(This Op-Ed is in response to Sen. Rand Paul's Op-Ed in the Washington Times from February 22, 2013. The link to the original article can be found at the bottom of this page.)
Sen. Rand Paul has a solution for education in America: "Let the taxes you pay for education follow each and every student to the school of your choice."
On the surface, some will say that this is a great idea. Allow me to ask this question: what if you have no school-age children? Where do your taxes go?
Hmmm. Sen. Paul probably didn't think about that.
Now, as for his concept in general... what he's really describing is a form of tuition; parents who designate where their tax dollars go (to the school of their choice, that is) are effectively paying that school directly, much as a college student does when paying the bill from the university. HOWEVER... expenses are not equal at all schools, and tax rates (and property assessments) are not equal from one community to another. Nor are resources equal at all schools. After all, we're not talking about factories that are mass-producing identical widgets, are we?
SO... when a hypothetical family 'sends' its (let's say) one thousand dollars of 'taxes' directly to the school... and another hypothetical family 'sends' its TWO thousand dollars (because they have a larger home)... what do we do with the difference? Does the child of the first family get $1,000 worth of education... while the second family's child gets twice as much? What if the second family has one child... and the first family has two children? Does that mean the children of the first family get one-fourth the instruction and resources... and the only child of the second family gets all the perks?
Gee, that doesn't sound fair, does it?
UNLESS... Sen. Paul plans to make up the difference somehow. Maybe he'll reduce the level of instruction for all students based upon the smallest contribution. (But that means the families that pay more will get less in the end, right?) Maybe he'll subsidize the students whose families pay less. (But that means some taxpayers wouldn't be given the same opportunity to choose where their money goes, right?)
Hmmm... maybe we need something better. How about... an education system where all students get a quality education regardless of economic stature? Where no student is turned away because they can't afford to pay the same as other, more financially-able families?
You know something? That's the public school system we already have.
But the current system doesn't fit into Sen. Paul's plans. I wonder why.
Certainly Sen. Paul wouldn't be suggesting we have an education system that caters only to the rich and powerful... and leaves poor children behind?
Surely Sen. Paul wouldn't be suggesting that poor children should be denied an equal education?
Sen. Paul wouldn't be that callous... would he?
(Sen. Paul's Op-Ed in its entirety can be found here.)