Friday, January 06, 2006

School Vouchers - RIP

This article at TPMCafe does a good job explaining why yet another really bad Republican idea is now in its death throes:

These are not good times at conservative idea factories and their advocacy affiliates. They were humbled when Social Security privatization bit the dust. They were crushed when they lost the Dover, Pennsylvania intelligent design case. And now the Florida Supreme Court, bless them once again, has struck down Jeb Bush's signature school voucher plan.

Like Social Security privatization, the school voucher idea is unraveling because of a fundamental flaw that inherently prevents it in practice from fulfilling its theoretical promise. It's a flaw that lies at the heart of yesterday's ruling in Florida and has become plainly evident in the nation's biggest voucher experiment in Milwaukee. That flaw is that vouchers require public funds to be spent on activities that lack public accountability....

The whole purported appeal of vouchers ... is that they are supposed to bypass government bureaucracies. Parents "empowered" with vouchers will on their own have the incentives to seek out the best schools for their children without any intervening public agencies.....
But how are parents supposed to discover good schools in the absence of any reliable, systematic source of information about them? How are the rest of us supposed to judge whether the experiment is working or not in the absence of any data?

... One of the great unresolved contradictions in the conservative movement's advocacy on education is the extent to which it is demanding that public schools adhere to rigid testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act while simultaneously promoting voucher systems that require no reporting at all from private schools about their performance.

No comments:

Post a Comment