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Essay on Our Nation Needs Vouchers and School Choice

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The Nation Needs School Vouchers

 
Let's face it - public schools are failing. SAT scores have steadily declined since 1960. Results from other tests of public high school seniors conducted by independent research groups show a serious decline in the quality of public education over the last several decades. A national voucher system would be a good start at restoring competition and parental choice in education.

 

Accompanying the steady decline in the quality of education has been a significant increase in the cost of public schools. Spending per student in public schools has increased over 400% in real terms since WWII. Much of the spending increase has gone to finance a bloated, costly administrative bureaucracy, not for putting more teachers in the classroom. The number of administrative employees of the public school system is now almost equal to the number of teachers. Declining academic quality in our public schools at increasingly higher costs indicates that something is fundamentally wrong the current system.

 

Public education is suffering from the problems of inefficiency, declining quality and rising costs that result when an organization is protected from competition. Insulated from competition, public schools do not face any pressure to operate efficiently or deliver a high quality educational product. In fact, operating efficiently undermines the agenda of the public education bureaucracy, because efficiency would lead to a reduction in funding.

 

Perverse incentives are in place to guarantee the failure of public schools - the worse public education is, the more money and resources will be budgeted to try to solve the education "problem." Delivering an inferior product will result...


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...ources would be redirected away from inefficient failing schools to the more efficient, successful schools. In other words, the competitive forces unleashed by a voucher program would give us better schools in The United States at a lower price.

 

Nothing is more important than the education of our children. There is no surer way to guarantee that our children continue to receive an increasingly inferior education than by continuing to insulate public schools from the very market forces that would promote higher quality education at lower prices. Our country has achieved the highest standard living in the history of the world by encouraging and fostering competition and choice in the marketplace, not by restricting the choices available to consumers. A voucher system would be a good start at restoring competition and parental choice in education.

 

 


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