School Vouchers


School vouchers provide greater choice and they thus better reflect our rights 

Aren't school vouchers unfair, in that they allow some poor families to send their kids to private schools, while kids from even poorer families are left behind in public school?

Following that logic, all private schools should be outlawed, shouldn't they? But of course, school itself invented class, children are constantly ranked and set up against each other. There's nothing fair about school and public school simply is the last in line claiming to be the fairest of all!
[source]

Families should be able to choose the education they want for their children more directly. Large public schools should be split up into multiple smaller ones and poor families should receive vouchers to allow them to make that choice more directly.
[source]

Isn't the problem with vouchers that they lead to the elimination of public school, leaving the poor with no choice but to pay for expensive private schools?

I disagree with government funding the education of kids from rich families. If that money was used instead to fund vouchers, public schools would benefit. As said before, large public schools should be split up into multiple smaller ones, so that they become more responsive to the educational needs of their students. Then, poor families should be given vouchers. Initially, vouchers could be made applicable only to public schools, in which case private schools wouldn't benefit at all. Vouchers can be used in many ways, they do not inherently benefit public or private schools. Ownership is not the issue. The quality of education is and our rights are!
[source]

There are few lower-fee private schools, because of the fact that public school charges no fees, making it hard for private enterprise to compete. By default, private schools have to focus on the higher-fee market and on niche markets, such as specific religions or schools for children with special needs and talents. So, there currently is little choice! Families can hardly choose between two or more schools that each offer a similar service in their area. Typically, there is only one school that has monopolized a specific market in an area. [source]

Vouchers merely put more choice regarding education in the hands of (especially poor) families. But the real problem with vouchers is that government still decides in many ways how the money is to be spent, e.g. by restricting the use of vouchers to specific schools. If there are only two applicable schools and the vouchers are insufficient to pay the fees of one of them, then indeed the vouchers don't result in more choice, but that is because the choice is limited. It's not an inherent problem of vouchers. Widening this choice to include more resources and services (such as tutors, online courses and local activities) could help.

But an even more radical (and better) move would be to reduce government involvement in education altogether, preferably down to zero. Of course, such a move should not come in isolation, but as part of a comprehensive policy reform package that re-allocates activities throughout society.
[source]

Eventually, prices of services will come down to such an extent that no vouchers may be necessary, but it's hard to predict how things will eventuate. That's the very essence of NOT prescribing how the education system should operate in detail, but instead leaving room for competition and customer choice to sort things out. Alternatively to prices becoming so low that good schools will be affordable (even to the poor) without vouchers, the poor may be less interested in classroom teaching and instead prefer apprenticeships, trainee programs, online self-learning or self-employment combined with on-the-job learning. Initially, the key is to create differentiation, so that people will be able to choose those alternatives that work best, while competition will ensure that services improve in quality and decrease in price.
[source]

Doesn't that imply that vouchers take away the choice of public school?

Such an interpretation of choice is only a perversion of its meaning. Choice should be in the hands of the parents. Parents have and should have the choice as to what education their children should get.

The reality is that public school seeks to create robots that walk in line with the deceptive rhetoric and outright dictatorial values that have been forced down the throats of our children for generations. Politically, it is the opposite of choice. Vouchers, by contrast, do create choice.

Public school thus forms part of an education system that stands for the very opposite of choice. This education system teaches that monopoly was the only game in town. It takes choice out of the hands of people, as if families shouldn't have choice as to how they wanted their children to be educated. More than any other school, public school constitues a straitjacket that fits nobody, yet claims to be the "standard" and "model" for all.
[source]

The opposite of allowing people to make up their own mind is to take as many decisions as possible out of their hands and centralize control over society into something called government. By definition, government is the opposite of choice. Some governments are worse than others, some do allow people no choice at all. But the very essence of government is that it decides, rather than that it allows people to look after things. [source]

Should school vouchers be seen as one big privatization scheme of public schools?

Vouchers should be seen as one step towards eventually ending all government's involvement in education, but we need to do so as part of a broad reform package that takes many things into account.

Here are some questions that will prompt us to think beyond vouchers. Why should families without kids pay tax to fund the school habits of other families? Also, vouchers still determine which type of activities are funded, which implies government bureaucrats determining the academic curriculum to a large extent. Apart from the curriculum, it also implies setting standards for entry into certain professions. Currently one cannot set up a practice as doctor or lawyer without having certain degrees. One of the biggest closed-shops is the education system itself.

