School Vouchers

     To me, one of the most confusing concepts about this new budget is the idea of school vouchers. After research, I learned that school vouchers are basically money given to underprivileged kids that will pay for non-public school tuition. Governor McCrory allotted 10 million dollars in the new NC budget to pay for these vouchers. Each voucher is worth up to $4,200. Vouchers will be managed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) and families can apply for them starting February 2014. Only families that are below a certain combined income level are eligible to receive the vouchers. It is unconstitutional to provide state funding directly to private schools. Therefore, the funds will be sent to the parents who will then have to go to the school and endorse the document, which will allow the school access to the money. In order for a school to be eligible to have voucher students, they must run for nine months a year, require up-to-date immunization records, and administer nationally recognized and standardized achievement tests in third, sixth ninth, and eleventh grade. Legislatures that were in favor of the vouchers say that this program will save schools money because some students will switch to private education and that will cut down on expenses. Consequently, the government cut down on the public school’s per-pupil allotment by over 11 million dollars. However, further fiscal analysis showed that these vouchers will cost the state anywhere between five to 23 million dollars because some students who receive the vouchers would have paid for private schooling anyway.

     I disagree with this program. North Carolina has one of the lowest teacher salaries in the country and I think our focus should be improving that instead of switching to private schools. It is great that the government is helping lower-income students to get an education, but they already can with public schools and I think our focus should be improving those, the schools where the majority of students attend.  I went to public school my whole life and I don’t feel as though my peers who attended private school received a better education than me. Also, many private schools are religiously based. I think it blurs the lines of church and state to have taxpayers providing funds to schools who have religious themes. The legislature is misusing precious tax payer money in a way that is only beneficial to a small majority. 

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3 thoughts on “School Vouchers

  1. I definitely agree with your stance on this matter. I do not think taxpayer dollars should be going towards these private school vouchers. Going to a private school is not necessarily a necessity and I honestly think that it is frivolous to have a program of this sort in place. To me this program says, “Public schooling is not the way to go”. In a way the program falsely portrays public schools as mediocre in comparison to private schools. The money should obviously go towards public schools and programs that will build them up.

    Can you further explain the reasoning behind the politicians who think, “This program will save schools money because some students will switch to private education and that will cut down on expenses”? I would think that money would be lost with each voucher given out?

    Also what does the general public think about the idea of private school vouchers?

  2. Currently, North Carolina spends about $8,000 per student per year in the public school system. This number is called the “per student expenditure.” The vouchers are worth $4,200. So, each voucher will save the schools $4,000 on their per student expenditure. This is what politicians mean when they say the voucher program will save schools money.
    However, what they do not include is that the private school vouchers took 10 million dollars out of the public education budget. This 10 million dollars was used on teacher assistants and bonus pay for higher certifications, both of which are being cut. So in actuality, the vouchers are costing the education system money and jobs.
    Overall from my research I gather that the general public does not agree with the private school vouchers. One of the main reasons is because they do not like that their tax payer dollars are going to fund private schools, just like you said. I agree with you that this policy makes it seem like the government does not trust or support public schooling, which I personally think is a little ridiculous considering they are the ones who run public education.

  3. I totally agree!
    I think the funding of vouchers shows a transition towards a lack of trust for public education and, perhaps, for public institutions in general. I think that instead of allowing people to opt out of public school, the funds should be used to bring the schools up that are causing people to transfer away.

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