In a piece that had all the usual suspects on all sides of the debate chattering, school voucher advocate Clint Bolick crowed yesterday in the WSJ about the spread of school choice. Couple of thoughts: First, this — Bolick’s progress to date — is the inevitable outcome of trying to fight something with nothing. The field is wide-open for ambitious public school choice and public charter school plans to counter various voucher proposals. Parents want choices (ignore the polls, they vote with their feet after choice programs get established, and sometimes sooner) so just fighting it is like fighting gravity. Second, per my back-and-forth with Matt Ladner about McKay special education vouchers, Bolick lets the cat out of the bag about the end game there: Surprise! It’s not really about special education! So third, what’s the point here? Bolick’s a pretty savvy guy, why is he tipping his hand on the macro strategy like this? Not as though it was a big secret but it’s still unusual to see it laid out like this.
Update: Possible theories as to why it’s time to crow now: (a) Lay out a kinder gentler approach focused on disadvantaged kids to try to lure moderate reform oriented Dems and lefty grassroots Dems into the fold (b) To scare Dems into the fold with Matrix-style “That is the sound of inevitability. That is the sound of….your death” scare tactics or (c) Bolick is getting ready to move on to his next act and this is a swan song to get a marker down on all he’s done to date. Photo Credit: The Birdchaser.
Update II: Several readers with good knowledge of the voucher community say it’s a lot of (c). Apparently there has been some grumbling of late about a lack of strategy and small policy initiatives and this was an effort to tamp that down.