LETTER: Disagrees with Wesby on education

  • Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 6:58 a.m.

Disagrees with Wesby on education

Misinformed opposition to school reform (vouchers, tax credits) continues as evidenced by the column by Donna Moore Wesby.

First, is the belief that vouchers will drain funds from the public schools. This is true, but appropriate since fewer public school students will reduce operational costs, especially the number of required teachers.

Second, discrimination by private schools that accept public funding would be illegal, and no doubt vigorously challenged by the teachers’ unions and civil rights advocates.

Third, voucher programs were not begun to help the rich, but to rescue poor and urban children from dysfunctional and dangerous public schools, for example, in Washington D.C., New Orleans and Milwaukee.

Finally, the best traits of private schools have not been adopted by public schools because of persistent opposition by the education monopoly and the teachers unions. A case in point are charter schools, which enjoy some of the autonomy of private schools in the choice of curriculum and hiring and firing, but are accepted by the education establishment only in the case of undeniable public school failure, and then under-mined at the first opportunity.

Another erroneous belief is that private schools are unwilling to accept under-performing students. In fact, the most important criterion for acceptance is the student’s ability and willingness to function in a classroom setting. Students with behavioral or learning problems could be accepted by private schools, if public financial support were increased for them. If the tuition voucher amount is increased to the full cost of public education (the national average is $8,000 per year per student), then even the have-nots could afford a better education for their children.

Robert Kurzeja

Aiken

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