The Instigator
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
trendem
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

School voucher systems create an unbalance in the education system.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,118 times Debate No: 8018
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (6)

 

mongeese

Pro

Unbalance - to put out of balance
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

I stand in affirmation that school voucher systems create an unbalance in the education system.

Information on school vouchers can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Governments have already set up public schools so that kids may receive an education for free. Now governments are sending school vouchers to kids so they can go to private schools, because some of their public schools are failing. Basically, they are replacing public schools with private schools for those who cannot even pay. For one thing, the government pays more to send a student to a private school than they do to accept a kid into public school. For another, while many students are getting a free ride into a fancy private school, many of their equal peers are stuck in the failing public schools, which the governments are paying less attention to now that they can be lazy and spend taxpayer money to private schools. Finally, many families can actually pay for their students to receive the "higher education" of a private school, but now un-paying families can send their students to the exact same school.

If anyone is still in support of school voucher systems after reading this, accept this debate and speak up. Thank you for your time.
trendem

Con

I have little idea what you mean by "balance". I'm assuming you simply mean that school voucher systems, on the whole, have a negative impact on the educational system. If you mean otherwise, please elaborate concretely what you mean by "balance".

====================REGARDING YOUR CASE:======================
First, I agree the government pays more to send a student to a private than public school. However, it equalizes the schooling costs for a normal taxpayer. Taxpayers that send their children to private schools usually have to pay taxes to fund public schools while paying the fees for their private school. This amounts to double payment. School vouchers
ensure that taxpayers can spend their education money willingly and equitably.

Second, I concede that the school voucher system is unable to help many of the "equal peers". It can't solve all of the problems in education, I concede!

Finally, I agree that many un-paying families can now send their children to the exact same school, which I see as good, egalitarian thing. School vouchers are encouraging economic diversity at private schools, giving low-income students a change to attend higher-quality schools.

====================MY OWN CASE================
(1) Competition:
School vouchers encourage competition in the education sector. Students can attend private schools if the students find them better than public schools. Competition leads to:
(a) Efficient distribution of funding: If less students enroll in public schools, their funding will be cut. Thus, funding is allocated according to school quality.
(b) Improved quality: To retain their students, public school must improve themselves.

(2) Economic equality:
As I said earlier, low-income students can attend high quality, formerly costly schools.

In defense of both of these points, I cite a study from the Friedman Foundation of Educational Choice, that showed school vouchers lead to improved performance at public schools, reduce racial segregation, and deliver better services to special education students. [1]

SOURCES:
[1] http://www.friedmanfoundation.org...
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate.

"I have little idea what you mean by 'balance'. I'm assuming you simply mean that school voucher systems, on the whole, have a negative impact on the educational system. If you mean otherwise, please elaborate concretely what you mean by 'balance'."
I guess I should have explained "balance". I'll do that later.

"First, I agree the government pays more to send a student to a private than public school."
Thank you for conceding the obvious, rather than foolishly arguing against it.

"However, it equalizes the schooling costs for a normal taxpayer. Taxpayers that send their children to private schools usually have to pay taxes to fund public schools while paying the fees for their private school. This amounts to double payment. School vouchers ensure that taxpayers can spend their education money willingly and equitably."
I'm going to have to disagree with you, here. If all of the students who couldn't afford private school went to public school instead, it would result in only having to pay taxes to support public schools. The only ones who would actually have to make this "double payment" would be the people who could initially afford to send their students off to private school. If the government only supported private schools, it would result in the rich paying for their children to get in, and the nation paying for everybody else's children to get in. If the government only ran its own public schools and closed down all private schools, it would result in everybody paying for public school. If the government allowed everyone into public school, but allowed the rich to go to private school, the rich would send their own children to a fancy school on their own money, while everyone else would go to an adequate school on the government's budget. Basically, public school exists for those who cannot pay for private school. Private school exists for the people who can afford to get a higher education than public school.

"Second, I concede that the school voucher system is unable to help many of the 'equal peers'. It can't solve all of the problems in education, I concede!"
Thus, the unbalance.
Because the government is taking away half of the public school children and dumping them into private school, the unlucky kids left at public school end up with a lesser education than the other kids. I will clarify all of this at the end of my statement.

"Finally, I agree that many un-paying families can now send their children to the exact same school, which I see as good, egalitarian thing. School vouchers are encouraging economic diversity at private schools, giving low-income students a change to attend higher-quality schools."
Yes, it sounds morally good, but at the cost of all of the taxpayer's money. It gives some poorer students a chance to move up, but many stay behind. Clarification is at the end.

