School Voucher Initiative

In The United States today, there is a broad consensus that the nationís
public education system needs improvement. Despite enormous budget increases,

American public schools are not adequately educating their students, inevitably
weakening the nationís future. Private and Parochial schools, however,
generally continue their tradition of education and discipline and produce
graduates properly equipped to meet the challenges of the workforce. A movement
aimed at correcting this disparity in the hopes of improving overall education
has recently been gaining momentum in the political and media arenas. School
voucher initiatives, will help revamp the education system by creating
competition between public and private schools and offering American parents and
students the freedom to choose the best school for their individual needs. Such
voucher programs, though not yet thoroughly proven, is consistent in promoting
the American ideas of independence, freedom, and free market competition, while
upholding both clauses of the First Amendment. The Current State of American

Education "In the United States, most public school districts make enrollment
assignments without regard to student or parent preference. Students are simply
assigned to the school nearest their home. While occasionally students can be
assaigned elsewhere for administrative reasons such as racial balance, the
administrators who determine enrollment generally do not consider the unique
aptitudes and interests of individual students and the learning environment that
would best foster their growth. School choice is non-existent. School vouchers
provide a comprehensive kind of choice that allows parents to choose from among
not only government schools but independent schools as well. While there are
several ways to create this choice, the one most proposed is through
state-issued vouchers worth up to a specified dollar amount when redeemed at
participating schools for tuition. School choice lets parents determine what
schools best meet the needs of their children. Parents may choose any qualifying
schools with space available, public or private, either within or outside the
district. The dollar then follows the scholar. Students choosing public schools
continue to receive state funding. Students opting for private schools may
receive state scholarships worth, under most voucher proposals, half the
per-pupil cost of public schooling. If a stateís system of public education
costs the taxpayers $6,000 per studentónear the national averageóa student
attending an independent school could receive a scholarship of $3,000. That is
more than enough to cover the tuition at most independent schools, a fact that
in and of itself speaks volumes about the state of U.S. public schools. School
vouchers dramatically increases equality of opportunity. Schools will be funded
only to the extent that parents voluntarily decide to enroll their children in
that particular school. Like private enterprises, the schools will need to
compete to satisfy their customers. No customer will be forced to accept
unsatisfactory performance." Agenda for America 131-133 Americaís public
education system is at a crossroads. Too many of our citizens are not educated.

Illiteracy has become a national epidemic. American students are scoring
significantly lower than their international counterparts on international
exams, and our Scholastic Aptitude Test scores have fallen dramatically, down
nearly eighty points in the past three decades. 1 America has the best-paid
educators and the least-educated teenagers in the developed world. America has
the best-organized teacher unions and the most chaotic schools in the developed
world. Agenda p. 127 A Harris poll of employers found that only 22% feel
todayís entrants to the workforce know math well. Only 12% feel that new
employees can write well. A mere 10% believe that graduates know how to solve
complex problems. Only 30% of emplyers tanked the overall education of current
students as positive. Source: Scan...NCPA #1 Education spending in constant
dollars has increased 12-fold since 1920. But in spite of longer school years, a
doubling of teachersí salariesí and dramatic downsizing in classrooms,
one-fourth of American children cannot, or can barely, understand written

English. Census data show public schools have become the second likeliest place
in America for a violent crime to occur. The solution is to unlock the
public-school door, so kids and parents can escape failed schools if they
choose. THOMAS #1 After more than a decade of national attention and reform
efforts, there should be little doubt that Americaís schools remain in crisis.

The number of college freshman taking remedial courses in reading, writing, and
math is rapidly accelerating. America\'s public school system was initiated in
the early 1900s by Progressive Era reformers who believed that a rational,
professional, and bureaucratic system--a "one best system"--could be
established to maintain certain standards of education for all of society.

Although such socialist thinking and economic planning have collapsed elsewhere
in the world--most notably in the former Soviet Union, China, and Eastern

Europe--we Americans