Thursday, November 1, 2007

No Brainer

Some things are “no brainers.” For instance, if one product can be bought for less money than another product of equal quality, that is a good deal. Most people shop around for those kinds of deals—but none of this applies when one is talking about education in the government school system. For illustration purposes lets say it costs Delaware taxpayers $9,000 per year to educate one student. If the state provided parents the option of taking a $3,000 per year voucher to use at a non-government school, that child’s education would save Delaware’s taxpayers $6,000 per year. Multiply that $6,000 savings by thousands of students and you are talking about serious budget reduction. Another advantage of the non-government school is that the taxpayer does not have to pay for the construction and maintenance of facilities--that means a decrease in the number of referendums and more stability in local property taxes.

Delaware’s education budget is one of the largest expenditures in state government. Vouchers/scholarships could reduce the State budget. Because of the competition that would come from the non-government schools, the quality of education in public schools would be enhanced, and its teachers and administrators would be more accountable. If it is such a “no brainer,” why don’t Delaware’s legislators enact education voucher/scholarship legislation? Good question! I imagine the answer can be found in two areas: one, it has to do with the voting influence of government school employee unions, and two, it’s more important for many legislators to retain their elected office than it is to find ways to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and effectively.

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