Voucher advocates claim "competition" will benefit public schools, but the odds in competing are stacked against public schools. The playing field is uneven. Public schools must admit and educate all students regardless of status, capacity or background. Private schools may choose their clientele based on academic achievement, religious preference, artistic talent or other standards. They can require parental volunteer hours and can permanently expel students who misbehave. As a teacher and former PTA president I know parental support counts. Vouchers use public funds to woo the underpinnings of good public schools — the parents who care about their children's education and have the discretionary time to volunteer in classrooms. Why not validate voluntarism instead?

AnnaLea Cannon