Perhaps there is a way to resolve the debate between parents/guardians who want school vouchers to support their decision to have their children attend private/parochial school (while at the same time relieving the public school of the burden) and those who vehemently oppose the school voucher system.
By way of explanation, the school voucher system would provide financial assistance to parents/guardians who choose a non-public school for their children. The voucher, amounting to a significant percentage of the tuition, would be made payable to two parties, the parent/guardian and the selected school. Since this methodology of parental school choice is so contentious and hopelessly bound up in partisan and union politics, I suggest that the amount paid by parents to a non-public school for elementary/high school education be a full deduction on the federal tax returns. For accounting purposes the federal government could have its Education Department, out of its multi-billion dollar budget, reimburse the IRS for lost revenue by an accounting entry, similar to the transfer of surplus social security funds to the general slush fund of the federal government.
Since alumni contributions to private educational institutions and parishioner contributions to religious institutions which subsidize their parochial schools are already valid deductions from federal income tax, no new philosophy would be involved here, just a change in the IRS interpretation of such educational expenditures.
A few observations here: 1. Parents/guardians of Non-public school students who pay federal taxes are then treated fairly; 2. There is no taking of public school funds derived from property taxes; 3. People who pay no taxes are already getting a valuable subsidy when their children go to a public school; 4.The Clinton-Gore kids already go to private schools with public funds (the salaries and perquisites paid to them compliments of the taxpayer); 5. Parents/guardians may continue to send their children to public schools if they so choose.
There are those, mainly the school teachers’ unions, who say that the poor could not afford to send their children to non-public schools. If the unions’ assertions that public school education is superb are/is true, the poor are losing nothing. Those, however, who decide to send their children to a non-public school are making a choice, sort of a Pro-Choice stance. To those who say parents/guardians are not smart enough to chose a school obviously feel that the Clinton-Gore duo (to say nothing of the Camelot family, Governors Kean and Whitman, Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Gates, etc.) are not qualified to make this choice. How absurd and how arrogant!
Warmest personal regards.
Frank X. Landrigan