To argue against your case:
"(1) Competition:
School vouchers encourage competition in the education sector. Students can attend private schools if the students find them better than public schools. Competition leads to:
(a) Efficient distribution of funding: If less students enroll in public schools, their funding will be cut. Thus, funding is allocated according to school quality.
(b) Improved quality: To retain their students, public school must improve themselves."
Naturally, students will always find private schools better than public schools, because public schools are run by the taxpayer-run government, while private schools are part of the private sector. Public schools will never be able to be equal to private schools, because private schools charge more. It's like asking a kid, "Do you want the simple, cheap ice cream that we have at home, or do you want Daddy to buy you a fancy $20 ice cream cone?" The kids would want the ice cream cone, because they don't need to factor in the cost, which is what is supposed to be what drives kids towards public school.
Then, you say that the public schools will have their funding cut. Then, you say that they will try to improve themselves. This leads to a vicious cycle. With less funding, the school can't improve itself, and instead gets worse. This leads to more students leaving and less funding being received. It goes on and on until public schools are dead,
and replaced by private schools.
http://www.adl.org...

"(2) Economic equality:
As I said earlier, low-income students can attend high quality, formerly costly schools."
At the cost of the taxpayers.

Now, to clarify my big point.

Okay, why do we have public schools in the first place? Because private schools were too costly for many people, and the government decided to put taxpayer dollars to good use and set up adequate schools to educate the public. School vouchers change all that.

With school vouchers, the cost of sending a kid to public school and the cost of sending a kid to private school is the same. Naturally, they'd all pick the private schools, because the private schools normally charge more, and thus are fancier. The only thing that really determines which public-school kids get into private schools is luck. That means that equal kids are presented with unequal opportunities, all based on luck. This is the unbalance.

For the GOVERNMENT, it costs more to send a kid to private school than to public school. This is a conceded point. This means that private schools are always receiving more money per child than public schools, because they are fancier.

And so, the government could save taxpayer dollars by funding an equal amount in every kid's education. Why should the government send one kid to a private school and keep another kid in public school, when the money being used to bump up the kid from public to private could be used to improve the public school in the first place? It would all average out to the same amount of money being spent on education, but it would be evenly distributed to everybody, with everybody having equal opportunity, unless a kid's parents are willing to pay extra money to send their kid to private school.

Basically, the PRIVATE schools should be paid for by the PRIVATE sector, and only those in the private sector who can afford it. The PUBLIC schools are open to the general PUBLIC, being paid for by the PUBLIC government. If everyone went to public schools unless they could afford private school, then all kids who aren't paying for their education would have equal, BALANCED education; a paying kid's education would be dependant upon how much money he paid, but would always end up being better than public school, or else he'd just pay nothing and go to public school.

If I didn't clarify something enough, please tell me, and I will clarify next round.

Thank you for reading.
trendem

Con

Thank you for the clarification.
-----YOUR CASE------
You disagree with me that the school vouchers removes the "double payment" from many taxpayers, but then go on to say: "The only ones who would actually have to make this "double payment" would be the people who could initially afford to send their students off to private school." Yes, that was my point. Those who pay taxes but still send their children to private schools, do double payment, and school vouchers corrects this.

You postpone discussion of the next 2 points, saying you'll elaborate later what "balance" means.

------- MY CASE--------
1) a) Are you saying that when parents send their children to school, they think: "Oooh, that school has higher cost; it's fancy! That's why I will send my children to that school!" Your misrepresentation completely undermines the research that parents put in to selecting schools, by examining teacher quality, academic environment, location, etc. To repeat, my argument was that parents will send their children to schools that the parents decide are better. Thus, funding is allocated according to school quality.

b) You say having their funding cut will lead to a vicious cycle of continued worsening. However, you erroneously assume funding is cut instantly. There is an interim period where public schools can try to improve themselves. Moreover, there are grants that public schools can apply for. Sure, the bad-quality public schools might close down, but there will emerge many good-quality public schools too.

My argument that competition will lead to better resource allocation and quality has been EMPIRICALLY PROVEN time and time again, whenever the USA government has privatized industries. I will give examples of these in my closing post.

You also ignored my study that showed benefits like better public school performance and less racial segregation.

---- BALANCE ISSUE----
" That means that equal kids are presented with unequal opportunities, all based on luck. This is the unbalance."

You argue that school vouchers magically introduce the condition that equal kids have unequal opportunities. I have 2 rebuttals:
1) This is not an unbalnce, it's a good thing. Imagine if there were 10 million starving people in Africa. If we helped half of those, according to your logic this will be an unbalance, because equal starving people are being presented with unequal opportunities.

2) There was never a balance. There havev always been many kids who can go to private schools because there parents are wealthy, while many equally competent and deserving kids languish in bad public schools.

