A. Barton Hinkle on the Case for School Vouchers


Credit: ajagendorf25 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

If you were planning to pull any practical jokes on Lily Eskelen Garcia or Bob Farrace, you might want to hold off. They're probably not in the mood for it. Garcia is president of the National Education Association. Farrace is a spokesman for the National Association of Secondary School Principals. They recently were quoted about Nevada's passage of a school-choice measure, which allows families opting out of the public education system to send their kids' share of per-pupil spending to whatever school they choose.

Garcia says this leaves her "terrified" because so many states (27 at last count) "have bought into this very dangerous idea that school is a commodity." Farrace warns that "funneling public funds to private schools means fewer teachers, fewer counselors, fewer supplemental services and, in general, fewer opportunities for the vast majority of kids who remain in public schools. It really violates the public trust when policymakers place individual benefit before the public good."

These are standard talking points in the school-choice debate, observes A. Barton Hinkle. Unfortunately, they're also totally misleading.