The voucher system, first introduced by Milton Friedman in 1960, is an example of capitalistic idealism: the state has a responsibility to provide solid education, it philosophizes, but not to monopolize the institution. The system suggests an end to public schooling with no deduction in tax dollars for educational purposes; instead, the cost of an average student’s education will be calculated and a voucher redeemable for private schooling in that amount provided for the parents of school – age children. This system, however justifiable to some, would be a counterproductive amendment to one of America’s oldest and most prided institutions: an amendment that would serve only to enable mulit – based segregation and would disable our children to be effective citizens.
If the voucher system passed legislation, all current public schools would presumably break into smaller private schools or would privatize as they are. These smaller schools would specialize in subject/career areas, such as architectural schools, chemistry schools, accounting schools, etc. While all traditional academic classes would be covered, the classes would present them with a focus on how they relate to the subject of the school. Many people in favor of the voucher system argue that in this way, students and parents are more determinant of their own curriculum, and with more power over individual education, student motivation for success in school would skyrocket. However, this is not necessarily the case. A good public school offers a variety of classes that pertain to individual interests, offering plenty of options to students. Motivational success is achieved through a supportive network of parents, teachers and friends – not through selective, unsupportive schooling.
Accepting the voucher system would be to accept school and job segregation. Because private schools can accept or refuse pupils on a subjective basis, a racist administration can institute a racist school community. Similarly, students may choose to attend schools with members of the same minority or majority based on personal comfort levels, thus restricting expansion of mind and thought. Because private schools can lawfully require tuition significantly more expensive than a voucher is worth, schools will be quite clearly segregated by social/economic class. Generally speaking, social/economic class can be representative of minority/race, as well. In a nation where a multicultural society is the past, present and future, the United States must work to overcome racial and social barriers, instead of creating them.
The purpose of education is to teach young people to be effective citizens as adults. In order to be an effective citizen, one must be able to think in a variety of ways, such as logically, scientifically, mathematically, critically, irrationally, emotionally, objectively, spontaneously, analytically, etc. Specialized, private schools tend to zone in on one type of thinking, neglecting the rest. This lack of a well-rounded education, resulting in narrow thinkers, will mark the beginning of the decline of our nation.