So we see that there has always been an unbalance in the system, and schools vouchers contribute to correcting this unbalance. The mainstay of Pro's argument has been the "cost" contention, but this cost increase is not so great as to place before our children's education.

Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Pro

Alright, thank you for responding.

"You disagree with me that the school vouchers removes the 'double payment' from many taxpayers..."
School vouchers do NOT correct this. Alright, I'm going to paint a picture for you now:
If there were no school vouchers, here's what each group would pay:
The "poor" would pay for some taxes to send their kids to public school.
The "rich" would pay for most of the taxes to send other kids to public school, in addition to paying for their own kids to go to a better private school, by their own choice on their own budget.
If there were some school vouchers, here's what each group would pay:
Some "poor" would pay for some taxes to send their kids to public school, in addition to some taxes to send some other lucky "poor" kids to private school.
The lucky "poor" would pay for some taxes to send their kids to private school, in addition to some taxes to send some other unlucky "poor" kids to private school.
The "rich" would pay for most of the taxes to send the other kids to both public and private schools, in addition to paying their own kids to go to a private school, by their own choice on their own budget.
In this case, the poor are all paying the same money, but only some kids are actually benefitting from the school vouchers.
If everyone got a school voucher, here's what each group would pay:
The "poor" would pay for some taxes to send their kids to private school.
The "rich" would pay for most of the taxes to send other kids to private school, in addition to carrying the burden of single-handedly sending their own kid to private school. Unless, of course, they get school vouchers, too, in which case private schools are just public schools that need more money, which isn't right, because it burdens the rich even more for the education of the "poor".

"You postpone discussion of the next 2 points, saying you'll elaborate later what 'balance' means."
I dedicated my last seven paragraphs in Round 2 to clarify "balance".

"1) a) Are you saying that when parents send their children to school, they think: 'Oooh, that school has higher cost; it's fancy! That's why I will send my children to that school!'..."
It is a general rule of thumb that the more something costs, the better it is. This means that if you don't have to pay anything, you go with the more expensive item. Let's say that the government offered to buy you an ice cream cone. They could buy you a small cone for $0.25, a medium cone for $1, a large cone for $5, or the entire ice cream shop for $10,000. Because the money is not directly yours, you would go with the entire ice cream shop, but your decision wouldn't be nearly so hasty if you were paying for it yourself. Price is a necessary factor. I'll make a more realistic example: a guy invites you to dinner, and offers to pay the bill beforehand, because he is a very rich CEO. Because you don't have to pay, and the CEO is gladly willing to pay money, you will instictly discard the prices off of the items, and end up picking the best dish, which usually costs more.
Also, private schools are always better than public schools, which you didn't really refute. Why do you think the rich send their kids to expensive private school? Because it is better. Why is better? Because it costs more money. Why does it cost more money? Because it is better. Basically, they pay more for education materials and services, and charge more to utilize these materials and services. More money buys better education and services. However, only the "rich" people have enough money to spare on a more expensive education for their children. If we were to allow everybody to choose between public school or private school with the government picking up the tab, we'd have a stampede of kids into private schools.

"b) You say having their funding cut will lead to a vicious cycle of continued worsening..."
However, a public school can never become better than a private school, because private schools always charge more, and if a private school was ever worse than public school, everybody would move to the public schools, because why pay more for something that isn't as good? The only reason public schools are preferred by many to private schools is because it is FREE. I think I've stressed this point enough. It is much easier for good-quality public schools to pop up if they receive the money that the government has instead directed towards school vouchers.

"My argument that competition will lead to better resource allocation and quality has been EMPIRICALLY PROVEN time and time again, whenever the USA government has privatized industries. I will give examples of these in my closing post."
This is harder when public schools are only paid through taxes, and private schools are out to make a profit. This is what separates school and industry. Examples later will be too late; I can't counter last-round points.

"You also ignored my study that showed benefits like better public school performance and less racial segregation."
Fine, then. I concede that school vouchers have a beneficial effect. However, this isn't enough to make up for the misbalance that is the subject of debate.

"1) This is not an unbalance, it's a good thing. Imagine if there were 10 million starving people in Africa. If we helped half of those, according to your logic this will be an unbalance, because equal starving people are being presented with unequal opportunities."
I have two counters to this:
1. Instead of giving two apples each to five million people, give one apple each to ten million people. This may not work perfectly for Africa, but with the school system, they already operate sufficiently, but every additional cent counts, making things more distributable.
2. It would be perfectly acceptable if the government could conjure up money for school vouchers out of thin air-wait, no, it wouldn't, because that would contribute to inflation. If they could conjure up gold out of thin air, and sell it for money for school vouchers, it would be more okay. However, instead, they get money for school vouchers from taxpayers. Some of these taxpayers don't benefit from school vouchers, and would much rather have the money used to improve the standard school systems.

