Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chile Has a Voucher Program For Its School System – What are the Results?

Well What Did You Expect?

In an earlier Post this Forum illustrated how Republicans are moving towards a system where the public school education provided to everyone would be no more.  The current guarantee that every child in the United States is entitled to a high school education would be replaced by a voucher system in which each child would be given a ‘coupon’ redeemable for tuition at a private school.  If the voucher wasn’t enough, and the student’s parents could not make up the difference, too bad.

Private School Vouchers Put Chile at the
Top of the List in Income Inequality
This system is a long term goal for Republicans, and it will happen slowly.  But we can take a look at the expected results by examining the situation in ChileHere is what that looks like in that country.

But most of the government’s efforts are directed at improving schools. Mr Beyer points out that, by the time they are ten years old, pupils’ performance already varies sharply with household income. That is partly because less than half of Chilean children receive any pre-school education. But it is also because the poor go to worse schools.

Pinochet left a voucher system in which the government runs no schools itself, but instead pays a fixed fee per pupil. But while private schools ask parents for top-up fees, most municipal schools do not. The Concertación government of Michelle Bachelet (2006-10) raised the voucher to $100 per pupil each month, and added an extra $50 for poorer children. But Mr Velasco, who was Ms Bachelet’s finance minister, says the voucher needs to double if poorer children are not to lose out.

So the Republican plan is really just a program to cut taxes for the wealthy by scrimping on public education, allowing a state subsidy for wealthy children to attend private schools, using government money to promote sectarian religions and dooming low income children to a life of inadequate education and low income. 

Yep, that sounds about right.

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