of "choice", like so many other novel educational reform attempts, serve once again to highlight the fact that something is desperately wrong with the current educational system. While everyone seems to be fully aware of the need for change, no one really knows where to start. In the process of making sense of this need to pin down the problems that beset education, many end up latching on to any novel idea that even vaguely offers the hope of finally bringing that educational calm and success everyone so desperately longs for.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]
1169 words (3.3 pages)
- School Vouchers: The Wrong Choice Susie is a young girl who lives in Florida. Since kindergarten, she has attended a nearby private school. Her parents willingly pay her tuition, even though doing so forces them to cut other corners. They do not mind these sacrifices, since they know that their daughter is getting the best education they can give her. Jesse lives downtown, in the inner city. She attends the local public school and struggles through her classes. Her mother would like to send her to a private school, where there is less violence and a calmer atmosphere, but cannot afford it.... [tags: essays papers]
1484 words (4.2 pages)
- One of the most important topics in government today is the issue of school vouchers. The two sides have remained deeply entrenched in their rival positions concerning this issue. Some wonder about the practicality of using the vouchers, while others wonder if it is defeating the purpose of the educational system. Educational vouchers can be very beneficial for both the student and even the school districts involved in the program. Many people do not realize the benefits of this program. Educational vouchers are something that many school districts need to implement due to their advantages.... [tags: Educational Vouchers Scholarships]
1749 words (5 pages)
However, I think the program should be discontinued. It is not good educational policy. It is unfair to students, and it does not lead to solutions. First of all, there is limited space at the better schools. My class (the first to have students utilize the program for the full four years of high school) accepted thirty-five choice students though more than one hundred applied for the spots. The fact is that schools can only hold so many students. How is society to determine which students get to have a superior education? Even if the decision is random, which it was at my school, the fact is that seventy-five students did not get to "choose" - the "choice" was made for them. Children should not be denied a first-rate education because they are unlucky. They should not be punished because a random lottery system denies them the school they choose. School choice does not open a window of better education to all. It merely lets a few more sneak through.
Well, you might ask, what of it? If we did not have the program, no students would have the chance at a better education. Is it not better to help a few than none at all? That might be true, if those few could be helped at no cost to those who are left in the old schools. However, it is primarily the most motivated students, the "best and the brightest," who take advantage of these programs. This is devastating to the schools they leave behind. Not only are schools stripped of their brightest students, depriving them of the learners who help to enliven classrooms, but it sends a message to the rest of the students. That message is simple enough - education is only for the smart and the rich (after all, the best public schools are those in wealthy neighborhoods). Is this the message we want to give our children? Moreover, the incentive to save the schools will become even less pressing, as would-be activist parents decide to send their children to better institutions, rather than try to reform the system. Our schools would be deserted by their most influential lobby - the involved parent.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said that "High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything I can think of." The question we must ask ourselves is: what kind of experience do we want to offer the children of America? I believe that every child deserves a chance at a superior education. However, I deny that school choice programs offer children that chance. These programs allow for the flight of the brightest and most motivated students out of locals schools. Do we want to create a situation where a few magnet schools attract students and the rest of the schools languish? The solution is to fix our broken schools, not encourage our students to flee them. It is to make all schools worthy of a student's "choice." It is not until every school offers students the tools to build a successful career and a meaningful life that we will have true "choice" in education. It will not be choice of a specific school, but rather, the choice of a bright future. This will be the true solution to America's educational problems.