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School Vouchers: Education Choices Multicultural Vocational Education for a Pluralistic Society EDS 114, Summer 2000 S. Carinci August 18, 2000 School Vouchers: Education Choices The concept of educational vouchers was brought to public attention several decades ago with Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who promoted it as a technique to improve the educational system (US News and World Report, 1998, p.25). The voucher plan, although differing across the country, generally intends to improve the schooling opportunities available to the minorities and the poor by increasing their ability to enter private schools while simultaneously encouraging the building of new schools outside the current bureaucratic structure. Currently, public schools are supported by a combination of taxes collected by state and local governments. The voucher plan turns this system upside down by continuing to collect the taxes, but then immediately distributing them completely to parents to decide which school should be funded.

It creates a controlled market in which schools compete for students and students enroll in schools that best accommodate their needs. The vouchers would more or less be equal to the current expense level per pupil in public schools. Generally school vouchers are supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. Needless to say, the voucher has become a significant source of debate.

The Republican Party and other advocates of the plan argue that vouchers free disadvantaged students from flunking public schools and that they also spur public schools to improve by creating competition for students. In the June of 1998, a poll conducted by the Organization and Phi Delta Kappa, a professional education association, showed that 51% of Americans favor vouchers while only 45% oppose them (Majority, 1998,p.857), "It is public school's moral culture and not merely a concern with academic quality that underlies the controversy over...