The school vouchers that are available in 14 states and the District of Columbia allow parents to choose the school their children will attend using public funds. Vouchers redistribute funds typically allocated to a school district from state education funds and give them to individual families to help pay for private school tuition. Many argue that the voucher system creates a competitive education mar- ket, providing monetary incentives that promote the improvement of schools. Others question if it is a proper use of taxpayers’ money.
States have the freedom to establish laws relating to the public schools under their jurisdiction. This includes creating a voucher program. For example, Utah has a limited school voucher program that is available only to students with disabilities. In addition to other requirements, the students must have attended a public school prior to requesting a school voucher. Other states have different requirements for their voucher programs. In Maine, students are not required to have attended public school before requesting school vouchers.
In Oregon, school vouchers are not an option under any circumstances. However, Oregon provides alternatives such as charter schools and magnet schools, which are publicly funded. In 2014, the Education Equity Emergency Act was proposed in the state legislature. If the act had been approved, there would have been the option to create educational school vouchers for private school tuition, and other educational expenses in Oregon. The majority of Oregon’s students go to a public school assigned to them based on their zip code. Jenna Altig from Young Conservatives Club and Lilli Morrish from Young Democrats Club argue their beliefs about school vouchers below.