Dr. Donna Campbell has stated that “School choice and competition should also play a fundamental role in our education system. No child should be forced to attend a school that isn’t up to community standards. School vouchers are a proven way to empower families as they seek to build a better life for their children.” Her opponent in the race for Texas Senate District 25 this fall is opposed to vouchers because he says “all vouchers do is further drain public education funding for kids whose parents can’t afford to pay the extra money necessary to send them to private schools because the voucher doesn’t pay the full tuition.” The idea of school vouchers has been around for over 50 years and many studies have been performed to evaluate the concept so let’s look at the facts.
Our current public educational system has not changed significantly in 200 years; a teacher stands before a seated class and instructs by various methods. Further the system is about as socialistic as can be imagined with the school districts essentially being the fiefdoms of federal government administrators and union officials. Our educational system stratifies our population where those gifted in IQ will rise to the top regardless of our schools while those less gifted in our outdated ineffective educational system will remain at an economic disadvantage. Worse yet their standard of living will suffer because we are now in a global economic environment where people with educational skills will reap the economic benefits regardless of where they live. The only solution to raising the education level for all Americans is to create a free market for education where competition for students leads to innovation in teaching, improvement in skills for all students, and reductions in the cost of education.
A recent study has just been reported on “The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City”. In their words “In the first study, using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, Matthew Chingos and Paul Peterson, professor of government at Harvard University, examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. They find no overall impacts on college enrollment but do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African-American students who participated in the study.
Their estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent.” This comprehensive study shows that a voucher program for disadvantaged minority students will have a significant effect on the educational skills achieved. Is this not the objective we should all seek?
Dr. Campbell’s opponent cannot seek this objective by supporting a voucher program because being a Democrat he has to fall in line with the very powerful teachers union. His argument concerning cost is bogus because the cost of public education per student has risen to levels that exceed that of many private schools. Tax payers will pay less to educate their children when the system becomes a private free enterprise system.
The rest of us not required to follow the dictates of the teachers union can and must support a program that has the potential to change the outdated education system in our country. It is going to be very difficult and it will take years to convert the socialistic system in place to a private free enterprise system that delivers the greatest benefit at the least cost. Dr. Donna Campbell is right to support school vouchers and to do what she can to get this concept from the study phase to the implementation phase. It is going to take many small steps implementing various programs that demonstrate the benefits so that eventually public awareness and outrage will require the implementation of large scale voucher programs. Our state needs forward looking legislatures like Dr. Donna Campbell for this and many other important issues.