Vouchers And Education Essay Research Paper l

  • Просмотров 383
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 20

Vouchers And Education Essay, Research Paper l Gore vs. George W. Bush On School Funding Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush are whetting their stances on what is quickly becoming a central issue in the upcoming presidential election – education reform. Both perceive the issue as an opportunity to draw votes from the other party’s followers, especially Bush, who stands to gain ground on minority groups, a segment of the population he is particularly weak with. (Business Week; April 10, 2000) The heat of the debate will center on school financing, who gets what, and how much. Bush, an advocate of school “choice,” will argue the failings of a money-flooded system riddled with mediocre standards. The Texas governor’s policies rest well footed on past

accomplishments at home, where he had a significant impact during his term. Public schools in Texas improved dramatically over Bush’s watch. “Black and Latino children have made galloping gains in math and reading scores . . . narrowing the achievement gap that bedevils systems around the country,” cites The New York Times. (New York Times; Mar 27, 2000) Al Gore is no weakling on the issue of education, however. He plans to spend an unprecedented $115 billion over the next ten years to bring national schooling up to par with other industrialized nations. He is calling for larger teacher salaries, programs to aid underprivileged children, and preschooling for children over four. Like President Clinton, he strongly supports the National Education Association and funding to

improve struggling schools with substandard resources and technology. (The Economist; April 1, 2000) Both presidential candidates have a tough road ahead of them, though. America’s educational status among industrialized nations has slowly declined over the past thirty years, and now dangerously looms near the bottom. By twelfth grade ninety-five percent of American children score below the standards of twenty other rich nations, the greatest shortfalls existing among minority segments of the population where scholastic achievement has historically been quite low, especially in urban settings. According to The Economist, seventy-five percent of American ten-year-olds in the poorest public schools can’t yet read or write, and one in seven seventeen-year-olds are illiterate.

(The Economist; April 1, 2000) Poor performance amongst inner city schools and minority populations is not new news, however, and states have been fighting back with experimental programs, more school funding, stronger teaching standards, and student standardized testing. But even with all the efforts made to improve current educational failings, states have only realized limited successes; the US still lags far behind other leading nations. (The Economist; April 1, 2000) The lack of real progress has roused the attention of parents, politicians, and economists, all hungry for answers. In Florida, Illinois, Main, Vermont, and Ohio, experimental vouchers were enacted in an effort to liberate frustrated parents and politicians upset with local school conditions. The voucher system

is still quite controversial, however, and has met strong opposition from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Court rulings in favor of the NEA and AFT have complicated voucher systems even further. In Florida, the state’s supreme court ruled vouchers “unconstitutional,” arguing that the state didn’t have the right to use public dollars to finance private schools practicing religion. In Milwaukee, voucher regulations have zigzagged back and forth between courts and politicians since their implementation over six years ago. In every state now implementing school vouchers, Constitutional objections await court judgment. (Phi Delta Kappan; January 2000) So far, the United States Supreme Court has declined to address the issue, leaving