As education policy is in the news at the moment, I was looking for evidence for school voucher programs around the world, I came across an academic book The Case Against School Vouchers. Contrary to the Amazon review, which said
[The authors] were also able to state their case based on facts and research rather than opinionated rhetoric......the abstract demonstrates the book considers nothing but political questions and completely ignores the performance of school voucher programs in increasing the educational attainment of those let down by state-run schools, and its arguments aren't even internally consistent.
Controversy over whether public funds should be used to support nonpublic education has raged since the early 19th century. In the 1990s the debate centers around elementary and secondary school tuition vouchers or tutorial assistance grants. This book summarizes the case against vouchers and provides evidence and documentation for each argument. The chapters argue that voucher proposals undermine religious liberty; clash with the Establishment Clause of the Constitution; run counter to public opinion; provide funding to fundamentalist Christian schools that teach bigotry; conflict with the major tenets of American democracy--respect for diversity, intellectual freedom, and religious tolerance; create additional transportation costs; and exacerbate inequities among school districts.Let's look at this in detail.
"Undermining religious liberty" by allowing people to send their children to a school of their choice. I smell bullshit.
"Clash with the establishment clause of the constitution" if you're funding private schools at the direction of parents, how in the name of all that's holy, does that create an established church?
"Run counter to public opinion" People don't like change & they've been told by the teachers that vouchers are right up there with the holocaust for pure, unadulterated evil. "Look.... LOOK. Pinochet supported them...". Of course this is a non-argument.
"Provide funding to fundamentalist Christian schools that teach bigotry" Freedom, if it means anything is freedom to teach stupid things to your kids, who, if exposed to actual freedom may well, and often do, end up making up their own minds. The truth outs eventually. Frankly if you're already teaching a kid that a sky pixie will lightening him if he has a wank, then it's a short step from there to creationism. Bigotry's already allowed; the Rubicon's already crossed.
"Conflict with the major tenets of American democracy--respect for diversity, intellectual freedom, and religious tolerance" So allowing people free will in how they bring up their children disrespects diversity? Creating a varied school system which includes religious schools, if the parents want, is against religious tolerance? Instead, ensuring every school sticks to a centrally dictated syllabus supports intellectual freedom? Check out the pinko double-think.
"Create additional transportation costs" America is the world's largest, richest economy where people drive 40 miles to get milk; so who, really, gives a fuck?
"Exacerbate inequities among school districts", mainly between those that do have a voucher program and those that don't. That "inequality" is the genius of the voucher system. Parents will be able to see good schools, and crucially be able to send their kids there. Good schools expand, poor schools fail. The result, everyone gets a better education, just not everyone gets better at the same rate.
The fact is school voucher programs have at worst not done any harm, and have at best achieved great improvement amongst the worst-performing demographics. This isn't important to the ideologues who wrote that book. Nor is it important to any opponent of free schools anywhere, who are usually motivated by the producer interest.
With a proper free schools voucher program, teachers either teach what the parents want, or get fired. The Unions' opposition to Free schools in the UK is nothing short of Evil. Tories know that in order for this to work, as it does in Sweden, or the Netherlands, schools must be allowed to make a profit. Failure to speak up for this is nothing short of abject cowardice.
No-one comes out of this looking good except uncle Milt, who is, as ever completely right on absolutely everything.