Educational quality

1. Should educational quality be allowed to differ based on family income? Should vouchers be allowed to supplement a tuition payment at a private school, with the result that some children’s quality of education would differ from other children’s? Discuss.

In an ideal world, all children would have the same opportunities for high-quality education. In much the same way that children do not choose the race and religion of their parents, children do not choose the income level of the family they are born into. Thus, it would only be fair that all minors would have equal opportunities for quality education regardless of family income.

A main dilemma is that between choice and equality. It can be argued that families should be able to choose where their children are educated; however, it can also be argued that everyone should have equal quality education, and that private schools undermine this ideal. One important consideration is that members of the public who can avail themselves of vouchers will no longer be interested in the quality of public education. A voucher system would create a dilution of public interest, which results in the deteriorating quality of public education. This creates a feedback loop, where the deteriorating quality of public education makes private schools (and vouchers) the preferred option, and where the availability of vouchers contributes to the deterioration of public education. Vouchers should thus not be allowed to supplement tuition payments at private schools.

2. Myra: I think voucher amounts should vary with household income. The more income, the less help-it’s only fair.

Fred: I think education should be free for everyone. Your income shouldn`t have any thing to do with how much voucher power you have.

Evaluate Myra`s and Fred`s ideas. If a voucher plan is to be used,should the voucher amount depend upon a person`s income?

Myra alludes to fairness in her argument. However, fairness can be viewed from another perspective—it can be argued that giving unvarying voucher amounts would be more fair, in the same way that the public school system, which is free for everyone (and not partially free when it comes to richer families), is presumably considered fair by the general public. In a sense, vouchers are simply an extension of the public school system. Ideally, the “voucher system,” in effect, should make private schools a part of the public school system, which means that vouchers (assuming that they are to be used) should be distributed in unvarying amounts. Thus, household income should not be a factor for the determination of voucher amounts to be received, in the same way that the religion and race of a child’s parents are not considered.