Focus Point - The Voucher ShowdownCommentary by Pete du Pont
August 10, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Thanks to a growing number of tax-funded and privately-funded vouchers, more children, most of them racial minorities and many of them poor, will have a chance this fall to escape schools that can't teach them how to read, write and do arithmetic.
The numbers are still small. But that could change some time in the next year when the Supreme Court rules whether it's constitutional for children to use tax-funded vouchers to attend religious schools.
The public education establishment still controls 92 cents of every dollar spent on education, and it opposes choice. That's why the court's decision, wherever and whenever it comes -- probably from a challenge to the Cleveland program -- could open the floodgates for choice. School choice has an additional impact beyond getting kids out of bad schools -- public schools respond just like businesses do when faced with competition: they try to improve. So for students and parents stuck in bad schools with no way out, just give it one more year. The news could be good.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, nanny at work.