The Public Interest

The right choice for schools

Mark Gerson

Spring 2000

ONE of tile many interesting facts brought forth in Joseph Viteritti’s Choosing Equality: School Choice, the Constitution and Civil Society ) is that the first comprehensive case for school vouchers was articulated by Milton Friedman in 1955. Almost a half century after Friedman made his radical case, its central idea is now widely accepted by thoughtful people on the Right and the Left. Nearly all Republicans and increasing numbers of Democrats are in favor of the government providing vouchers that enable poor children to attend private, public, or parochial schools. The precise form that an individual voucher program will take remains a source of debate and discussion, but matters of legislative execution always vary from locale to locale. The fact remains that the intellectual debate over the merit and justice of vouchers is over—and this would have been impossible to predict only five years ago. 

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