Focus Point - Choice DistortionsCommentary by Pete du Pont
June 29, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The recent wide spread reporting about the failure of school voucher programs sparked an NCPA study showing that writing off school choice is wishful thinking.
The study, by former Milwaukee public schools superintendent Howard Fuller and Kaleem Caire, shows most of the arguments leveled against choice are half-truths and sometimes just lies.
An example of the latter is senator Hillary Clinton's claim that there's no evidence vouchers improve student achievement. The facts are just the opposite: students who take advantage of vouchers make positive academic strides.
But a more insidious charge is that choice schools cherry-pick -- that is, taking the students they want while public schools can't turn anyone away.
Yet the Milwaukee journal sentinel found no student who complained of being denied admission to a choice school, not just in Milwaukee, but in Ohio or Florida, the other two states with voucher programs for low-income families.
Choice opponents don't have the facts. So they pound the table with propaganda.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.