Parents Choose Schools via Vouchers
- Strongly Support means you believe: The government should not be in the business of running schools. State-funded vouchers should pay for privately-run education at private schools, parochial schools, charter schools, home-schooling, or whatever schools parents choose.
- Support means you believe: School choice helps the poor who would otherwise be stuck in failing schools. Why should only the elite be able to afford private school? Subsidize parents' school choices to foster equality, as long as the school respects separation of church and state, and meets basic state standards.
- Oppose means you believe: Continue experimenting with charter schools, and with public school choice, but no vouchers. We should create pressure to improve our public schools, not abandon them.
- Strongly Oppose means you believe: Improve public schools rather than destroying them with vouchers. More teachers, smaller classes, more funding - then parents will choose public schools.
This question is looking for your views on how large a role the government should play in running our school systems. However you answer the above question would be similar to your response to these statements:
- Extend school choice to private as well as public schools
- Allow taxes to fund parochial schools
- Extend charter schools nationwide
School Choice generally refers to a school district allowing parents to decide which school within the district to send their kids to.
The political issue is whether to allow the choice to include private schools, parochial schools, and home schooling at taxpayer expense.
Taxpayer funding of parochial schools potentially violates the Constitutional separation of church and state.
Taxpayer funding of private schools is controversial because it subsidizes parents who are currently paying for private schools themselves, and are usually more wealthy than the average public school family.
Charter schools are publicly-funded and publicly-controlled schools which are privately run. They are usually required to adhere to fewer district rules than regular public schools.
Vouchers are a means of implementing school choice -- parents are given a voucher by the school district, which entitles them to, say, $4,000 applicable to either public school or private school tuition.
The value of the voucher is generally lower than the cost of one year of public education (which averages $5,200), so private schools (where tuition averages $8,500) may require cash payment in addition to the voucher.
K-12 Education Statistics
- Total spending is $260 billion, (7% federal; the rest split state & local) rising by 5% per year.
- Student population is 50 million,
rising slowly (1 million per year) since 1984.
- Public school spending is $5,200 per student, staying about even with inflation.
- Parochial school costs $4,200 per student,
not discounting church-provided buildings & other subsidies.
- Private school costs $8,500 per student,
not discounting scholarships or other financial aid.
- 90% attend public schools; about 6 million attend private & parochial schools.
- 78% of schools have Internet access; 97% plan to by the year 2000.
- 27% of classrooms have Internet access; lower in poor and minority schools.