Wednesday, October 2, 2019
The Boondoggle of Vouchers and School Choice :: Argumentative Persuasive Topics
The Boondoggle of School Choice The summer before my freshman year of high school, my suburban school district decided to implement a new school choice program developed for the state of Massachusetts. It is a program-limited choice similar to many others around the country. Schools offer a certain number of spaces in each class for "choice students," that is, students from other towns who wish to attend the school. Students apply and enter a random lottery system. If they are chosen, they become legally-enrolled students at the new school. The costs of the program are covered by the child's hometown or subsidized by the state. The logic of the program (and all other choice programs) is that it offers students the ability to attend better schools than those in their hometowns. School choice is lauded as the great white hope of American education. "Let's give those kids a chance!" "Let's take control of our children's education!" Supporters claim that school choice will not only save our students, but it will also save our schools. Schools will be forced to improve their programs to remain competitive. Soon, all students will be attending the schools they want to, and all schools will be worthy of their students. School choice is the panacea for the problems of American education. Or at least that's what the proponents of the program tell us. Unfortunately, they leave out a few crucial points. School choice will not be the saving of the American mind. It is a desperate attempt to patch up the problems of our system by offering a few students a new option and calling it salvation. One is reminded of a great juggling act, where if a few students are shuffled around, we may not notice the others falling to the ground. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . . Let me stress that I am not speaking as a bitter product of the system who feels that school choice has hurt her educational experience. When it was first installed in our school, a number of parents, students and community members were outraged. They took a "not in my backyard" approach to the situation, bemoaning the influx of students from "bad schools." They thought that the innocence of our town would be lost, as students who were different from our sheltered community were admitted.