"2) There was never a balance. There havev always been many kids who can go to private schools because there parents are wealthy, while many equally competent and deserving kids languish in bad public schools."
Inheritance has always existed, and is unavoidable. School vouchers are perfectly avoidable, and yet we still have them.

"So we see that there has always been an unbalance in the system, and schools vouchers contribute to correcting this unbalance. The mainstay of Pro's argument has been the 'cost' contention, but this cost increase is not so great as to place before our children's education."
There is a better alternative to school vouchers to help our children's education.

UNDER OUR CURRENT VOUCHER SYSTEM:
Let's say that you have two families in Washington, D.C. They are both economically equal. They each have one kid. One of them got into the voucher system. The other one failed to make it.
They both are paying equal taxes to the school system.
One family is benefitting much more than the other.
IF WE SENT THIS MONEY TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
Both kids go to public school.
Both families pay equal taxes to fund public schools.
This money not being sent to private schools is instead being sent to public schools.
The public schools are better than they would be under the voucher system, because they have more students and more funding.
Both families pay equally and benefit equally. Thus, balance and equality. Happy days. Vote PRO.
trendem

Con

-----YOUR CASE-----
You try and paint a picture about why school vouchers would not remove double payment, but I honestly don't get it. This isn't a central part of my contention anyway.

---- ON MY CASE----
You've been arguing my case for me... Thank you!

1) a)
"It is a general rule of thumb that the more something costs, the better it is."
I'd agree.

"Also, private schools are always better than public schools"
I'd agree.

So we agree that parents/children will find private schools better, and that private schools are indeed better, so where is the disagreement? I argued that school vouchers will lead to an efficient distribution of funding, because parents/children are spending their voucher money on better private schools. Thus, schools with better quality are receiving more resources.

(b) "However, a public school can never become better than a private school"
Agreed, and I never argued this. I argued that a public school will improve, which you didn't contend.

"This is harder when public schools are only paid through taxes, and private schools are out to make a profit."
Agreed, every private sector is usually out to make a profit, and the public sectors are funded by taxes. The benefits of privatization and competition have shown several times in US history. Although you can't refute it at this late stage, I will nevertheless quote examples for the benefit of the readers. From wikipedia:

"....similar competition has helped in manufacturing, energy, transportation, and parcel postal (UPS, FedEx vs. USPS) sectors of government that have been socialized and later opened up to free market competition."

I know some people hate wikipedia, but wikipedia offers further sources for supporting the above quote, which interested readers can follow if they wish.

----- REGARDING BALANCE------
I gave an analogy of helping half of the 10 million suffering Africans, and you responded:
1) "Instead of giving two apples each to five million people, give one apple each to ten million people."
This can't apply to the education system. You can't give the children in the public sector half a schooling in private schools and half a schooling in public schools.
2) It would be perfectly acceptable if the government could conjure up money for school vouchers out of thin air"
You are changing your definition of "balance". You argued that the education system is unbalanced because some people are being benefited while others are not; it doesn't matter where the money, or how much money, for funding the school vouchers come from.

I then argued that there always has existed an imbalance in the educational system. You responded by saying that "school vouchers are avoidable". But let me get this straight: you can't create something that was already there. For eg., global warming cannot create heat in the house that is already on fire. If there already is an unbalance in the system, as you concede, then school vouchers, whether avoidable or not, do very, very little to add to it.

YOUR ALTERNATIVE:
Your alternative ignores several important things, such as the benefits of competition (empirically proven), the benefits of school vouchers to public schools (again proven by my studies).

I have provided you facts about privatization and about school vouchers.
VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
"Finally, I agree that many un-paying families can now send their children to the exact same school, which I see as good, egalitarian thing. School vouchers are encouraging economic diversity at private schools, giving low-income students a change to attend higher-quality schools."

Good point, well made!

But why not introduce what we in Britain call 'grammar schools'? At the age of 11 children take an IQ test and the brightest 5% go to the grammar schools which cater solely for high achievers, both rich and poor.
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
B & A: Tied
Conduct: Tied
S & G: CON; you can't "create an unbalance"; you can "create an imbalance." 'Unbalance' is a verb.
Argument: PRO
Sources: Tied
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
"I argued that school vouchers will lead to an efficient distribution of funding, because parents/children are spending their voucher money on better private schools. Thus, schools with better quality are receiving more resources."
Their voucher money? Hah.

You kind of never countered the alternative to school vouchers:
Any money that would be used to send a kid to private school could instead be used to improve public schools, which all "poor" kids could benefit from, rather than just a few becoming elite.
This was what I meant with the Africa analogy.
Posted by trendem 7 years ago
trendem
Oops, I forgot to cite my quote in R3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
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