Reader feedback: Public money should stay in public schools

Re: Total smoking ban fails, Volume 11, Number 31, August 15 - 21, 2005

If every child is to get the same chance to succeed, then spending should be equal per child. If someone wants to give their child an advantage, then let them pay for it out of their own pocket, extra English lessons for example.

Let's say public money - Sk50,000 (€1,250) per student per year, for example - is going to all students attending public school. Then you have students who go to private schools where tuition is Sk150,000 (€3,750) per year. Why should public money go to a student in a private school, thus ensuring them Sk200,000 (€5,000) worth of education?

Such developments over the years have contributed to the growing gap between the rich and poor in the US. In the US, richer communities spend more on education, because it is part of the local budget. They want to keep their money in their communities, which may be considered "fair" under their current systems. But Slovakia has a national system. One budget for all. If you choose to opt out, then you should pay for the whole thing yourself and let the extra money be spent on those who cannot afford to opt out.

If your goal is to privatize primary school education system, then go ahead, spend tax money on all the private schools you want and eventually people will choose the best education they can get, based on what is offered. I don't believe free market economics is the best way to offer education, at least not for primary and secondary school. Maybe at the university level.

In a free market system, you won't have competition in small communities. Even in a state-run system, the best schools and choices of schools are in big cities. There is no comparing going to a school that offers classical music training, or foreign languages in Bratislava and New York, with courses offered in Poprad or Twinsburg, Ohio.

If some small towns in Eastern Slovakia have better church-run schools, then eventually you will only have church-run schools because no one will want to send their child to a poorly funded public school. What effect will this have on voting patterns? What effect will this have on national unity?

I understand the idea of giving people a choice. I don't support the idea of the taxpayer subsidizing opportunities for the elite.

BB,
Munich

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