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School Vouchers: Allowing Parents to Choose What School Their Child Attends

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Americans pride themselves on their freedom. We can choose whatever we want. No government agency dictates what foods we eat, or what clothes we wear; these choices are left to be made by the individual. Despite this relative freedom in other areas, many Americans feel constricted in their choices of where their children go to school. Government agencies draw arbitrary lines on maps that determine school districts. Many parents are forced to send their children to schools which they might not have chosen, if they had the opportunity to. In his bid for presidency, John McCain has promised to give parents the chance to freely decide what schools educate their children. He has suggested that the way to raise the standard of education in America is to turn the school system into a market economy; the parents of students decide the schools their children attend, and which schools receive funding from the government. Though the Arizona senator’s campaign website is surprisingly lacking in details, throughout his political career, McCain has shown strong support for school vouchers as an appropriate system of choice for parents. He argues that opening the education market will increase the quality of American education.
There is little argument over whether or not the dismal American school system needs improvement; most scholars agree that the current system is lacking. Especially in America, there is a divide in education. Currently, there is a wide discrepancy between schools located in poor neighborhoods, and those schools located in wealthier areas (Lyne 2001). Many scholars Though, McCain touts vouchers as the answer to America’s education woes, vouchers are not without critics. Some opponents argue that the vouc...


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...f education in America. Vouchers would allow parents to choose where their children go to school, without having to move their family to a neighborhood with a better school. Vouchers also allow parents to effectively vote with their dollars for, what in their eyes, the school that is the best. By federally funding a school voucher system, the discrepancy between schools located in rich and poor areas would be decreased, as poor children would be allowed to attend schools in richer neighborhoods and vice versa. But can such a system be implemented in America? Simply because it has been done to a degree of success in small scale tests in America does not clearly show that it would be successful on a national level. It would, at least, give parents to choose where their children go to school, the same way they can choose what to have for breakfast in the morning.


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