Do school vouchers serve the common good?
In answer to the above question, 65 percent of respondents said that school vouchers did not serve the common good. Many of these respondents noted that school vouchers could deprive public schools of funding and resources. “While school vouchers benefit the better students and more affluent students who have parents able to broach the financial gap between the voucher amount and the cost of private school, what becomes of the students with learning problems or who have a history of poor grades, the very students most in need of quality educators?” wrote Maggie Flynn of Florissant, Mo.
“They are left behind in districts that have been summarily stripped of resources and are, in effect, being shut out of education,” said Ms. Flynn. “Tax credits for middle- and low-income parents who choose private schools are fine. But taking away resources from the already sinfully underfunded public school to benefit private schools is wrong on every level.”
Ann Garry of Bremerton, Wash., said that she worried that the voucher system allowed some students, such as those with learning disabilities, to fall through the cracks. “Non-public schools don’t have to accept any student that comes to them. They are able to take ‘the cream of the crop,’ leaving students who need more help to the public schools. This creates more financial burden on public schools who must accept every child, regardless of ability or behavior, and provide instruction and services on reduced funding but are expected to meet ever-expanding academic expectations.”
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they thought school vouchers served the common good. “I feel parents should be able, no matter their income, to send their children to the school they feel is best,” said Beth Cornelson of Madison, Wis.
Many said that school vouchers promoted choice for families. “Parents can choose the best schools from a range of options, benefiting students and forcing all schools to be more competitive. Those on the margins of affording private school in a bad district won’t have to choose between a home and their children's future,” wrote Brendan Anderson of Hicksville, N.Y.