Another area that must be looked at is the way universities, specifically scientific research, is linked to the military-industrial complex. Personally, I believe that too many people focus on relatively easy and straitforward parts of the reform package (like vouchers), without seeing the entire picture. Splitting up the military is just as urgent as, if not more urgent, than educational reform.
[source]

Private versus public ownership is another discussion. This here is a discussion about a split-up and more direct choice. That is inherently more in line with our rights. Furthermore, there's plenty of indications in economics that a monopoly is not the best way to go.
[source]

Ownership is not the main issue of this debate. Large public schools could be split up into multiple smaller ones, each remaining in the hands of the goverment. The debate is which is the best way to go. Two arguments in favor of a split-up are that, when there are multiple organizations, people have choice, which is more in line with our rights, while economics also tells us this works better. Initially, tax deductions could be given to those who directly pay for the services they want, while the poor can make choices by means of vouchers. But that's a matter of implementation.
[source]

[A large public school] is currently owned by government, so if it's split up, the resulting pieces will still remain government-owned. I propose a split-up. Whether the resulting pieces should remain entirely owned by government is another discussion. Perhaps some or all shares of some or all of these pieces could be sold, perhaps new shares could be issued that could be bought by investors, there are many different scenarios, but that's another discussion.
[source]

A corporation can be either publicly or privately owned. Incorporation means that it becomes a separate entity with its own accountancy. [This] provides better accountancy and accountibility. If a corporation behaves badly, it will go broke. If a corporation does a good job, rewards will come its way.
[source]

Initially, government (at various levels) will continue to be the sole customer, but these corporations should gradually be allowed to offer their services to families who want to pay for the education of their children directly.
[source]

Tax deducations for money spent by a family on the education of their children is something that should also be comtemplated as a step in the right direction.
[source]

In such cases, they can deduct such costs from tax, since government no longer needs to collect taxes and pass on payments to the respective service providers - this effectively cuts out the middle-man. The poor could be given vouchers to ensure that they can also benefit from choice in the provision of such services. Anti-racketeering laws and anti-trust and cartel legislation will need to be extended to those new service providers. All this reform can take place without necessarily privatizing any of these corporations.
[source]

Progressively, tax deductions and vouchers will enable more direct provision of [education] services by such corporations to a variety of customers. Government as a customer will thus gradually decrease in importance, as other customers (including companies, non-profit organizations, families and individuals) proportionally take an ever-larger share of the market
[source]

The above legislative reform is one part of [the greater need for accountibility of service providers], a second part is that indemnity provisions against liability and litigation will need to be removed (and possibly replaced by insurance coverage).
[source]

What if schools or teachers abused the trust of parents? Isn't commercial pressure inappropriate in education? How can we prevent collusion arbitrarily driving up prices? Shouldn't we have a well-regulated education system?

Well regulated implies that fair trading laws apply and that anti-racketeering laws are imposed, as well as anti-trust and cartel legislation. Dictators may apply arbitrary law, but my proposal is in the opposite direction, i.e. to let people choose the services they want. More direct choice is principally more in line with our rights, independently of what services people decide to choose. If families are given a choice - through vouchers - as to the kind of school they want for their children, then that is principally more in line with our rights. If people can choose the car they want, or the groceries, that is principally more in line with out rights compared to having some political committee chairman, dictator, wizzard or charlatan making that choice. [source]

Incorporation means that it becomes a separate entity with its own accountancy. [This] provides better accountancy and accountibility. If a corporation behaves badly, it will go broke. If a corporation does a good job, rewards will come its way. [source]

Competition will ensure that providers of services will have less opportunity to deceive customers. When there's more competition, customers can and will demand that suppliers make their offers on clear terms.
[source]

Additionally, when choice is applied to schools, that will in itself lead to better security. As parents get more choice as to the school they want their children to attend, schools will have to provide better security for the children. If a school doesn't act on, say, a bullying problem, children will leave and go to a school that better tackles bullying.

The availability of a number of different organizations from which customers can choose will lead to better quality services, lower prices, more innovation and efficiency, etc. It's also more in line with our rights.
[source]

Are vouchers the ultimate solution? How can you advocate vouchers and at the same time complain about government involvement in education? Why not tell poor families to go homeschooling?

Poor families where both parents have to work are not in a position to homeschool. They've got to work hard to cough up the taxes that government imposes on them.

As I've always said, vouchers are a step in the right direction. It's certainly better then having government fund public school directly, no questions asked. But more generally, I propose reform that includes removal of government from education altogether.
[source]

Vouchers would be a vast improvement, they benefit poorer families who couldn't otherwise afford the education they want for their children. But even better would be to remove government from education altogether. There is no evidence that government is a better teacher, in fact, families vote with their feet when given a choice! Without government involvement in education, children would learn more and better, AND there would be greater prosperity for all. Money that is now wasted by government on inferior education could be spent much more prudently, resulting in a stronger economy with more opportunities for young people to learn and work. [source]

Another thing is that vouchers typically must be spent on school fees, i.e. it is a rather restricted choice. School is not necessarily the best choice, and by restricting the use of vouchers to schools, religious schools are likely to end up with most of the voucher funding, which does bring up the question again whether government funding should focus on secular education.

Alternatively, if tutors could be hired and educational resources could also be bought with vouchers, more choice would be available. Many more activities could be viable, if they could be partly funded with educational vouchers.

Or why not take one further step and reduce government's involvement in education altogether. If you are happy to fund schools, go ahead, but why should I be forced to pay for kids to be indoctrinated with ideas that I oppose?
[source]

I'd prefer to get rid of both government involvement in education and taxation altogether, but we also need to look at other areas, like health care, etc. The current education system provides entry tickets into closed professions such as doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, dentists, pharmacists and vets, showing once more that we cannot isolate one area from other areas. In my view, reform in security services is needed most urgently.
[source]

Google Groups Discussions - at Humanities