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Kirwan education plan should include voucher funding

New Teacher Orientation for Baltimore County Public Schools held at Perry Hall High School earlier this year. Teacher turnover in Baltimore County and other area school districts is increasing but the Kirwan Commission has a plan to increase the rigor of teacher education classes, pay teachers more and elevate the profession.
New Teacher Orientation for Baltimore County Public Schools held at Perry Hall High School earlier this year. Teacher turnover in Baltimore County and other area school districts is increasing but the Kirwan Commission has a plan to increase the rigor of teacher education classes, pay teachers more and elevate the profession. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun)

Education advocates seeking $4 billion in additional education funding will fail to receive significant taxpayer support unless they address two key issues (“Baltimore education advocates ‘battle for the soul of Maryland’ in fight for Kirwan Commission funding,” Oct. 25). Legislators in Annapolis must end school funding discrimination and promote school choice.

Taxpayers will open their wallets if their children and their neighbor’s children will receive a fair share of education funds. Currently, the public school monopoly receives most of the money. State accredited private schools receive next to nothing. This is blatant discrimination in the disbursement of education funds.

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Poor families throughout the state do not have the option of sending their children to a school of their choice. They are financially forced to use the public school system. Why haven’t we fixed this glaring injustice?

Legislators can end school funding discrimination and promote school choice by creating a fixed dollar voucher for all students. For example, the average cost of a public school education in Baltimore is around $15,000 per year. The state could give each student a $10,000 voucher with the remaining $5,000 automatically going to the public school system. If the student’s parents determine that a private school is better suited for their child, then the $10,000 voucher will be used to offset tuition costs. If instead they choose their local public school, then the voucher money goes to that school.

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Everyone wins with a voucher system. Let’s end funding discrimination. Let’s promote school choice.

Chris Payne, Bel Air

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