Vouchers/Freedman Revisited

MO’s Sager apparently misunderstood this post about Sam Freedman’s recent piece on Catholic schools. Perhaps it wasn’t clear. The point is not that Freedman got into the voucher issue, he didn’t and it’s somewhat irrelevant to his larger point. Rather, the issue is that the problems of Catholic schools again point to a problem with vouchers as a large-scale urban reform — the number of available seats for kids under these programs.

About Eduwonk’s “ideological” opposition to vouchers, Sager didn’t think so not long ago, though Eduwonk freely confesses that issues of program efficacy aside, a big concern with a lot of voucher proposals is that they sever the link between democratic accountability and decisonmaking and publicly funded education. That’s ideology, sure, and a debatable concern. But it’s not a trivial issue in terms of thinking about how to deliver education in a democratic society. Of course, there are ways to square that circle and provide parents with more options while protecting the public interest — charters schools are one, but not the only, option — but most voucher proponents don’t seem very serious about having that conversation. Perhaps that’s ideology, too.

Update: Sager responds here. Unfortunately he snipped — and seemingly stopped reading — before the line about “That’s ideology, sure…”. He also lays out a case for vouchers to help Catholic schools though such a plan would run afoul of Zelman.

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