Vol. 36 No. 7
The Political Economy of Educational Vouchers
By Dwight R. Lee
Dr. Lee is a professor of economics at the University of Georgia, where he holds the Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise.
Public financing of education means political control.
The crisis in public education is real. As judged by any reasonable measure, the quality of public education is declining as the cost of public education is increasing. The desire for reform in public education is genuine. Parents want a good education for their children, and taxpayers want an honest return for their dollars. Unfortunately, a realistic appraisal of why meaningful reform in public education is so badly needed also points to why meaningful reform is so unlikely to occur.
The underlying problem with public education is, quite simply, that it is public. As long as education is provided publicly, it will be controlled by, and for the benefit of, public education professionals. The reason for this is straightforward....