Tax Dollars Should Not Be Used For Private schools

Should parents be allowed to choose their children’s schools? This is a question that goes much farther than simply just choosing schools. Do parents really have a choice? Some parents can afford to send their kids to a private religious school but some don’t have the funds to do this. Some say that the government should offer tuition vouchers so that the poor and minorities can have a choice. This seems to be a good idea but there are many debates in whether or not it is constitutional. In the following I will discuss why vouchers are a horrible idea.

Vouchers are plans that allow tax dollars to be used for tuition at private schools, including religious schools. The government pays for each and every citizen in America to go to school. They pay for students to go to a public school within their area but sometimes the public schools in some areas are not very good such as the inner city schools. The idea of vouchers would allow poor students to have the chance to go to a better school and rise out of poverty. Some of the questions that are being asked are will they actually help the low class or will they only help the more advantaged students? Another question is if vouchers are constitutional or not, and have there been any experiments with vouchers yet.

Right now there are two programs providing public dollars to pay tuition for low-income students to attend private schools, in Milwaukee and Cleveland. Both include religious schools. These are considered to be experimental programs. These programs have been looked at and the problem so far that seems to be the most apparent is the fact that vouchers may just benefit the more advantaged. According to the Ohio official state evaluation (Metcalf 1998): "Scholarship students who accepted a scholarship to move from the Cleveland public schools to a private school were achieving at higher levels of achievement than their public school peers before they entered the program. Thus, it appears that the scholarship program attracted better achieving students away from Cleveland public schools." Another study from the National Education Association says "students in Milwaukee’s SAGE class-size reduction program out performed regular public school students and voucher students in reading, and did as well in math."

The purpose of vouchers is to create a choice for parents. With vouchers that choice is not guaranteed. According to a study by the National Education Association throughout recent history the percentage of students attending public and private schools have remained constant (89%) public and (11%) private (Education 58). The one thing that sets private schools apart from public schools is the fact that public schools must accept any student that wishes to attend no matter what. A private school however can choose the students they want. Private schools only want the best students and they don’t have the capacity to accept large amounts of pubic school students. So where is the choice? To me it sounds like the only people that will advantage from vouchers are the elite students and the only ones that are getting a choice are the private schools.

If the voucher proposal should pass public schools are going to suffer. It is proven that that they hurt the majority of students whom stay in public schools. According to the National Education Association "In 1998-99, public funding for some 6000 voucher students resulted in a loss of over $22 million in state education funding for the Milwaukee public schools. In the same year, Cleveland public schools lost $9 million in state funding, plus another ten million in administrative and transportation costs-taken largely from state funding earmarked for disadvantaged public school students"(Education 60). How can the public schools even come close to competing with private schools taking losses like this? This is yet another reason why vouchers are a bad idea.

Now comes the question. Are vouchers constitutional? The answer is no. According to An article called Are School Vouchers Constitutional? "The First Amendment of the Constitution means this: Neither the state nor federal government can set up a church. Neither can aid laws, which aid on religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another... No tax in any