Pethokoukis

A brief defense of school vouchers

AEI’s Michael McShane ably defends vouchers from ill-informed attacks by Ember Reichgott Junge, the Democrat-Farm-Labor representative in the Minnesota State Legislature who authored  America’s first charter school bill:

For someone who spent so much time excoriating her opponents for giving short shrift to the complexities of the arguments that she was making for charter schools, I was quite surprised to see such a glib denunciation of vouchers. It read like a politician trying to score points.

Moreover, her criticisms of voucher programs are often off the mark. Her claim that, “private schools neither abide by state regulations nor are required to commit to performance standards or outcomes” (pg. 201) is not true. The three largest non-special needs school voucher programs (Milwaukee, Indiana, and Louisiana) all require participating schools to take the same standardized tests as the public schools.

Similarly, when she says that charter schools are more “inclusive” because private school tuition is higher than most voucher amounts and “families receiving vouchers must still raise the remainder of the tuition” (pg. 202) she incorrectly characterizes almost every voucher program in America. Only the Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ohio EdChoice scholarships require parents to meet the difference between the voucher amount and tuition, and that only applies to families with incomes more than 200% higher than the federal poverty line.

But beyond that, McShane recommends Reichgott Junge’s new book Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>