A new film has been released called “Won’t Back Down”, based on actual events, which advocates school choice as a model for improving education in America (Read The Article Here). Naturally, Teachers’ Unions have condemned the film as advocating a corporate takeover of American education. Apparently the Unions feel more comfortable with the government takeover of education which began in the 70’s and has made the quality of education steadily decline ever since.
School choice and school voucher programs give power back to the parents to decide what type of education their child will receive. In a pure voucher program each student would be given a yearly voucher which covers the entire, actual costs of education in a public school. The child and parents could then shop around for the best school in the area, and the money will follow the student. This means terribly run schools would receive fewer students while better run school with better teachers would receive more students. By forcing schools to compete against each other for students, schools will have no other choice but improve their quality and produce results, otherwise they lose their funding by pure choice of the parents and students who–rightfully so–do not want to attend a bad school.
This type of program would especially help minority and inner city students who often get stuck going to the closest school. Since many of these inner city schools have crime and drug problems, it is no wonder why parents of good kids would want to get their kids as far away as possible. Obviously these schools infested with gangs and violence cannot provide a good learning environment, and do not tend to attract the best teachers. Inner city kids with otherwise limited opportunity because of their failing area schools, would be opened up to a world of possibility, and given an “out” to escape the ghetto through education. To be against school choice and voucher programs is to be against upward mobility for good kids born into bad circumstances.
And while the majority of teachers do indeed have the best interests of the students at heart, the teachers’ unions are set up to protect the few, bad teachers. “In the United States 1/57 doctors lose their license and 1/ 97 lawyers are removed from the bar but only 1/2500 teachers lose their credentials.” Click here to read my summary of the documentary, “The Cartel”. It shows how money plays a role in keeping teachers’ unions powerful, while suppressing the benefits and success of school choice, voucher programs, and charter schools.