Friday, March 15, 2002

AN INTERESTING TAKE ON SCHOOL VOUCHERS by Jeffrey Rosen in this essay in the New Republic. The main battle over equal educational opportunity has been between urban and suburban schools. He argues that liberals turned to school vouchers after the Supreme Court rejected constitutional claims seeking the forced integration of urban and suburban schools and mandatory funding parity. The main objection to voucher programs is that they don't provide parents with a "meaningful choice" among public and private, secular and religious schools, because most suburban schools don't participate. But, Rosen argues, this is a perverse argument because suburban schools won't voluntarily participate in voucher programs, and will kill any voucher program that makes them participate. So, in the quest for politcally impossible equality, voucher opponents deny urban school children the only politically viable route for any educational opportunity. The most surprising argument is that Republican suburbanites, not Democratic teachers unions, are the main opponents of voucher programs.

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