The following is the winning essay from New Mexico’s Americans For Prosperity 2013 Milton Friedman essay competition! In today’s society school choice, and the opportunity for our young people to receive an education that best fits their needs is all important. One-size-fits-all education does not work as each student has different needs, learning level and goals.
Why School Choice is Beneficial for Students
School choice is beneficial for students because they can choose the school they attend based on the quality of the education provided by the school, not on their economic standing. It also provides for skill and interest based education, and the voucher system provides competition between the schools. Milton Friedman said, “Improved education is offering a hope of narrowing the gap between the less and more skilled workers, of fending off the prior prospect of a society divided between the “haves” and “have nots,” of a class society in which an educated elite provided welfare for a permanent class of unemployables.” (“The School Choice Advocate,” July 1998)
School choice allows every student the opportunity to receive a good education regardless of their economic place in society. School districts are based on income and home address. Typically higher income school districts have nicer, fancier facilities, while lower income school districts have poorer facilities. It doesn’t seem fair that students from poor families have to go to schools with lesser quality of education, while students from higher income families can attend nicer schools with better quality education. Students who do not receive a high quality education will have less of an opportunity to get into college.
School choice provides opportunities for students to attend schools that focus on their interests and life goals. Magnet schools provide focused education on specific subjects (i.e. science, math, etc.) Private schools allow students to center their education around their religious beliefs or values.
Through the voucher system, parents can choose the school that will best meet their child’s needs. Milton Friedman said it best, when he said, “Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else.” (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement,” 1979/1980) The voucher system makes schools compete against each other to provide the best education. Friedman also said, “A far better alternative to political control is to introduce competition in schooling, to give parents a real choice.” (Newsweek, 1968) “The injection of competition would do much to promote a healthy variety of schools.” (“Capitalism and Freedom,” 1962)
School choice provides equal opportunity education, allows students to focus on their interests and life goals, and the voucher system creates healthy competition between schools, providing better quality education all around.
By Emma Larabee
(Shared with permission)
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