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.