The Public Interest

The school choice fiasco

Myron Lieberman

Winter 1994

ON NOVEMBER 2, 1993, California residents voted on Proposition 174, a state initiative that would have provided pupils with “scholarships” (vouchers worth at least $2500) that could be applied to the cost of attending any private school. The initiative also would have permitted students to transfer into any public school, tip to tile limit of its capacity.  The vote on Proposition 174 was 1,452,392 (30 percent) “Yes” to 3,336,76,3 (70 percent) “No,” a margin of” defeat that raises serious questions about tile value of earlier polls in California and elsewhere that showed a majority of parents and voters in favor of school choice. In 1990 and 1992, similar state initiatives in Oregon and Colorado also lost by large margins, continuing a long series of setbacks for school choice.

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