Sunday, October 22, 2006

School Vouchers - Good for Education?

Link to "Voucher group spends big in Iowa" - Des Moines Register

I have to admit I'm biased. So absolutely yes! We have made a decision to home education, and we are in our sixth year of doing so. I will be the first to say it isn't for everyone. There are definitely people who SHOULD NOT home educate. It is a calling.

I do feel everyone needs to be involved in their kids education regardless of where their children receive their education, whether it is at home, at private school, or in a public school. I also feel that parents need to be able to choose.

We chose to home educate because we felt especially in our children's formative years that we needed to be the primary influence in our kids lives. We did not want our children exposed for 7 hours a day to a teacher that may or may not support our values. Being in full-time ministry I am not in a position where we can send our kids off to private school either.

When it comes to vouchers I believe that it empowers parents to make decisions based on what is best for their children, not what they can afford. I believe that vouchers will improve the public schools systems because they will need to increase their effectiveness.

My only beef with the vouchers plan is that it doesn't take home education into account. Contrary to popular belief it isn't free. Curriculum is expensive and activiities can be expensive. So I feel that tax credits (or at the very least tax deductions) should be allowed for home education as well.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts - even if they are not caffeinated.


Anonymous said...

There are many - even in Christian education - who would suggest that vouchers are flawed in that government money always carries with it the risk of strings attached. I am hopeful that the tax credit movement gains steam. Giving tax credits for those who support nonpublic education fosters not only tax fairness, but eliminates government from the funding process.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Ah yes, very consistent with what you were saying at lunch yesterday. I agree tax credits are better than vouchers. The only problem is shoveling out money up front before you can get a tax credit. Lower income families would have a problem with this in the first year. Once they get past that first year provided they save the their refund and budget it would be manageable.