Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

A Rebuttal to Statements in Anti-Voucher Letter

August 30, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In Edd Doerr’s July 27, 2005, letter to the editor (“Friedman ‘Willfully Ignores’ Voucher Damage,”), his opposition to the freedom that would result from a Milton Friedman-style voucher program is shocking enough—since he refers to America’s foundation on freedom—without his willingness to distort and mislead.

In contrast to what Mr. Doerr states, Newfoundland never had a voucher program. What its voters repealed in 1997 was the church supervision of public schools.

Friedman-style vouchers would unleash entrepreneurial initiative through universal participation and other factors missing from the narrowly targeted voucher programs that produced the “cost” findings Mr. Doerr cites. School choice opponents are ever willing to paint only the least attractive findings with a broad brush.

Voucher-referendum defeats were not repudiations of parental choice. Post-election studies showed that opposition resulted because people vote against what they don’t understand. Poll after poll shows general support for parental choice.

Teachers sometimes face religious tests, but only for jobs in church-run schools. Willing intellectual prisoners of the status quo assume that Friedman-style vouchers would create a private sector still dominated by churches. There is already evidence that churches dominate private schooling only when church subsidies are necessary for private schools to compete against public schools.

Most troubling is the implicit assumption that we are a nation of snobs, xenophobes, and racists; that in a system of genuine school choices, parents would widely ignore academic factors and instead pick schools based on the makeup of the student body. I reject that view of America. Polling of parents using vouchers shows that academic criteria matter most.

Even if choice opponents’ horrific view of parents’ priorities were accurate, it would be very difficult to produce more fragmentation along class and ethnic lines than our current practice of assigning children to schools based on where they live already does.

John D. Merrifield

Professor of Economics

University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read