The Instigator
numa
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points

school vouchers.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,990 times Debate No: 8205
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

numa

Con

school vouchers are essentially tax write offs for families who choose to send their children to non-government, or privately funded and parochial schools. the reason for this tax break according to supporters is that families should not have to pay taxes to help schools that their children do not attend. i stand in firm negation, and will expand on the four main arguments in opposition of these vouchers.

1. since most of the schools in the program are religious, government funding violates the 1st amendment separation of church and state.

if parents want to send their children to a school that incorporates faith based teachings into their curriculum, that's fine. but why should my tax dollars support a school that teaches christianity if that is not what i believe in or want my money being spent on? supporters of the voucher are hypocritical in this regard. they don't want to have to pay for school that their children don't attend (and therefore support), but they want other tax payers to have to fund a school that they do not support. i think this is a huge flaw in their argument.

expecting the government to help fund public schools makes sense; they are not incorporating religious teachings and therefore are open to anyone. they are public schools with public goals: the teachings of reading, writing, etc. leave the religion at home where it belings, i'm all for that. but shouldn't schools exist that are open for everyone regardless of income? if not, an even greater separation of class exists, literacy in the united states goes down (and history shows us that non-literacy leads to disaster like serfdom and other hierarchies). plus, what if these people who can afford private school are no longer able to? should their children suffer? how would a class system ever be able to be overcome?

2. vouchers take funds away from already underfunded public schools.

there is already a huge discrepancy between the success (college admission, eventual income, etc.) of children who attend public school vs. private school. taking away government funds to help children who can't afford more expensive ("better") education is doing a great disservice not only to the individuals to society. you are stifling some potential great minds and perpetuating a rigid class system. it's already bad enough; the government should be concerned and trying to fix the education system - not break it even more.

3. private schools aren't subject to as rigorous of oversight; thus, they may not act responsibly.

parents could be paying a lot of money for a school that does not comply with adequate academic standards. the united states protects children's rights to a certain extent; that is, ensuring that they are able to receive a decent education. if a minor wants to attend a public school, but his parents want him or her to attend private school with less academic credential, the student is being robbed of his right to an education that we grant in our constitution and bylaws. furthermore, a minor may be forced to pray, worship or learn about a religion they may not believe in or want to participate in. again, this comes down to an issue of why private schools should receive funds for inadequacy instead of funds supporting an academic standard that ALL people of ALL faiths and economic backgrounds can agree to.

4. public schools must accept everyone regardless of disabilities, test scores, religion, or other characteristics; private schools can show favoritism or discrimination in selecting students.

public schools provide equal opportunity for all regardless of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. schools that can discriminate based on admission create stereotypes, rigid social and social class hierarchies, etc. public schools must exist to prevent rule by a small minority. that would cease and destroy democracy, the founding of our nation's beliefs.

without government funded schools, many institutions would be destroyed. families who could not afford schools, or pay teachers decent salaries, will have school-less children, or youth being taught by inferior educators. vouchers would take away money being put into schools, and our schools are already considered inferior compared with the schools in other nations. again, this would do a disservice to not just individual families, but the entire nation. the prestige of the united states will suffer.

school vouchers are a bad idea. they do not consider the concept of the greatest good for the greatest number of people, utilitarianism, which is a maxim that makes sense. i defend the principle that the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure is optimal amongst society; to combat this, my opponent would have to be con on the position of why utilitarianism is not the best moral maxim. if they cannot, you must except my maxim, and therefore my stance that being con on the issue of school vouchers is morally preferable because school vouchers inhibit utilitarianism.

thank you.

source: http://www.balancedpolitics.org...
Danielle

Pro

Thanks for the challenge, Numa.

- - - -

1. Re: Government funding private schools violates the 1st Amendment.

I agree. Since when does being Pro School Vouchers warrant the opinion that the government should necessarily fund private education? This question alone dismantles much of your first argument. Moreover, I can use your "hypocrite" argument right back against you: If you don't want your tax dollars being spent on things irrelevant to you, why should the tax dollars of others be spent on things irrelevant to them? Surely your response would be that public schools affect the community and not just the individuals. That's fine, but now you have to prove that a public education system would definitely not exist with the implementation of vouchers, and that if they did, these public institutions would be inferior. We'll take it from there.

