Greg Anrig writes at Washington Monthly that conservatives are abandoning the cause of school vouchers. Eighteen years have gone by since Milwaukee began its voucher program, and many other programs have been in effect for nearly that long. And finally some school voucher cheerleaders are admitting the programs neither helped low-achieving students nor improved public schools through “competition.”
Even more critical for the Right, school vouchers simply didn’t pan out as an effective political weapon to use against “liberals.” In particular, lots of those middle-class, small-town white folks the Right thinks they own did not want some gubmint program messing with the local public schools. In many of those towns the public schools (and the schools’ varsity sports programs) are the hub of the community. If you’re from a small middle-America town, as I am, you probably know what I’m talking about. Interesting that right-wing political leaders didn’t figure that out themselves.
Anrig also points out that whenever there’s been a statewide referendum on school vouchers, the voucher programs lost. And they usually lost big.
Now if we can just kneecap No Child Left Behind, maybe we can start focusing on real solutions to the problem of poor public schools.
On the other hand, Steve Benen says Florida Republicans didn’t get the memo and are still trying to sneak in a voucher system via deceptive constitutional amendment initiatives.