Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Joanne Jacobs Rules

Joanne Jacobs is keeping track of all the voucher buzz and much more. She links to a great Moira Breene take down of a New York Times school voucher editorial.

I really don't know where to begin or end with this, but I'm curious to know what kind of education the author thinks "the Constitution intended" public tax money to underwrite. He or she later makes the argument that public schools have a claim on the resources, good students, and involved parents that the voucher system will siphon away, so obviously it's not the limitation in choice of types of non-public schools that's the real issue here. Since the public schools in question were failing long before vouchers could provide this escape siphon, one concludes that this editorializer believes that "the Constitution intends" that public tax money should underwrite failing public schools.

And I particularly liked her point about the classic argument that only involved low-income parents will take advantage of school choice:

You knew you weren't going to get out without having to listen to this particular argument, which I already commented on above. Put aside for the moment the highly questionable "it's all about money" line. I've heard many variations of the above, and the really ugly thing about them all is the insistence that ambitious low-income parents must be made to sacrifice their children's chance at an education and a future to somebody else's troubled or neglected children, or somebody else's ideology. I'm sure you've come across this variant - that it is terribly unfair that only the children of the "uninvolved" parents will be left in the failing schools. In other words, we know the schools are bad, even the previous presence of concerned parents didn't change that, and since, with this new system, some kids are still going to be flushed down the toilet, we will fight it tooth and nail and demand that involved parents give us theirs to flush into the sewer, too.

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