George Will on School Vouchers & Florida Supremes (Veiled Subscription Pitch)


The Wash Post columnist decries the recent Florida Supreme Court decision, which struck down the Sunshine State's Opportunity Scholarship Program, a plan that gave 733 kids at persistently failing schools some state money to attend private schools. Writes Will:

The court held that the OSP violates the stipulation, which voters put into the constitution in 1998, that the state shall provide a "uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education."

The court wielded the first adjective as a scythe to cut down the OSP. It argued that the word "uniform" means that the state must utilize only public schools in providing "high quality education."…

The court's ruling was a crashing non sequitur: that the public duty to provide something (quality education) entails a prohibition against providing it in a particular way (utilizing successful private educational institutions). The court's ruling was neither constitutional law nor out of character, and it illustrates why the composition of courts has become such a contentious political issue.

Whole thing here.

In Reason's April issue–on newsstands now but not yet available online–our cover story plumbs "The Agony of American Education" and looks at how San Francisco is radically altering public schools through "per-student funding." Go here for a preview and go here to subscribe to the print edition of Reason. Just $20 gets you 11 issues of the magazine of "Free Minds and Free Markets" delivered right to your door.