Monday, September 22, 2003

School Board - The Washington Post's Paul Hill takes a balanced approach to the idea of school choice and the federally-mandated DC voucher program. I am a supporter of school choice, but I still think a federally-mandated voucher program is not the best solution to a clear problem for the crisis in our public school system. As Hill rightly points out, voucher supporters should recognize that there is nothing inherently magical about the voucher program, and that, in fact, there are major crippling obstacles to implementing a voucher program that could only worsen an already critical situation. I would also like to point out that any voucher program would STILL be a federally-mandated government program; and so it is a mistake to think that politics and government bureaucracy would not be involved in the implementation of such a program. Unless a voucher program is for all, and not a select few, the task of deciding who gets to buy in and who gets to watch on the sidelines does not seem like such a good school choice program to me. Also, ALL schools hoping to receive voucher money should be accountable to fair admissions policies and standards - making the "choice" of education that voucher recipients would hope to get a real choice. This means eliminating any racial, religious, gender, testing, etc., preconditions for admission. But, in the end, I'm willing to let voucher supporters have their shot at it. I think it's the wrong solution; and so I can't, in good conscience, support it. But out of respect for those who do support it, and who really have the good intention of improving on a problem recognized by all, I can't, also in good conscience, deny the voucher movement's right to have the chance to prove me wrong.

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