Additionally, if the only goals of public schools are to teach reading and writing and prevent illiteracy, Pro has the burden of stating why these things couldn't be taught elsewhere (at home, at free public gatherings or other groups, etc.). Pro must also prove that all private schools will be unaffordable to a majority. Plus, even if there are a few elite private schools as a result of these vouchers, these schools already exist; applying school vouchers would simply be a more fair way of allocating funds and limiting government spending by an inefficient bureaucracy. Back to ye on this issue.

2. Re: Vouchers take away funds from already under-funded public schools.

As I've pointed out, discrepancies in the value of education systems (superior vs. inferior) already exists and will always exist as a result of capitalism and the rights of people to send their children to whatever schools they please (are willing and able to pay for). To deny Americans this right would be institutionalizing Communism. She notes that the government should be trying to "fix" the education system, presumably by putting more money into schools. That's fine, but why not tax the people who are BENEFITING from (their children) attending these schools in particular? The people who agree that diversity in/and public schools should exist ought to be the ones paying to keep them afloat, no?

Keep in mind that not all of the people who can afford to send their children to private school necessarily do. In addition to private schools often costing more money, many parents WANT to send their children to a diverse school or a non-secular institution that only teaches "public" or rather "PC" concepts. For instance, if my parents are liberal atheists and wouldn't want me learning about God in school, or being forced to use God's name while pledging my allegiance to the flag (if they even thought I should pledge at all), they may want me to attend public school where this is policy instead of a parochial or private school, even if they could afford it.

Further, Con is ignoring the possibility that certain private schools may actually be CHEAPER to run than some public schools that exist today; executive school boards would be forced to "cut the fluff" i.e. unnecessary programs or other requirements and instead focus on straight education; leave unnecessary social groups for the private sphere. Also, Con is ignoring the possibility that some low-income families might be struggling as a result of the tax burden being imposed on them. Perhaps a family would rather their children attend a school with a minimal budget in order to be able to afford basic survival needs like clothing and shelter. In an economic crisis like the one we're in, it should be obvious that people need to cut-back on spending and learn to be conservative until we can actually afford the means that we're living by.

3. Re: Private schools aren't subject to as rigorous of oversight; thus, they may not act responsibly.

Again, I fail to see how this is even relevant to the existence of School Vouchers. My opponent suggests that, "Parents could be paying a lot of money for a school that does not comply with adequate academic standards." That's stupid. Why would people pay money to an inadequate institution? If their school was inferior to others, they would simply pay for their child to attend a different school. Competition amongst these schools for student attendance (and prestige... and probably money) would increase academic standards and performance amongst instructors, owners, etc. To use my opponent's own fire against her, to argue this point of mine would require that Con oppose Capitalism; it is proven that Capitalism is the best incentive for both performance and innovation.

To combat my opponents other points regarding a minor's right to choose his or her school and/or practice of religion, I offer the argument that Con is simply stating unrealistic ideals. A minor's rights are obviously limited, and what next ~ Is Con going to suggest that the government start interfering on how parents raise their children? Hah. A minor may choose not to believe in a certain faith that their parents do, and once they turn 18, they no longer have to abide by their parent's rules to take part in particular religious rituals, etc. (if their parents insist that they do regardless of their child's beliefs). Similarly, if a parent imposes a 'bed time' on their child, the child doesn't HAVE to abide by that restriction once they turn 18 (if they choose to separate themselves from their parents' rule, which is a choice they do have). Technically speaking, a minor can choose this before 18, but I digress -- I don't want to deter too far away from the original argument.

The point is, this contention strays from the concept of School Vouchers to begin with. Additionally, I don't see how more parental involvement would be HARMFUL to the schooling system. If anything, the parents themselves who are PAYING for their child's education would take a greater role in the education process and possibly/probably improve their child's experience. It would also be a greater exercise of the democratic rights this nation was founded on. Oh, and less middle men in the bureaucracy of the failing education would = saving money would = more money pumped back into the economy, etc.

4. Re: Private schools can discriminate in selecting students.

Con says, "Public schools must exist to prevent rule by a small minority." Newsflash: This separation already exists. The only difference is that by implementing School Vouchers, we would #1 be a more democratic nation by upholding the rights of individual citizens, and #2 be acting responsibly by offering a sense of competition (and thereby catalyst for prosperity) to the failing education system. Con notes that, "Public schools provide equal opportunity for all regardless of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc." I agree - but why can't Private Schools do this as well? Additionally, once again Con has failed to prove that Public Schools wouldn't exist, and that if they did, they would be inferior. Until then, these points are irrelevant.

