Vouchers: Responding to Rep. Kay McIff, part 2
Last week, Republican Rep. Kay McIff submitted ten reasons why he is opposed to vouchers in a guest editorial in the Standard Examiner. Click here to see part 1 of our response to Rep. McIff.
Today, we respond to some other points Rep. McIff raised in his guest editorial.
"Point 5, Escape and abandon: First and foremost vouchers are vehicles to escape from schools deemed unacceptable . . ."
"Point 7, Stratification: The free market produces winners and losers . . . The result is enormous disparity."
Parents already "escape and abandon" public schools deemed "unacceptable" by moving into neighborhoods where public schools are deemed acceptable. Every morning as we leave our homes in suburban Salt Lake County, we pass by groups of middle class white children waiting for the school bus to take them to nearly all-white middle class public schools. When we arrive at our offices on Salt Lake City's west side, we see immigrant Latino and African children waiting for a school bus to take them to non-white low income schools.
Voucher opponents like to talk about the egalitarian nature of public schools, but very few institutions in America -- and Utah -- are more segregated than public elementary schools, and the disparity in school performance is enormous.
Voucher opponents cannot criticize Utah's voucher program on the grounds that it will cause stratification because this process has been occurring for decades within the public school system and nothing -- including busing and additional funding for schools in low-income areas -- has reversed this trend.
Moreover, since the voucher is means-tested, the bulk of voucher dollars will be going to low-income students, not high-income students. By giving financially viable education choices to low-income students, education stratification is reduced, not increased.
Coming soon, part three: Is competition a bad thing for education?