The Ultimate Argument for School Choice?

There are millions of parents out there who don’t have enough money for private school but who have thought just as sensibly and care just as much about their children’s education as affluent people do. Let’s use the money we are already spending on education in a way that gives those parents the same kind of choice that wealthy people, liberal and conservative alike, exercise right now. That should be the beginning and the end of the argument for school choice.

That's the conclusion of a NY Times op-ed written by Charles Murray, in which he discusses the fallacy of relying on standardized test scores as a means of evaluating K-12 educational results. Murray discusses results of a well-designed study of the Milwaukee school voucher program (oldest in the nation), which found that voucher and traditional students fared about as well as one another (curiously, this sort of finding of parity is always interpreted as a slam on vouchers, which inevitably cost less than traditional per-pupil payouts).

Reason on education here.

Bonus: Murray complains about measly paycheck for said op-ed.

Tip: Romenesko.

DC residents ask Barack Obama why he let the city's school voucher program die an ignoble death:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I want to beat all my liberal friends over the head with that DC voucher video to show what a piece of work the man they idolize is, but unfortunately most of my liberal friends are public school teachers.

  • ||

    How does it feel to have such a coterie of parasites for pals?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The thing is, every indication is that most of them are good educators; much better than so many of their colleagues. I think they would be competitive in an actual market. They don't need the rigged system set up for them by their unions. But they've been convinced they need it.

  • Hobie Hanson||

    "curiously, this sort of finding of parity is always interpreted as a slam on vouchers, which inevitably cost less than traditional per-pupil payouts"

    That's not curious because voucher fetishists always paint the public schools as irredeemably broken. Factor in the fact that public schools must take all comers, and it shows what every realistic person already knew -- public schools are the last, best hope for America.

  • Whiskey Tango||

    And you and your public school fetsishists forget that the private/charter schools do take in disadvantaged and disabled kids. You also forget, or don't give a shit, that the voucher programs generate the same results for a fraction of the cost of public schools. How you can claim that this proves that public schools are our last, best hope, is beyond me and the rest of us that actually have looked at the facts.

  • 4 vouchers||

    "Factor in the fact that public schools must take all comers" Reason enough for vouchers: Less children in the public system will allow for the remediation of children who are below grade.

  • ||

    public schools are the last, best hope for America

    Translation: We're fucking doomed.

  • Jordan||

    I want to beat all my liberal friends over the head with that DC voucher video to show what a piece of work the man they idolize is, but unfortunately most of my liberal friends are public school teachers.

    Well, Tony has previously admitted that childrens' minds belong to the collective, so I don't think your liberal friends give a shit if some black kids suffer, as long as they're being fed the collective-approved narrative.

  • Teachers Union||

    You can have your school vouchers when you pry them from my dead, cold fingers.

  • Patriot||

    If I saw a public employee, particularly a public teacher get into a car accident I would simply smile and watch them die. I would not call for help.

    The Teachers Union is beyond reform. They must be destroyed, and their members HANGED for treason. I pray for ALL your members to die a painful death.

  • Concerned liberal Mother||

    I don't want my kids going to school with all of those *whisper* "inner city" kids. I'm afraid they might get into drugs, gangs, violence and guns. Can't we just make make better schools for them where they live?

  • ||

    The problem with these studies is the problem with all studies for all activities. They can never include all variables, and the results are an average that can disguise important subgroups.
    There are probably students who do better in a public school than a voucher. But the fact that some percentage does well does not mean that the subgroup that does not do well should therefore not have a choice to try other alternatives.
    Choice, the ability to decide what is best for you, by you, choosing the criteria that are important to you.

  • ||

    Liberals are only pro-choice on one issue, and of course they're wrong on that issue.

  • Be less||

    Right or wrong, a person's choice is their business. The only absolute wrong is your blanket judgement.

  • The Gobbler||

    Choice is about abortion, not education.

  • #||

    Choice is about abortion, not education anything else.

  • ||

    what every realistic person already knew -- public schools are the last, best hope for America.

    "Say 'good night' Gracie."

  • Warty||

    $75? Shit, I'll write op-eds for half that. Get in touch with me, NYT.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Maybe the family-values people of both the right and the left (yes, the "First Five Years" crap is but one example of the family-values agenda of the left) should pay more attention to the way coercive public schooling helps turn families into war zones.

  • ||

    Hey Brian, can you try to be slightly less lame and write a new post at least? Reading the same whining gets old pretty fast; some new whining would be nice. By the way, have you ever been with a real woman? I'm just curious.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Quit whining about my whining, you hypocrite.

    You can read my blog to find the answer to your "real woman" question.

  • T||

    I'm with Epi, Brian. If you're gonna keep blogwhoring, put up new posts. You've got to keep the content coming to get repeat readers. Otherwise, we just look at your link and go "meh, same old post". Tell us something new, and hopefully interesting, about your deranged personal hell. Otherwise, STFU.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    I'll believe you when SiteMeter tells me I'm getting no more traffic from my comments here.

  • cynical||

    Maybe people should stop blogwhoring since no one gives a fuck.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Is it fair to call it blogwhoring if I convincingly tie it to the post topic? I don't think so.

    Also, you protest too much. Your willingness to reply to my comment tells me you give at least a tiny little fuck.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "Murray complains about measly paycheck ...."

    But then he took said measly paycheck. I would have paid him $100 to run the piece in my blog, but somehow it was worth more to him to run his piece in the Times. That's how the market works, I guess.

  • ||

    Hmnm: The NYT gave him a big bullhorn AND a few bucks as payment for using it, and he complains? Here in Santa Cruz, the local paper printed an Op-Ed from me and paid nothing. I -- a technical writer who usually gets paid for the words he emits -- was happy that they let me use their bullhorn. Had they paid me anything at all in addition, I would have been ecstatic. I think one might have a case about wanting to be paid (more) if 1) the piece were solicited; and/or 2) the piece definitely added value to the publication to the point of increasing circulation. How many more copies did the NYT sell because Murray's op-ed was in the issue, I wonder?

  • ||

    You can read my blog

    Never happen.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties