School vouchers are used in redirecting the flow of education funding from government to private sector rather than its own schools. The funds are channeled directly to individual families giving them access to private schools. This allows families to select the public or private schools of their choice and have all or part of the tuition paid by the government. Two important features of school vouchers program are the increase in parental choice in selection of an educational institution and increased competition between public and private schools.
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• James S. Coleman (1990) argues in favor of school vouchers that the advantages gained be the competitive environment whereby all participants are free to carry on with their own strategies and policies. Public schools in this country or anywhere else in the world are mostly plagued by mismanagement, inefficiency, and corruption.
• Rich families can afford private schools for their children. Therefore, the poor should also be given an equal opportunity to afford and study at an equally competitive school. They can offer much more flexibility in their choice according to their needs and preferences.
• Governments do not propel the atmosphere of being a caring elder who knows the ills of its young ones. It has to show devotion and should be intellectual enough to educate our young people.
Arguments against School Vouchers
• Government should be able to handle the public schools efficiently and ensure their competitive outputs at par with the private schools. It has the responsibility towards its citizens to create a just, equitable and efficient public education system.
• By using school vouchers the government is trying to avoid its responsibilities. Such a program will allow private organizations to compete along with the lines of cost-cutting and suggestive marketing strategies rather than on educational grounds.
• Vouchers used to be in the promotion of discrimination since religious schools integrate religious curriculum also. Vouchers will result in publicly supported employment discrimination as only religious schools are allowed to hire co-religionists.
• Private schools severely limit parental choice. They are the ones who have the real choice concerning which children are to be admitted and which are not.
• Vouchers result in tax dollars flowing to private sectarian schools, which account for 85 percent of the total private school enrollment in the United States. These schools serve as arms of religious ministries and integrate religious values and doctrine throughout their curriculum, indoctrinating students on controversial subjects such as abortion, creationism and the role of women in society.
• It has been argued that public education system has the ability to instill understanding for wide-ranging positions, freeing students from intolerant and rigid traditions. It does not bind children with specific norms and culture of a particular mindset representing the owners of a private organization.
• Public schools must accept all children regardless of academic ability, physical handicap or family background. Private schools on the other hand are not under any compulsion to do so. Diverting money from public schools to private schools will not achieve this goal, but will hurt the nation's public education system.
• Private organizations preach their own religious or social agendas and therefore the uniformity of basic education gets scattered. In a country that separates church and state, it would be improper for tax dollars to be used to fund a religious education.
• Government-funded scholarships would not create a genuinely free educational market and would make people dependent on government funding.
• Opponents of voucher systems argue that the higher level of academic performance in private schools is the result of sample-selection bias.
Carnoy, Martin advocates that school vouchers have been trying to persuade the governments that private schools supported by public funds actually can do a better job than public schools in educating the children. Vouchers provide the poor with an opportunity to approach smaller classes and better teachers. A more structured private-school environment with smaller classes and higher-achieving peers and motivated teachers can increase the student performance.
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