must be put into public schools, not taken
Brian Chatman is a sophomore
news-editorial journalism major from Fort Worth.
It seems that with
every election, someone claims he or she is the champion of education.
This year, schools have not gotten better most areas are stagnant
or have fallen in quality of education.
What should you do? Pack up your family and move to a gated community
where all the houses look the same and send your kids to a private
Apparently people seem to think that hiding behind a wall will solve
problem. The latest version of this, of course, is the school voucher
program. On the surface, it seems like a great idea. The government
has a figure that they say is the amount spent per student in your
local public school. If your child makes the grades and passes the
test, you can take that money out of your local school and put it
into a private institution.
Sweet deal! We get our taxes back and it will pay for our childs
private education away from those hooligans in public schools. I dont
pretend to know exact dollar amounts, but the last I heard on the
news was that the vouchers allow for around $2,000 per student. Tuition
for local private schools is much higher than that. The largest private
school in Fort Worth (which shall remain nameless) has tuition in
excess of $10,000 a year. Even smaller private institutions are approaching
$9,000 per year.
So where is the rest of the money going to come from? Some of these
schools do offer scholarship programs, but what if you dont
qualify? Well take out a bank loan! So you put your child into a private
institution from kindergarten to graduation with a bank loan of $120,000.
Disregarding the fact that tuition increases every year, that still
costs as much as a fairly nice home. Apparently if deficit spending
is good enough for the U.S. government, it is good enough for the
private citizen. Dont want to do that? Use your personal retirement
money. Thanks to the Enron Corp., we all know your 401(k) is safe.
Translation: The well-to-do get to stay in their private schools for
a discount, and the majority of the lower class stay in a public school
that has less money than before.
Schools everywhere are suffering from a lack of funding. Teachers
dont get paid enough to care about every student that walks
through their door. Students are learning from textbooks that are
out of date and uninteresting. So if the teacher just teaches out
of a textbook instead of engaging the students, and the students dont
have up-to-date material, who ultimately suffers? Society as a whole.
SAT scores set an all-time low last year. If the government should
do anything, it should be an increase in funding to get better teachers
and materials into the system, not take money out.
Conservatives have said that the public school system is a monopoly
that must be broken up. Look around and you find several private schools,
proving options do exist for those with the money for it. Public schools
are not a monopoly, they exist to give those that may not have the
money for private school a quality education. With that education,
they can become informed voters and productive members of society.
And just maybe, they will be able to send their children to private
schools, move into a homogenous, gated community, and get away from
those ruffians that plague our public schools.