Vouchers are another name for programs which offer parents the option to remove their children from failing public schools and enroll them in private schools. These programs take the form of vouchers or outright cash for private schools, tax credits, tax deductions and contributions to tax deductible education accounts.
Funding for vouchers comes from private and government sources. Government funded voucher programs are very controversial for two main reasons.
In 2010 there are currently two voucher programs operating: one in Cleveland, Ohio; the other in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1. In the opinion of some critics they raise the constitutional issues of separation of church and state when public funds are given to parochial and other religious schools.
2. For others the challenge to public education goes to the core of another widely held belief: that every child is entitled to a free education.
The National Education Association takes a stand against the use of any public funds, no matter how little, being spent on something other than public education.
The American Federation of Teachers takes a similar position. For the record, the NEA and the AFT are the nation's largest teacher unions.
The argument for vouchers is straightforward: let my kids have a chance at a decent education by allowing them to go to a good local school without it costing me a fortune.
As to the argument that vouchers divert public funds from public schools, the amount of funding allocated to the voucher programs is very small.
More on Vouchers
- Five Years and Counting: A Closer Look at the Cleveland Voucher Program
- Evaluation of the Milwaukee Voucher Program
- Rethinking Schools Online
- School Vouchers: Issues and Arguments