More Vouchers!

Jay Greene finds paradise by the blogboard light with a somewhat slippery post wondering again how anyone could possibly think that charter schools are OK but vouchers are not for anything other than nakedly political reasons.   The answer, I’d argue, isn’t that complicated and lies in the imprecision of words like “vouchers.”  At their core vouchers are just a method for funding schools.   As Jay notes, various requirements can and cannot be attached to that funding and therein lies the debate among people who are open to more intentional choice in public education than exists today and those who never met a choice plan they didn’t like.  That’s a vital debate because it’s about doing choice right and so the insinuations that anyone who is skeptical of some of these proposals and ideas is merely acting politically are hardly helpful.  Here’s a blast from the past considering some of those issues in relation to the D.C. voucher program when it was first enacted.

4 Replies to “More Vouchers!”

  1. It’s much simpler than that. Charters are PUBLIC and voucher schools are PRIVATE. The fact that they get “opportunity” vouchers in DC means that they finagled some public dollars for their private activity.

    Public schools face regulation and accountability. Private schools do not.

  2. EG-

    In what sense are charter schools more “public” than private schools participating in a voucher program? Charter schools are typically governed by unelected boards of directors. There’s nothing wrong with this, but that is exactly how private schools are typically governed as well.

    Charter schools are funded on a per student basis. So are private schools that participate in voucher programs.

    Charter schools get exempted from some regulations, vouchers always come with some amount of regulation.

    The only real differences are matters of degree, not differences in kind.

  3. Exactly my point. If private schools want to participate in a voucher program, they need to give up just about everything that makes them private. But with enough clout, they can have it both ways, taking public money and continuing to violate church/state separation, practicing price discrimination, avoiding accountability, etc.

    If private schools want to operate under the rules of public charters, then they should convert. Otherwise, they should refuse public dollars.

  4. Don’t expect Florida will do much expansion of vouchers after Figlio’s study (Northwestern University) showed Florida’s plan was ineffective!

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