9/15/2004

School Voucher

The school voucher is the means of putting the power back into the hands of the consumer. Companies are forced to continually improve themselves in order to retain their costumers. For example, if a consumer does not like the service they received at a restaurant they can choose whether to ever return to the restaurant. If the restaurant is beginning to loose a substantial number of costumers they will have to make some improvement or go out of business.

Vouchers will give parents the ability to choose forcing schools that are not performing up to par to improve or close down.

4 comments:

John West said...

The idea of giving parents the right to choose their children's school is not a new idea. It has been going on for a very long time in that parents and their children have always had the ability to transfer around within the public school system. Often times a student will live within one boundary area and go to school in another.

However, the voucher system introduces the idea of giving parents the right to take their children out of public schools and into private ones. First of all, lets not kid ourselves, the public school system in Utah is inadequate to say the least. I'm not in the least bit saying that the teacher's are inadequate, but the funding for those teacher's and student's is such that we as a state are basically dead last in funding.
By implementing a voucher system public schools may get better in that less students will be there to distract from eachother, thereby giving the teacher more one on one time with each student that chooses to stay. In the end I believe that a private school education is not better than a public one.

Dr. Tufte said...

I have a conflict of interest, and will not comment on this issue.

daniel said...

Transferring from one school district to another technically is possible; however, it is very discouraged. In fact generally transferring school districts is not allowed without a valid reason.

Vouchers will make the good teachers in high demand. Thus the good teachers will be compensated better. Whether public schools are better or worse than private schools is not my argument. My argument is that if we let supply and demand play a larger role in our school systems the schools would run more efficiently, using what limited resources they have effectively like any other business.

Dr. Tufte said...

I worked on a team that finished a grant for the legislature about tuition tax credits on November 1. So, now I feel freer to talk about these issues with students.

As an economist, school choice is a no-brainer. This idea comes from economists, and we've been kicking it around for decades. The evidence is overwhelming that it works.

Why does it work? The same reason that Wal-Mart offers you multiple brands for most products - the competition keeps suppliers prices down while maintaining quality. If you have doubts about that, why didn't you ask that the government assign you to a college, rather than choosing SUU on your own? After all, they assigned you to schools for 13 other years, right?

Nonetheless, people argue about it. Unfortunately for teachers, their union representatives are acquiring a reputation for shoddy research. They report studies with much media hoopla that school choice is bad, and then they get shot down ... over and over again. But, their job is to defend their members, so this approach is understandable.

One issue that I think is definitely arguable as to whether or not school choice is a good thing is whether it is desirable for everyone to have a common body of knowledge. I think that is highly desirable. But, I don't think the public schools have done a good job of providing that. If they did, perhaps they'd have a new selling point.

So, you're probably curious what I did specifically regarding this tuition tax credit grant. If so, see my post over at my blog.