Wednesday, January 31, 2007

School Choices: Part V A Preferred Policy Solution: School Choice?

In 1962, Milton Friedman, later winning a Nobel Prize in Economics, proposed the idea of education vouchers as an alternative to failing public schools. Since then, several organizations have justified the propositions of such a program with varied support. Some have argued that vouchers fit into a Rawlsian theory of justice, giving students their greatest opportunity to achieve equality. (William G. Powell and Paul E. Peterson, The Education Gap, pages 1-2. Also Brighouse, Harry, "Egalitarian Liberals and School Choice," Politics & Society, vol. 24 (December 1996), pages 457-86.)

There have been three major types of school choice: intra-district, inter-district, and extra-system or parochial/private school choice. Intra-district school choice allows parents to transfer students anywhere within a public school district, with transportation costs subsidized. Inter-district choice allows students to attend any public school, within the state, though perhaps without transit subsidies. Extra-system expands the range of choices by allowing parents to send their children to private schools with their tuition credited or vouched from that pupil's public school spending budget. (See Unger, Harlow G,, "School Choice," Encyclopedia of American Education, Second Edition, Vol. 3, page 934.)

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