Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Favor Of...

One of the biggest (if not the biggest) line items in the state budget is the Department of Education. Despite this, it seems every school wants and/or needs more money, and teachers are constantly seeking raises. Then there's all the debates about prayer in school, creationism v. evolution, sex education, etc., etc., etc. Most of these issues would go away if parents had real school choice. The way it is now, however, you pay whether you use the public (government) school system or not. Then, you pay again if you send your kids to private school. And of course, if you homeschool you have lots of expenses as well.

I support a 100% tax credit for education expenses, whether you're paying for your own kids or someone else's, and whether you're an individual or a business. This would encourage corporations to create scholarships based on need, aptitude, etc. Credits are better than the other alternative, vouchers. There are a number of reasons why, but the two major ones for me are closely connected. First of all, a voucher means the government is "giving" your own money back to you, for you to use as it sees fit. Secondly, when the government gives you the voucher, it will undoubtedly come with strings attached, much as federal education or highway money does for the states. You will only be able to use the voucher at those schools that teach a certain government-approved way. This will simply continue the current problems with government schools and effectively gut what makes private schools different: alternative ways of teaching, using the Bible if a school wants to, etc. Vouchers will destroy what little choice we have left in the education of out children.