Why I Support School Choice
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a think tank that "supports private enterprise, limited government and personal responsibility," offers the following policy analysis:
The program was designed to provide participating families with a 50 percent financial scholarship (in the form of a voucher) toward the tuition cost at a school of the parents’ choice, either public or private. The other half of the tuition would have to be paid by the family.
Despite the availability of a “free” education at their assigned public school, many times more low-income families applied to participate in the program than could be accommodated. Within the first week of the program’s announcement, CEF received more than 500 applications for the 200 slots, and was forced to cut off applications when the number reached nearly 1,000...
Georgia State University’s Policy Research Center conducted a survey of the parents of 95 CEF scholarship students...When a low-income family is required to come up with half of the cost of tuition, as is the case with the CEF program, that family must be extraordinarily convinced that a different school will greatly benefit the child...
The survey...found that with incomes only slightly above the poverty level, these families were willing to do whatever was necessary to pay their half of the tuition. For example:
- 26% cut other expenses
- 21% added work hours or took second jobs
- 13% received some financial help from relatives or friends
- 8% became employed at their children’s schools
Here's the kicker:
My sister and I were able to attend private Jewish day schools from pre-school to 12th grade because of the generosity of organizations like The Children’s Education Foundation and its donors. My parents are among those cited who paid for the other half of the tuition with financial help from relatives and by doing clerical work at our school.
Before I began writing extensively online, a vanity google search of my name would bring up this article as the first result. It remains a proud testament for why I support school choice -- preferably funded by civil society, but diverted from public school funding if need be.