And finally, regarding the concept of Utilitarianism and School Vouchers, I won't even delve into the realm of arguing the ethics of this philosophic ideology in general. Instead, I challenge my opponent to prove that avoiding School Vouchers is actually upholding Utilitarianism, when I have argued the points of why the implementation of vouchers would actually stimulate the greatest results for the greater good of people via competition. Further, who decides what is and isn't of value in this debate? To me, upholding our RIGHTS may be of a greater value then, say, monetary goods or academic achievement comparisons.

6. Summary - My basic principles for the stance of Pro have been:

1) Freedom of Choice
2) Competition
3) Rights/Taxes
4) Rights/Religion vs. Science in school, etc.
5) An increase in private schooling will actually INCREASE diversity
6) Utilitarianism
Debate Round No. 1
numa

Con

thelwerd, i concede this debate, as i am taking finals and do not have time to debate this. i'm sorry. we'll meet again!
Danielle

Pro

That's fine, Numa - no worries : )

However, I noticed that I may have been unclear with some of my positions anyway, so I'll clarify for argument's sake and voter's awareness, and then we can either continue or end the debate from there.

Re: Point 1 -- I asked, "Since when does being Pro School Vouchers warrant the opinion that the government should necessarily fund private education?" Obviously some people would use their vouchers to attend private school. However, my question was really in regard to why you think ONLY private schools would be funded (which I explained later when stating that you had to prove a public education system would not exist with the implementation of vouchers, and that if they did, these public institutions would be inferior). Moreover, I asked, "If you don't want your tax dollars being spent on things irrelevant to you [private school], why should the tax dollars of others be spent on things irrelevant to them [public school]? For this reason, I think I have won Point 1.

Re: Point 4 -- In response to private schools being discriminatory, I forgot to mention that this is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, studies show that girls perform better academically in All-Girl educational environments. Mayhaps a parent would want their daughter's school to be unisex to promote further academic achievement.

I think my other points have been clear; please extend my arguments. And Numa, good luck responding. If you can't or don't have time, that's fine -- I'd be more than happy to debate you on this topic again in the future.
Debate Round No. 2
numa

Con

1. my point about the funding of private schools had to do with the first amendment and the separation of church and state clause. take your own example (from the forums) of the government funding the boy scouts. it was deemed that the boy scouts should not be publicly funded, because in addition to their private policies (like discrimination against homosexuals), they also endorse a deity. the christian god. people should not have to pay taxes to an institution that endorses or imposes something they don't believe in.

4. ok, the civil rights act defends against things like racism and sexism and discrimination based on religious affiliation. this means our government as a whole opposes them. therefore, our government funded schools should uphold discrimination based on these things.

like i said, i concede this debate, but we'll meet again :o)
Danielle

Pro

1. Re: Separation of Church and State violation

Numa, this is an impossibility, because no such clause (in the sense that you are thinking it) exists. In a letter to the Danbury Association, Jefferson wrote that the government should not prohibit the free exercise thereof one's religion, thus establishing a separation of church and state. In other words, the government cannot stop people from practicing whatever religion they choose. He didn't explicitly say (or necessarily even mean) that the government should or can not have any affiliation with a religious institution whatsoever. Also, I ask the readers to take into account my rebuttal against this point in previous rounds.

4. Re: Government funded things should have no religious affiliation.

This debate is about vouchers, i.e. the distribution of funds. A religious institution funded by the government doesn't necessarily indicate a relationship with ANYTHING. It merely acts as a source of funding. For instance, if an insurance company represents a Jewish client, and the owner of the company is Christian, it doesn't mean that the owner nor the company affiliate with the same views as the Jewish person they're helping, nor Christian views either. Similarly, vouchers and where they are spent don't recognize or favor any particular group. They merely act as a means of paying for something which society feels should be publicly funded. Clearly, schools already fall under this category.

- - - - -

Thanks for the fun debate, Numa.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
The voting on this debate looks funny.
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Vote Placed by 1gambittheman1 7 years ago
1gambittheman1
numaDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by numa 7 years ago
numa
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Vi_Veri
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Danielle
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