The following emanates from having experienced a walk of forty four plus four years through the halls of public education.
It is the nature of many who occupy positions in the walled towers of government and the ivory towers of intelligentsia to claim for themselves the mantel of superior problem solvers for all other people. Well meaning as some may be, their approaches ofttimes create more problems than they solve. As it is viewed here, the school choice/voucher idea runs a great risk of falling into that category.
These are a few of the problems that must be resolved, either before or after the passage of such federal legislation. State plans of the same nature face most of the same issues, but that could be the topic of a slightly more specific discussion. Of a certainty, anyone of a mature and open mind would not feign alarm if the responses to most of the questions happened to arouse a vigorous exercise of the litigious nature of today’s society.
Foremost, is it even within the enumerated powers of the federal government to directly provide taxpayer funds to selected individuals?
Will any student in any school be eligible for the choice and voucher?
If not, what will be the criteria for individual student qualification?
What if the receiving schools reach maximum enrollment, and there are still other students who qualify?
What if there are no receiving schools within reasonable accessibility?
Will the plan be applicable and practicable only in urban areas?
If that is the resolution, where is the equal protection under the law?
Will receiving public schools be responsible for equal rights of transportation?
If students have established records of disruptive behavior, must receiving schools be compelled to enroll them?
Will receiving schools be permitted to dismiss incorrigible students?
Considerations specific to private school enrollment:
What if the amount of the voucher is insufficient to cover tuition?
- If some can provide the remainder and others cannot, will the law be discriminatory?
- If the law provides increased payments for the less fortunate, who decides who is less fortunate?
- And where will that line be drawn?
- If the private school does not furnish transportation, who will furnish it for the less fortunate?… And if it is not furnished, how can those students avail themselves of the school choice?
Will private schools be allowed to:
Set standards of admission? Determine curriculum? Display religious symbols? Engage in daily prayer? Require classes in religious doctrine? Teach biblical moral standards?
Will private schools be held accountable for dropouts?
Will private school students be required to master federally mandated tests? If not, how can there be “accountability”?
Overall, if voucher students regress or show scant improvement:
Can the law and expense be justified?
Will the receiving school then suffer some degree of condemnation?
And, most heavily, will the final results justify the enormous cost of another large and probably “perpetual” bureaucracy?