Trump and the GOP are considering including school choice vouchers in another coronavirus relief bill, and the chatter is that the vouchers would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 per child.
What could that amount of money do for a child? Completely and utterly transform their opportunities in life.
For parents that choose to send their child to a private school, all of that money would be required to offset the cost of tuition. But it would allow their children to form social connections and relationships in their community that could help them get into college, get a solid first job, etc.
For parents that choose to homeschool, that money would materially alter their child’s environment.
The average homeschooling curriculum package would set parents back about a thousand dollars a year. The rest of the money could be used to build an immense library of quality children’s books at home. To buy educational toys and games that bring learning to life. To make sure the child has a computer and internet access at home. To buy scientific equipment, like a microscope or chemistry set – things children in many poor neighborhoods don’t get to experience. To pay for a specialized tutor in math, software development, or a foreign language. To buy musical instruments and music lessons, even put a piano in their living room. To pay for field trips or travel to places with educational significance.
This sort of thing could also transform their parents. Give them the chance to learn things they would otherwise not have learned as they give their kids a better life.
These are all the symbols of culture and intelligence that millions of families across the country are cheated out of – not just in one academic year, but across generations – to fund a behemoth public education system that enriches administrators, consultants, textbook publishing houses, and other government contractors. That allows bad teachers to park themselves in schools for decades, collecting an annual rent from taxpayers and retirement benefits that have a net present value in the millions of dollars.
The current education system keeps rich people rich and poor people poor. It forces kids in some areas to graduate to gangs while kids in other areas found tech companies. It can be radically altered by the simple act of allowing the money to follow the child instead of ineffective institutions.