Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Via Tim Lee, discussing school choice and voucher programs:

What we have, then, is a program that offers more choices to low-income parents, is extremely popular with those parents (the Milwaukee program has been repeatedly expanded to make room for rising demand), saves the state money (because the voucher is almost always for a significantly smaller amount than the average per-pupil cost of public schools), and seems to perform no worse than the more expensive public school option. In a rational world, a program that performs no worse than the program it replaced, is popular with its target audience, and saves taxpayers money would be regarded as a modest success that ought to be replicated elsewhere. Yet in the bizarro world of education policy, such the fact that voucher and public schools seem to perform similarly is taken as evidence that vouchers are fatally flawed and ought to be abandoned. It’s really odd.

I could not have said it better myself. I have noticed that when given a situation where you have on one hand a government-run program or law (i.e. minimum wage law) and choice on the other (school choice or freedom of contract) and little or negative net difference between the two as far as impact, even if freedom gets us to the same place at the end of the day, the burden is on us to explain why we should have the ability to choose and not have the government do it for us.

Bluntly put, Tim's comment exemplifies the Left's aversion to the freedom of choice. It isn't limited to education policy either.


Furious Furby said...

Agreed. The voucher program failed here in Florida, but it simply was not given the time and funding it needed. I've done extensive research in this area and, as a proponent of privatization, school vouchers is a great first step. When are people going to understand the inefficiency of government. It's interesting that in Marx's ten steps to achieving communism, public education is number ten. Nice site.

Americaneocon said...

I'm not opposed to school choice in principle, but when we start blaming academic failure on teachers rather than students - for example, on merit pay - then I do take exception.

We've got a long way to go to work this stuff out, but more incentives all around, distributed fairly, should be considered.