This piece isn’t about homeschooling, but the author uses it in considering the structure of how the American system of schooling works.
School voucher system has its benefits, 7 August 2007, Shreveport Times, Shreveport, Louisiana
Picture the local grocery store. Now, imagine it as “your store.” Not in an ownership sense, but the store you were assigned to based on your district. You pay a property tax that goes to fund this store. You are allotted a certain amount to spend each week or month which is sent directly to the store for use only at this store. …
But what if your store doesn’t carry a certain brand of something that you like? Or if it has bad management and the floors are not kept clean and produce is not so fresh? No problem, I just find another store. Do you? Remember, the money you paid in taxes will stay at your store.
If you wish to go elsewhere, it will have to come out of your pocket. Now you end up paying double for the service you want. Not a bad deal if you can afford it, but if you can’t? Oh well, I guess I will just stay here and hope my store gets better.
Sound odd? We wouldn’t accept this in our grocery store. Why then do we do this with our children? … No choice, other than to move to a different neighborhood, or pay for a private school. Even if we home school, the money paid into the system remains there for the assigned government school.
I have to stop reading there, because the local grocery store analogy breaks down when we get to whose money stays at the store, and who gets to use the store.
With school funding parcelled out as it is now, all taxpayers are tapped for school funds regardless of whether they are parents of public school kids, private school kids, or homeschooled kids. But the funders are not restricted to parents of school-aged children. The funders include everyone, to include people who have no way to use the schools because they either have no children, or their children are grown or elsewhere.
At least with a grocery store, the old folks could pick up their Polident and Depends, the child-free folks could swing by for a liter of wine, a chunk of cheese and thou, and the empty-nesters could say to heck with it all and go to a restaurant. None of these people derive any direct benefit from funding schools. (greater good isn’t part of this particular argument, at least not that I can tell)
If vouchers are instituted so that each person or couple paying in to the system can use the money any educational way they see fit, well, it may turn out that the rest of the people who are left out of the choosing of the choice could say, “Waitaminnit!”
The rationale for vouchers, or school participation by unenrolled children, is illogical if it depends on “I paid, I play.” If that’s the case, then — in anticipation of all those Teaching Company sales — I want my money, too.
posted by Valerie