The Public Interest

School choice schism

Myron Lieberman

Spring 2002

THE school voucher movement in the United States has been divided over its goals and strategies ever since Milton Friedman first urged a voucher plan in 1956. Two recent provoucher books document and continue these arguments, and taken together are likely to influence the school-choice debate for years to come. The School Choice Wars, † authored by John M. Merrifield, a professor of economics at the University of Texas-San Antonio, is a free-market argument for vouchers accompanied by a withering critique of the school-choice movement. Schools, Vouchers, and the American Public, †† by Terry M. Moe, professor of political science at Stanford, offers a political analysis of vouchers. These two books, which were written independently of each other, help to clarify many of the major issues dividing the voucher movement.

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