Originally Posted by SaltyPickles
i just dont get the argument that vouchers are bad because private schools wont take special needs kids. i dont think this is true, but even if it was, why couldnt the public school just continue doing what it is doing and educate these kids? the private school will be trying to make money. if there is demand for a really good program for special needs kids, why would they not offer it?
this is like you saying "Well, Mcdonalds will not want to sell flavored french fries even if people are lining up outside waving $12,000 french fry voucher checks".
also, did that guy seriously suggest that cause Google built a super school that cost 30k per child that they could never match the ability of the government to publically school our children? lol, wtf?
Clearly, we are trying to achieve different mandates with our systems. I agree with you that private companies could build some very good schools that would provide very good educations to some students.
However, if we relied on private companies to fulfill the same mandate that the government currently has (ie providing a compulsory basic education to every child in the country), market mechanisms would fail.
- There can never be perfect competition in the education market:
Many rural areas simply do not have enough potential customers to attract multiple schools nor do they have enough good teachers to permit 20 different schools to operate even if the demand were there. Given that there are fixed costs associated with running a school, if you only have enough teachers or students to profitably support one school in a given market, then, guess what, there will only be one school in that market.
- It costs no more to make a hamburger for you than it does to make a hamburger for me. However, the cost of our education might be very different because of the nature of the classes we want to take/the amount of 1 on 1 instruction, whatever. If a voucher is paying out the same amount for every student, for profit schools will naturally tend to accept the low cost students and reject the higher cost students so that they can make more profit, right? This seems pretty self evident to me.
- It is not as easy to switch schools as it is to decide to buy my hamburgers at Five Guys instead of McDonalds. Kids develop attachments to other students and teachers and may not want to switch schools even if another school is better. Parents often prefer schools that are closer to home or work over ones that are farther away. Different curricula might mean that switching schools between grades could put a student at a disadvantage relative to their peers because the new school teaches material in second grade that the old school didn't plan on addressing until the third grade.
- Finally, wrt the Google example, you threw out a simple statement, unsupported by any facts, that Google could do a better job at education than the government. I provided concrete proof that Google has already tried to get involved in education and that its experiment succeeded on one metric (quality) in failed in two other key aspects (cost containment and universality).
So, if your argument is that private companies can produce good schools, I agree. If, however, the argument is that voucher systems would be a feasible way of fulfilling the government's current responsibility to provide basic universal education to every child, I don't buy it.