School Vouchers

Contrary to what the new "conservatives" would have us believe, vouchers do not provide school choice for parents -- the private schools can skim off the cream of the crop and reject the rest.

Parents whose primary goal in having children was to demonstrate to the world that their plumbing works will let their children fail to thrive and thus perpetuate the growing underclass, the disadvantaged who remain unable to escape the bonds of poverty, lacking the skills to find useful employment.

The original (and still valid) justification for public education was to ensure that future citizens have the background to understand issues and participate in government. Allowing parents to isolate their kids in small private schools, hiding the realities of the world from them, does nothing to make this a better country.

Ideally, all children would attend schools together. Then they would grow up understanding that not everyone gets a new car every other year, we're not all the same color, we don't all go to the same church, the kid who can't throw a ball may be a gifted artist, etc. Some of us can read a page in 30 seconds, others may stare at it for an hour. By getting to know all the members of our diverse society, they would learn that although we're not identical, we all have hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and the potential to be a productive part of society.

In areas where the schools are supposedly unfit or unsafe, the collective wealth should be distributed in a way that these schools are repaired and provided with security so that all students have an equal opportunity to learn. Why should schools in the suburbs have swimming pools, lighted tennis courts and TV studios while inner city schools lack textbooks and basic furniture?

D. W. Thomas July 2001