In Florida, a school voucher system that already have given seven hundred students from poor areas with poor schools a chance to get an education has been shot down by the Florida supreme school. Why? Well, you see, Florida’s state constitution guarantees a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools”. Now, the schools in poor areas are neither efficient, safe, secure or high quality, meaning that the states system is in no way uniform. The are however, free and public. A voucher system can give kids access to uniform, efficient, safe, secure, high quality, free private schools. And the Florida supreme court evidently decided that it’s OK to sacrifice all the other parts of that sentence, just to make sure the schools remain public.
Anybody else smell a tail wagging a dog here?
Voucher systems basically mean that kids that normally would be forced to go in public schools get the possibility to go in private schools. Sweden has had a general voucher system for everyone since the start of the 90s, and the result has been a general increase in school quality (in Florida too). Also, since more schools now are privately owned, it means teachers now have a choice of employer, which has increased tecaher salaries a bit, and increased teacher freedom a lot. By letting people choose their schools, the bad schools have to either get good, or get lost. Most problem schools in Sweden (in Sweden the problem schools are in the suburbs and the nice schools in the inner city) has cleaned up their act. And it costs very little. It’s a win-win scenario.
At least, things are looking up in the rest of th US. Although Florida now will shut down their voucher system, six other states are extending or introducing systems of their own. We can either hope for better judges or an amendment to the Florida constitution.