Vouchers

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School Vouchers are grants of government funds given to individuals which are used to purchase private education.

Government largely funds K-12 education in the United States by directly operating public schools with taxpayer dollars. Government contributions in the range of $6,000 per child per year, would not be atypical. Students whose parents prevent them from attending public schools because of their classism, racism or religious obsessions are normally not given public funding to help pay for their private education tuition.

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Threatening America

The overwhelming majority of private schools have a religious affiliation, so the issue of vouchers has largely been framed as a Separation Clause (First Amendment) issue. Opponents are rightly concerned because making public funds available to finance private, religiously sponsored education entangles church and state. Why should all taxpayers are made to pay for the private educations of some students, the content of which inevitably involves religious indoctrination? Why should someone who is not an adherent of a religion be forced to pay for education controlled by that religion?

Opponents are also conscious that secular public education has been one of the important instruments through which a nation was forged by people of different religious faiths (or no faith) and waves of immigrants arriving at different moments in history. The anxiety is that any incentive toward greater private education will further fragment America along class, ethnic and especially religious lines. Religious difference continues to inspire sectarian violence around the planet and many Americans fear the potential terrorism of the Christian Right.

Christian Right Whining

The alternative view is that the state is unfairly discriminating against religion when it provided monetary support for secular educations at public schools, but not for the educations children receive at religious schools.

Market Fundamentalism

Free Market economists like Milton Freedman also see vouchers as a way of using free market forces to improve the quality of education, claiming that the near monopoly held on providing education services by public school districts insures mediocre service. The problem with such agruements is that privatized education may be inferior to that offered by public schools. The market solves all problems only in the minds of libertarians.

Privatized Education in Science Fiction

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