Heresy: why I support school vouchers

Michael Hoover hoov at
Tue Aug 3 14:46:49 MDT 1999

> Why should the better, private schools be a "right" of the rich and not the
> poor?
> So I say, vouchers for all, and not a measly thousand dollars or two, but
> vouchers that cover the full, real cost of an education at the BEST schools
> in a given area, including aftercare, including clubs and teams and music
> lessons and ballet recitals. Down with the state monopoly of education,
> which condemns millions of Black, Hispanic and other poor children to
> ignorance!
> Jose

private schools shouldn't be a 'right' for affluent...there should be
no private schools at all & no parents should be able to choose 'exit'
option, school district fiscal disparities caused by uneven
distribution of property tax revenues (which still generate about 50%
of public school funds) must be eliminated, and the approximately
16,000 independent school districts need to be consolidated (I
accidentally deleted Yoshie's post with reference to decentralization,
and consider that there were over 60,000 such districts at mid-century)...

re. universal fully-funded vouchers, they aren't gonna happen because
the premium attached to the value of homes is directly related to quality
of the local school district...middle/upper-middle strata parents are
generally satisifed with the quality of their kids education and *anything*
that could equalize quality between districts runs counter to what
they perceive their interests as homeowners - life, liberty, and
property values! - to be by devaluing their premium...

moreover, many parents who have already placed their kids in private
schools (as well as private school administrators) are not strong
advocates of vouchers because they sense that public funds will come
with strings attached (church-state, affirmative action, sex ed, equal
access, etc. issues)...

studies of universal fully funded voucher plans in the Netherlands and
Chile (begun during Pinochet's dictatorship) indicate that they have
exacerbated already existing inequalities/inequities of public
systems...privatization increases such gaps without making schools
better while reducing public efforts to reduce such conditions because
it relies on the market to bring about improvements that never come...

while polls show that more minority parents support vouchers than
their white counterparts, the movers and shakers of such schemes are
"free market" ideologues who have long opposed equal funding to public, to repeat, no private schools, no 'exit' option, fully
funded equal allocation for public schools, school district consolidation...
Michael Hoover

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