Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Vouchers by ‘Political Fiat’? Nonsense.

April 12, 2005 1 min read

To the Editor:

Edd Doerr (“Voucher Plan Disregards Wishes of D.C. Voters,” Letters, March 16, 2005) complains that a number of voucher plans “were adopted not by the people, but by political fiat.” Nonsense. These plans were the result of the work of duly elected representative assemblies, not arbitrary decree.

Initiatives and referendums, to which Mr. Doerr often refers favorably, are certainly legitimate means of expressing the popular will, but, like legislative assemblies, they sometimes fall prey to the influence of well-organized special-interest groups, (for example, education associations), or the politics of fear, (for example, anti-Catholicism).

Recall, for example, that in 1922, Oregon voters approved a petition initiative, driven in large measure by religious prejudice, requiring nearly all children between the ages of 8 and 16 to attend public schools. During the legal proceedings that culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Pierce v. Society of Sisters decision in 1925, defenders of the law admitted that its purpose was to destroy private schools.

A legitimate means of expressing the popular will does not guarantee a legitimate end.

James C. Carper

Professor and Chair

Department of Educational Studies

University of South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.

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
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Teaching Workforce
We discuss the importance of workforce diversity and learn strategies to recruit and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District
Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read