January 27, 2006

College Democrats and Republicans face off on school vouchers

The UC Dems and College Republicans squared off in front of a packed Bartlett Lounge Tuesday in a parliamentary debate over school vouchers.

The College Republicans, represented by first-year in the College Aaron Brenzel and fourth-year in the College Mihai Sturdza, maintained that “high quality education at a low cost has not yet been delivered” and that school vouchers are “about giving parents a free choice in their children’s education,” Brenzel said.

Second-year in the College Bridget Fahey and third-year in the College Kason Kimberley represented the UC Dems. Fahey held that school vouchers were against “the Democratic theory of education which is equal access, equal quality, and constitutionality.”

Speaking for the Republicans, Sturdza argued that “vouchers cost less than the cost per pupil, thus adding money to public schools.”

The Democrats responded, with Fahey claiming that “vouchers consistently offer lower than average tuition…leaving poor students concentrated in failing public schools” or lower-cost religious schools.

While the UC Dems admitted that the school system was in need of reform, they argued that school vouchers are not “the best, most efficient way to improve public schools,” Kimberley said.

The Republicans responded that “if you can help at least one person with vouchers without hurting anyone, then we should have school vouchers,” Sturdza said.

UC Dems representatives suggested alternatives to school vouchers like “tax-breaks for volunteering in public schools, encouraging adult education, and paying teachers what they are worth,” Kimberley said.

The parliamentary debate between the UC Dems and College Republicans is an annual event. Last year’s debate focused on Chicago’s gun control laws and gun regulation.