Voucher Creators and Their Disciples Use Magicians’ Tools to Promote Their Cause
Magicians use lies (deceit), distractions, sleight of hand, and planning ahead to trick and entertain folks. The original voucher promoters, Economist Milton Friedman and his fellow-travelers in the 1950’s, were promoting the political ideology that various governmental functions should be privatized; thus, subject to market forces. Friedman believed that public education should be privatized and that ultimately the parents should bear the cost of educating their own children. He pushed the idea of the government providing vouchers to parents as an interim measure. His real mission was to shift the total responsibility of education to parents.
Friedman’s voucher kick was rolled out in the context of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board of Education. Brown struck down the “separate but equal legal doctrine”, in favor of racial integration in public schools.
Segregationists picked up on the voucher concept as a tactic to avoid integration. Friedman may not have supported the tactic, but the segregationists ran with the voucher idea.
Fast-forward to 2006. Friedman in 2006 in a presentation to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) stated that the public school system was a mistake. His ultimate goal from the beginning of the voucher idea seemed to be to privatize what had been a government function since near the beginning of the nation.
President Reagan, who was fond of saying “government is the problem”, was a huge supporter of the voucher idea. His Nation at Risk report–an unwarranted attack on the American common school system—paved the way for vouchers and other tax-funded school choice programs to get a foothold in American education. Every president following Reagan has been a supporter of school choice programs; at least none of them have taken a stance against school choice.
In Ohio, during the 1990’s, under the disingenuous guise of rescuing students from low performing school districts, the Cleveland voucher program was initiated. Without any proof that vouchers were worthy of tax support or would pass constitutional muster, the voucher concept was extended in type and scope.
The EdChoice voucher program was later introduced as a vehicle to rescue poor students from so-called low performing school districts. The voucher magicians in Ohio revealed their mission when HB290–the universal voucher bill—was introduced. Up to that point they just lied about their actual mission—vouchers for all.
Many of the current voucher promoters may not realize that the voucher creators and their true disciples have a follow-up agenda to universal vouchers: stop government support and make parents responsible for funding the education of their own children.
Learn more about the EdChoice voucher litigation