George Will on School Vouchers

Since I’ve been critical of George Will in the past, I think it is only fair that I should highlight his recent column, which contains some points with which I agree. He writes about a Florida court’s decision to suspend a school voucher program, and this decision’s impact on students. While his language is peppered with predictable jabs at Democrats, his basic point, that it seems crazy to force students to stay in failing schools when other options are available, deserves further consideration.

He writes:

Florida’s Supreme Court fulfilled the desires of the teachers unions, and disrupted the lives of the 733 children and their parents, by declaring, in a 5 to 2 ruling, that the voucher program is incompatible with the state constitution. Specifically, and incredibly, the court held that the OSP violates the stipulation, which voters put into the constitution in 1998, that the state shall provide a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education.”

The usual Liberal argument against school vouchers is that they erode support for Public schools and inundate functioning schools with too many students. While this may be true, it is not necessarily a good argument for the alternative, which is forcing those students to stay in failing schools. And of course, teacher’s unions hate vouchers because, if fewer students come to their schools, there will be fewer jobs for them.

We ought to be able to provide excellent education to all our students, and we aren’t. I propose making it illegal for k-12 schools to charge tuition. Yes, you heard me. Every school would be given the same amount of public funding by the government, and any student could go to any school. Teachers would be paid the same salary anywhere, including, possibly, performance incentives or any other salary adjustment. Socialized education, essentially, and probably totally antithetical to what George means, but a solution to the problem that bothers him.

3 Replies to “George Will on School Vouchers”

  1. You write: “The usual Liberal argument against school vouchers…”

    First, let me say that I dispise the timidity of the Dems these days. They should be thrown out with the Repubs.

    I’m a raging 9/11 Truth person.

    So, although I agree with you, and George Will, I think your words saying that the usual Liberal argument… should instead say ‘the usual Democratic Party argument…”

    There isn’t usually a huge difference between liberal positions and Dem positions. However, when interest group politics are involved, the difference can be huge.

  2. Hey Bill, thanks for reading.

    I agree with you that powerful interest groups can distort party positions pretty heavily in their areas, and every party has a few. You’re correct that I probably ought to have said “Democratic.”

    What interests me more, however, is your belief that the Dems are just as bad as the Repubs. While I agree that, if one were so inclined, one could probably make some good points against any elected representative, it seems clear to me that the Republicans have made more bad decisions.

    You mention 9/11 Truth–can you tell me more about what you mean? And wasn’t it the Republicans who fought against the 9/11 commission? Let me know what you think.

  3. I have to agree with you on this one. The only reason my daughter goes to public school is because I can’t afford the nearly $5,000 a year it would cost for her to go to a private school.

    I think if parents were able to decide where their kids went to school then our public schools wouldn’t function so poorly. This, in my opinion, is where competition would benefit the students. Right now, with No Child Left Behind, our kids get the shaft.

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