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June 1971

Memo from State
Mental Health and Some Other Health Bills
Elections & Campaign Regulations
Ethics Bills
Action - Get Out Your Pen and Send a Postcard
Testimony: Various Proposed Bills on Campaign Financing (Alice Scott)
Testimony: Ethics/Standards of Conduct Bills (Alice Scott)
Testimony: Senate Committee on Public Employment (Alice Scott)
Testimony: Public Health, Youth and Welfare (Gretel McLane)
Current Trends in Education: The Voucher System...
Study of Educational Complex Proto-Types
Testimony: House Education Committee (Helen Tamashiro)

Current Trends in Education:

QUESTION: SHOULD PARENTS BE ALLOWED TO "SHOP" FOR SCHOOLS? If so, what consumer labeling should schools be required to give?


The voucher system is revolutionary concept in American public education that would allow parents to use public money to buy an education for their children at any school they choose, public, private, or parochial. Under the system, the parents of all school age children would be given a voucher roughly representing their child's share of the public school budget. The student would turn in the voucher at the school he wanted to attend; the school then would turn it in to a government agency to collect its money.

The Expectations

Proponents claim the voucher system would:

  • allow more parent control and responsibility over the education of their children.

  • provide alternate choices for parents, especially low-income parents

  • help integrate children now "locked in" poor neighborhood and/or ghetto schools.

  • make all schools more accessible to all children

  • encourage schools to react to what people want and develop style of education that would attract and keep children in school

  • give parents some accountability

  • lead to an open market for elementary education. Schools would have to be good to survive.

  • permit the development of new independent community schools

  • not violate church/state separation because of built-in safeguards

Opponents of the Voucher System say that it would;

  1. mean tax support for segregated schools. This could mean segregation of all kinds: religious, cultural, and political us well as racial

  2. the proliferation of small inefficient schools would drive the cost of education far higher than the cost of providing the very best of public education for all children.

  3. be very difficult to administer

  4. cause school transportation costs to skyrocket

  5. cause some parents to be taken in by exaggerated advertising claims of schools operating for profit

  6. violate the principle of church/state separation

  7. cause low income, and ghetto parents difficulty understanding and using the system to their advantage

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