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A Future Educator's Thoughts on the Voucher System

posted May 26, 2012, 8:32 AM by Kyle Willey
I probably won't be making friends of too many of my future co-workers with this post, since I'm getting a degree in secondary education, but I support the voucher system. Why?

The former Swedish Minister of Education Per Unckel once said: "Education is so important that you can’t just leave it to one producer.". I went to a public high school, and I wouldn't change it; the things I got there are just too valuable for me to give up to go elsewhere. But at the same time, I know that people have a legitimate gripe with some of the public schools out there; and every time I've heard of teacher misconduct it seems to be revolving around a public school and not a private or charter school. Look at the recent Hunter Rogers case, and you'll see that some parents pretty clearly won't want their kids in their local public school for a number of reasons, such as a district being ill-funded (or poorly managed) or their knowledge of individuals who can't do their job within the school itself. Throw in the fact that a lot of parents don't like what their kids will hear at public school, and you've got several reasons not to send your kid, of varying degrees of legitimacy.

And don't get me wrong here, I'm planning on teaching at a public school, not a charter school. But I still want vouchers. Because I've been to schools I wasn't supposed to go to; I was home schooled for a year and then went to private school, and I've seen the difference that high-quality pedagogy makes. Being in a classroom with sixteen students instead of one with thirty or more meant that I got to have hands-on focus with my teachers; almost every student at my private elementary school fed into the honors program at any high school they went to. I recognize there's a stereotype against home schooling and really small private schools, but I still have a lot of friends and acquaintances who come from that background and none of them fall below the average mean level of performance.

Quite frankly, I think that the voucher system could be invaluable if for no other reason than forcing schools to step it up a bit. I'm up to the challenge, and I think it's only fair to allow students to go whenever.
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