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What about tax-funded vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools?

While tax-funded vouchers, education/scholarship tax credits, and charter schools introduce sorely-needed competition into schooling, they have at least four serious flaws which suggest they are more of a curse than a blessing.

(The following critique speaks to vouchers, but when all the camouflage is removed, the drawbacks of vouchers are also inherent in universal tax credits, refundable tax credits, scholarship tax credits, and charter schools.)

  1. Vouchers spread the dependency attitude to independent families currently paying for their children's education.

  2. Vouchers obscure the difference between parents who are willing to sacrifice to send their children to a private school and those who are unwilling to sacrifice. This means private schools will lower their standards of who gets in.

  3. By creating a flow of money from the state to private schools, vouchers pave a wide road for additional regulations and controls. "When you reach for the money is when they slip on the handcuffs."

    Just as bad, the Zellman decision by the Supreme Court means voucher legislation will include "admission lottery" clauses. This will hurt private schools by restricting their choice of admission standards.

    A common control is to require voucher-redeeming schools to administer standardized tests. These tests, in effect, dictate the curriculum, as the private schools do not wish to have lower test scores than the public schools.

  4. Other than expensive prep schools, private and religious schools that refuse to accept the voucher will lose a significant number of their students to voucher-redeeming schools. Many will face the choice of accepting the voucher ? and its controls ? or going out of business.

The net result of these flaws is that if vouchers become commonplace, private and religious schools will become more and more like public schools. In effect, vouchers and other plans for continuing to use tax revenue for schools will kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs of private education.

We propose interim steps that don't bring families into dependency, nor have the high risk of converting private schools into public school look-alikes.

Here are some ideas that actually roll back government involvement rather than increase it:

  • Increase private voucher programs
  • Repeal compulsory attendance laws
  • Repeal government mandated graduation standards and testing
  • Repeal government involvement in tenure
  • Repeal government teacher credentialing

The links below point to some of the best articles written about vouchers thus far.

Further below are links to two beautiful stories that illustrate the risk of vouchers, one about hogs in Georgia and the other about Davy Crockett.

Vouchers are Bad News for Freedom-Lovers
by Marshall Fritz
Fritz compares liberals to B'rer Rabbit on voucher issue, and calls on conservatives and libertarians to not be B'rer Fox

Red pajamas, blue pajamas: How vouchers, tax-credits, and charter schools hurt education
by Marshall Fritz
Fritz warns husbands to avoid using the underlying voucher idea with their wives, and exposes the "fake right" upon which all government financed schooling rests

Vouchers are Welfare
by Lew Rockwell
The President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute highlights Justice Souter's prediction (threat?) to voucher redeeming schools that dependence on the state "will become great enough to give the State of Ohio an effective veto over basic decisions on the content of curriculums"

The School Voucher Myth
by J.H. Huebert
Huebert argues that voucher advocates focus narrowly on the short-term issue of choice and thus lose sight of bigger, longer-term, and more important issues

Refuting the Voucherites
by Steven Yates
Yates shows how vouchers are a snare and a delusion and will bring a sense of short term freedom to choose followed by long term misery

The Voucher Trap
by Gordon Francis Corbett
Corbett observes that to obtain Federal aid for its schools, a state's Department of Education signs contracts binding them to Federal regulations. He concludes that tax-defrayed state vouchers will do the same to recipient private schools

Vouchers and educational freedom: A debate
Joseph L. Bast and David Harmer versus Douglas Dewey
Cato Policy Analysis No. 269, March 12, 1997
Major written debate; convinced Maggie Gallagher to switch to anti-voucher position

Four ways vouchers harm education
by Marshall Fritz
Fritz identifies Voucher-Left game plan by Clinton's Undersecretary of Education to control private schools via vouchers; also shows the deceit involved in the Arizona style scholarship tax credits

Losing Supreme Control
by Cathy Cuthbert
The editor of the Honest Ed News writes that a recent court decision provides the key to looking at the big picture that has emerged over the past 150 or so years -- control

Emerging "Voucher Left" could alter school-choice debate
by Brandon Dutcher
One-page article on how the "Left" will take over the voucher issue

Playing at markets: Vouchers as a socialist trap
by Douglas Dewey
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
Dewey explains that vouchers are fundamentally wrong because they fully embrace the error of government funding of education

How I found myself squirming uncomfortably in support of tax-funded education vouchers: An interview with David R. Henderson
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
Henderson reveals what made him switch from pro-voucher to anti-voucher

Can you say "en"ti'"tle"ment"? Three reasons to reject "education food stamps"
by Marshall Fritz
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
Calling vouchers the "Typhoid Mary" of education reforms, Fritz gives prudential, principled, political and practical reasons to reject them

Freedom lovers against vouchers
by Marshall Fritz
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
List of conservatives and libertarians who are opposed to vouchers

Freedom lovers for tax-funded vouchers
by Marshall Fritz
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
List of conservatives and libertarians who favor vouchers

Steps that may pass the Separation filter
by Pam Probst
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 3, April 1996
Fifteen incremental steps toward School Liberation that do not run the risk of increasing state control of schooling

Moral absolutists stand by while kids suffer: Observations on the anti-voucher Separationists
by Joseph Bast & David Harmer
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 8, October 1996
Bast & Harmer "hammer" Fritz for his anti-voucher views

Why we won't hush: A response to Bast & Harmer (Or, how I survived the briar patch and came out grinning)
by Marshall Fritz
Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 8, October 1996
Fritz' response to Bast & Harmer

Vouchers create dependency
by Ari Armstrong
"...voucher programs are the political equivalent of 'get rich quick' schemes. They look great on paper, but they rarely work well in practice." Praises insight by Ruben Navarrette and criticizes argument by Deroy Murdock

Catholic school in Toronto gets surprise from a judge
An example of the surprising new regulations that emerge once one accepts government money

How to Separate School and State: A Primer
by Douglas Dewey
An essay that provides an introductory answer to the "how" question

Below are two enchanting stories, each making a powerful point that bears on the tax-funded voucher. The first speaks to entrapment and the second to evil.

The wild and free pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp
How a trapper from North Dakota outsmarted the wild hogs.

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