The Case Against School Vouchers.

As education policy is in the news at the moment, I was looking for evidence for school voucher programs around the world, I came across an academic book The Case Against School Vouchers. Contrary to the Amazon review, which said

[The authors] were also able to state their case based on facts and research rather than opinionated rhetoric…

the abstract demonstrates the book considers nothing but political questions and completely ignores the performance of school voucher programs in increasing the educational attainment of those let down by state-run schools, and its arguments aren’t even internally consistent.

Controversy over whether public funds should be used to support nonpublic education has raged since the early 19th century. In the 1990s the debate centers around elementary and secondary school tuition vouchers or tutorial assistance grants. This book summarizes the case against vouchers and provides evidence and documentation for each argument. The chapters argue that voucher proposals undermine religious liberty; clash with the Establishment Clause of the Constitution; run counter to public opinion; provide funding to fundamentalist Christian schools that teach bigotry; conflict with the major tenets of American democracy–respect for diversity, intellectual freedom, and religious tolerance; create additional transportation costs; and exacerbate inequities among school districts.

Let’s look at this in detail.

“Undermining religious liberty” by allowing people to send their children to a school of their choice. I smell bullshit.

“Clash with the establishment clause of the constitution” if you’re funding private schools at the direction of parents, how in the name of all that’s holy, does that create an established church?

“Run counter to public opinion” People don’t like change & they’ve been told by the teachers that vouchers are right up there with the holocaust for pure, unadulterated evil. “Look…. LOOK. Pinochet supported them…”. Of course this is a non-argument.

“Provide funding to fundamentalist Christian schools that teach bigotry” Freedom, if it means anything is freedom to teach stupid things to your kids, who, if exposed to actual freedom may well, and often do, end up making up their own minds. The truth outs eventually. Frankly if you’re already teaching a kid that a sky pixie will lightening him if he has a wank, then it’s a short step from there to creationism. Bigotry’s already allowed; the Rubicon’s already crossed.

God, punishing onanism, yesterday.

“Conflict with the major tenets of American democracy–respect for diversity, intellectual freedom, and religious tolerance” So allowing people free will in how they bring up their children disrespects diversity? Creating a varied school system which includes religious schools, if the parents want, is against religious tolerance? Instead, ensuring every school sticks to a centrally dictated syllabus supports intellectual freedom? Check out the pinko double-think.

“Create additional transportation costs” America is the world’s largest, richest economy where people drive 40 miles to get milk; so who, really, gives a fuck?

“Exacerbate inequities among school districts”, mainly between those that do have a voucher program and those that don’t. That “inequality” is the genius of the voucher system. Parents will be able to see good schools, and crucially be able to send their kids there. Good schools expand, poor schools fail. The result, everyone gets a better education, just not everyone gets better at the same rate.

The fact is school voucher programs have at worst not done any harm, and have at best achieved great improvement amongst the worst-performing demographics. This isn’t important to the ideologues who wrote that book. Nor is it important to any opponent of free schools anywhere, who are usually motivated by the producer interest.

With a proper free schools voucher program, teachers either teach what the parents want, or get fired. The Unions’ opposition to Free schools in the UK is nothing short of Evil. Tories know that in order for this to work, as it does in Sweden, or the Netherlands, schools must be allowed to make a profit. Failure to speak up for this is nothing short of abject cowardice.

No-one comes out of this looking good except uncle Milt, who is, as ever completely right on absolutely everything.

7 replies
  1. JimmyGiro
    JimmyGiro says:

    Speaking as an old atheist, I'm suspicious of the new atheists' willingness to embroil themselves with the bigoted church of Marxist-Feminism.

    Dawkins regularly hangs out with Poly Toynbee, for chri-sakes.

    The solution to the calamity of our schools is not how they're funded, but how the teachers are selected and trained.

    WE NEED TO REMOVE ALL THE FEMINISTS. It's the cheapest and most sure fire way of greatest improvement.

  2. stevehem
    stevehem says:

    There is no way that we'll get vouchers in the UK. too many cosy jobs are at risk from introducing them. Forbidding operators of free schools to make a profit has ensure that we won't get more good schools, we'll just get more religious ones.

  3. Skimmer
    Skimmer says:


    Is really worth watching.

    Amongst other highlights was the Teachers Unions opposing an initiative for Washington Teachers to get paid in excess of $100,000 p.a. if they gave up tenure, and accepted performance reviews.

    Fucking tragic, but some sparks have been lit with the charter school system – excellent interviews with the brave souls that have pioneered that route.

  4. klu01dbt
    klu01dbt says:

    The biggest problem I see with vouchers is that the state begins to fund currently private schools.

    If we were to introduce school vouchers today does anyone think that in 20 years time there will not be a call to introduce regulation across the board bringing the likes of Eton, Harrow and the numerous smaller private schools into line.

    Whilst generally in favour of vouchers I fear there could be a longer game in play.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The state should not fully fund private schools, ever.

    Each state/gov spends so many dollars per pupil. Where I live the government spends on average $6,000 per student. My child doesn't receive $6,000 worth of educational services since she is well behaved and doesn't have a need for a school counselor, or a resource officer, or for an ESOL program, since she is a US citizen and speaks English.

    Fortunately she does not have a need for extra enrichment classes or have any other special needs or concerns. Therefore the government spends, maybe $2,000 or less on her and moves the extra $4,000 to someone else. One child may use up $10,000 worth of tax payer money on services while another child may use only $2,000.

    By giving parents a voucher of (for example) $6,000 each, they can choose how and where to spend it so their child uses their fair share of the money alotted to them. Why should society hold back high performing student because others have behaviorial issues, attitude problems, or come from families not willing to step up and help their children with his or her school performance.

    A good private school costs about $7,000 per year. I cannot afford that tuition every year my child is in school and save for college. However, If I recieved a $6,000 voucher and paid out of pocket the additional 1 grand I could swing it by making choices like driving an older vehicle or taking cheaper and more localized vacations etc.

    The complaints I hear locally from people who are not in favor of this voucher system is they do not think they should have to make up the difference between the voucher allotment and the cost of tuition. They feel entitled to a fantastic but free education and do not feel they should have to give up their gas guzzler, mcmansion or exotic vacations to pay for something as boring as tuition. Or they complain because they chose to have a large family and cannot swing the additional charge for 4 or 5 children.

    The unions hate the vouchers because if I pulled my daughter out of her local public school I would take the $6,000 with me. The school loses the left over money my daughter doesn't use. She gets a dumbed down curriculum and the dregs suck up the resources.

    I think vouchers are a good idea. It will break the power and monopoly of the unions, foster competition between schools, spread the money alotted evenly between students so that middle and high performing students do not get held back. We are cheating the middle and high performing students.



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *