I'll Vouch for That
Johnny has an interesting time when he comes home from school. Mom and Dad are still at work, and there’s no food in the pantry.
He would turn on some television, but cable costs way too much, and video games are out of the question. So, Johnny picks up a book. He dives into what exactly it was that Einstein meant when writing his expositories on the since dubbed “Theory of Relativity”. J.K.
Rowling was simply a little too inapplicable for him, not to mention Tolkien and Stephanie Meyer. The next day, Johnny takes the ACT, and scores a solid 30. After looking at colleges, he discovers that schools offer some great scholarships for his hard work, but the “full rides” seem to be reserved to those students that have a resume boasting a private education and a 36. Johnny doesn’t go to college, and simply doesn’t make it as far as he could have. It is quite interesting to find that with all the private secondary education institutions in the United States, that the VAST majority of students are found in public school. When one really dives into the reasons why that is, they will find some interesting reasons why.
First, the cost. The cost of a private education is not for the lower class of American citizens. Second, people have many misconceptions as to what benefits one would gain from a private education. And finally, you have a combination of idealistic views on public education, and the political/governmental stigmas that surround a private education. The major emphasis that should be placed on this particular commentary is the financial aspect of a prospective student. According to the Council for Private Education, the average price of tuition for a private institution in the United States is $10,045 dollars a year.
Most in state colleges are just slightly less than that per year. The Council also notes that an average household income to afford such schooling must be approximately $75,000 a year. These particular numbers are also likely a bit conservative given the source. An important piece of information to note a comparison between public and private education cost. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost in expenditures per student in the United States at a public school is $11,467.
If the cost for a private education costs less at a private school, why would parents not be jumping at the idea of allowing the government to put tax money toward an education tailor fit for their son or daughter? If there is a single thing to be said about the public opinion of the United States school system, it’s that opinions vary. Many parents argue that schools don’t allow students to learn as well as they should. Others will say that the school constricts their child’s faith and evangelism. In fact, according to a Gallup Politics survey, only 16% of Americans believe that the No Child Left Behind Act benefits the nation’s education system. No matter what the opinion is on the school system, not many opinions align well.
What many people don’t realize is that by allowing the choice of a private school, the school one chooses will likely be at least close to what they are looking for in a school. Going along with that, many people believe that there is more harm done than there is good in a private education. According to an article written by The Eagle IView publications, the stigmas surrounding the private educations available to students are generally created by “a slanted view of the purposes of private schools, in particular, Catholic schools.” Too many people see the private school system as being nothing more than a public school with a uniform, school prayer, and a $10,000 a year bill, but as I have pointed out, that is simply not true. The best way to really drive home the importance of making private education more readily accessible is quite simple. The numbers don’t lie, and after reviewing a number of statistical pieces of data, I have realized a convicting truth.
The graduation rates at private high schools are much higher than that of public. The most convincing poll that illustrated this point was written by Derek Neal, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, and member of faculty research at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Neal writes that graduation rates are as high as 26% higher at Catholic high school institutions across America as a pose to public schools. Though the following statement has been widely criticized, Neal also writes, “Catholic and other private schools are, as a rule, more effective institutions of learning than public schools.” With no logical argument left standing regarding the benefit of public education, only one thing is left to be done: change.
As I mentioned before, the cost of a private education is astronomical for the average household. However, there is one major thing that can be done: allowing vouchers for a private education (essentially a tax receipt that allows families to apply their school taxation to go towards a private education). The way that vouchers that currently work in states that allow them provides little benefit to families needing financial boost for higher education. According to Desert News, vouchers only allow the roughly $3,000 in tax fees for public education go towards private tuition. But as I mentioned before, students cost the government over $11,000 a year, and that money could be applied to a private education. For the time being, that won’t happen, but there are a good number of families that could make private education possible with a voucher.
Unfortunately, the states that allow them only let financially needy families use them. The families that are approved for vouchers are in a financial need so great that the extra $3,000 is not enough, and thus, very few vouchers are being utilized. The good news is that we can do something about the financial crises surrounding middle income families . Almost every single year, the issue of school vouchers arises on ballots in most states. Year after year, the voters turn them down, not knowing the benefits that can be found. By letting people know the benefits to a private education, vouchers can one day become available to every family, and maybe eventually, the full student tax value can be applied to a private education.
As you can see, there are clear benefits to a private education. Though the financial problems incurred in receiving a private education are all-to prevalent, this hurdle can be met. The general opinion on private schooling is quite unfairly based, and the political purposes for allowing only public education are entirely unreasonable. By allowing the use of public funds to boost the financial possibility of private education, someday private schooling can be possible for almost anyone. In addition to this article, I conducted a primary research piece at Woodland Park High School. I did not include the data found in the poll because the data did not seem to support my conclusions or argument at all.
In fact, it supported an opposite argument. Only a mere 3% of the class said that their public education was due to the fact that private school was too expensive. The reason that the data came out the way that it did is quite easy to see when reading the commentary on my poll. One student said that “I like public school.” By reading some of the notes, it was clear to see that the students I surveyed really had no concerns in relation to their education, and either didn’t know or didn’t care what school they went to.
Works Cited Council for American Private Education, . N.p.. Web. 20 May 2013.
20 May 2013.
Saad, L.. N.p..
Web. 20 May 2013. Suydam, Taylor. “Exposing Public School Stereotypes.”The Eagle IView. Word Press. Web. 20 May 2013. page. Erikson, Tiffany. “Vouchers Killed.” Desert News. (2007): n. page. Web. 21 May. 2013. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695225580/Vouchers- killed.html>. Howell, W., Peterson, and M. West. n. page.
Suydam, Taylor. “Exposing Public School Stereotypes.”The Eagle IView. Word Press. Web.
20 May 2013.
Erikson, Tiffany. “Vouchers Killed.” Desert News. (2007): n. page. Web.
21 May. 2013. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695225580/Vouchers- killed.html>.
Howell, W., Peterson, and M. West. n. page.