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Vouchers aren't the way

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | OCTOBER 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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The problems facing education are of grave concern. Education is a pivotal aspect in the presidential race, as well it should be, but not all suggested solutions would effectively improve education in the United States.

One such ineffective solution is to offer low-income students funds so that they may attend a school that yields higher results for educating its students; that is promoted by former Gov. Mitt Romney.

In a speech before Education Nation last month, Romney said that if he were elected president, he would reallocate Title 1 and IDEA funds to students who want to change schools and would require that schools be graded so that parents could more easily understand what schools are doing well and which are not.

This voucher-system approach does little to address the real problems facing education and would not likely make the American education system more internationally competitive or strong.
Some major challenges facing schools today are a shortage of teachers, a lack of training for teachers, and a shortage of effective learning materials to better teach science, technology, engineering, and math.

These challenges in the classroom have caused students to frequently drop out of high school, take remedial courses if they do graduate and choose to attend a higher education institution, and do little to support the economy.

In a recent report, the McKinsey Global Institute projected that if current trends continue, in the next 10 years, there will be an enormous shortage of skilled laborers (those with a high-school or higher degree) and an abundance of unskilled workers, which will cause the global economy to suffer.

The report further states that even if “advanced economies” such as those in the United States and China double the rate at which young people get college degrees in the next 20 years, it is still likely that too many workers will lack skills to have full-time employment.

This problem clearly must be addressed, but the voucher system proposed by Romney fails to do so. The current problems facing education in the United States cannot be solved just by moving students around.

The voucher system does not address how teachers will learn and instruct students about modern technology, despite understanding technology being a necessity for finding employment and improving the economy.

Romney has suggested that states should find solutions, but does not suggest that he would reverse outdated federally policies that restrict schools, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Furthermore the voucher plan fails to recognize that not all states have the funds available to address all of the problems facing education without federal assistance.

Any plan that fails to provide schools with necessary equipment to teach modern technology and science to students or fails to support teachers is not a plan worth one vote.


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