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Charter Schools & Vouchers
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School choice in the form of charter schools and vouchers result in the public funding of private schools and are not satisfactory methods of reforming public schools. According to Fuller (2010) charter schools came into existence through a proposed charter—either by the community, parents, educational entrepreneurs and educators—approved and authenticated by district board of education, university and college boards or the state board. They are independent and like any other public school they are voluntarily open and are supposed to be indiscriminative. They are acknowledged as public schools though with their own independent plans and curriculum designed for their target customers. Once approved, they are entitled to funding from the state on average daily attendance basis, that is, per enrollment and therefore they do not charge tuition fee. They are held accountable for their students’ performance and the maintenance of quality and standards as provided or outlined in the charter that brought to its existence.
Vouchers are also known as education vouchers and are certificates offered by the government to parents who have there children in private schools although they are still being taxed for public schools (Elizabeth, 2002). To avoid such a double expense, the government awards them an educational voucher to reimburse that expenditure. This is aimed to allow the citizen to choose the type of education they would wish to spend their taxes on without direct tax credits. These private schools also run independently according to their provisions, they charge tuition fee since they are run with private resources and money. Vouchers are subsidies and not type of schools in their own and the private schools they help in funding have their distinct curriculum. However, there are so many feelings and concerns raised about the perceived effect of charter schools and voucher system to the public schools, their economic effects, rationality and other general issues in various states and following is a discussion of those effects in relation to reforms in public schools.
According to Fuller, charter schools are a form of authority decentralization which entrust public resources and children’s education funds indecently to some group of individual (Fuller, 2010).this may be absolutely true since there are rports that some of the charter schools are turning out to be profit making institutions secretly instead of the outlined objectives in the endorsing charter. Although they are approved, their independent existence and curriculum is reasonably questionable and most of them find themselves being closed down due to their inability to attain their intended objectives thus have subjected public schools to some unnecessary competitions rather than reforms (Snyder, 1988).
These private schools are seen to have some elements of discrimination. Unlike the public schools which are bound by the law to accept any student from whatever race, religious affiliation, ethnical background or disabilities-private school are prone to such kinds of prejudice. Deep scrutiny show that a number of these institutions are either tribal or racial based which is inconsistent with the law. With these kinds of marginal lines children are subjected to these sorts of disparity that is not what any good school curriculum would second leaves public schools as the better options. Although charter school do not have the mandate to choose the ones to admit and ones not to, such bias have been evident also in the dark skinned communities in America. ‘The charter movement has contributed to implications of the modern state’s political foundations hence, charter school advocates for tribalism and particularistic in their interests’ (Fuller, 2010). Such stuff is not stimulant to reform public schools.
Elizabeth explains that switching from public system to voucher system would create some imbalance in the public system depending on the size of voucher (Elizabeth, 2002). Nevertheless, the voucher policies of funding private schools greatly threatens the amount of funding in the traditional public schools through reallocation of those funds due to high increase of parents choosing voucher plans and charter schools over them. Even if the voucher system is meant to lift the burden of parents who choose private schools education for their children, these vouchers are of a certain allowable amount. Putting into consideration that not all private schools charge the same amount of school fee means that the vouchers might be providing minimal or no help especially to poor parents while still depleting the public schools funding (Snyder, 1988).>
In spite of the above mentioned misgivings, completion is the best option to bring about reforms to the traditional public schools. Thomas Snyder states that the reform programs are ongoing in the United States and suggests market-based kind of reforms which entails an external competition to the traditional public school systems (Snyder 1988). The pressing accountability on the charter schools keep them determined to reach those standards of academic excellence required while independent of many unnecessary procedures and legislation makes these schools perform better than public schools due to too much concentration on heavy formal procedures and legislations thus calling for urgent reforms to restore their public trust.
Voucher policies and charter schools are also very helpful to children who come from poor families and cannot secure place in the public schools (Gill et al, 2009). These students have been found to perform well in such schools since the burden of tuition fee is taken care of. The government is also witnessed to be supporting them by providing the basis of their existence and the legal form within which they operates in order to instill the spirit of completion against the public schools for necessary reforms.
In conclusion, charter schools and private school voucher policies are evident to be putting pressure in the education sector thus stimulating various kinds of reforms due to the need to better the performances and quality of public schools education. Though, they play such a crucial role in stimulating reforms they are not currently the best sources or tools of reforms in the traditional public schools quality of education. The fact that these charter schools operate under minimal legislation which makes then vulnerable to inefficiencies and lots of malpractices like ethnicity and being turned into profit zones. Since most of the private schools are religious institutions, funding one means funding all religious schools to avoid the issue of state—endorsed religion thus violating the first Amendment of the separation of The Church and State. Only if new strategies and policies are put in place in relation to the running of these institutions and the appropriate mode of their funding, they are currently the best drivers to reforms in the public schools but a disturbing competition.
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