Magazine article The American Enterprise

School Vouchers Aren't Risky

Magazine article The American Enterprise

School Vouchers Aren't Risky

Article excerpt

New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani wants to test vouchers for two to three years in just one of his city's 32 school districts. Of the 1.1 million public school students in New York, about 3,000 poor kids would get vouchers averaging $6,500, redeemable at private or parochial campuses. "Let's see if it works," Giuliani suggested in his State of the City address.

The public school establishment replied, Not on your life. At an antischool-choice symposium last May, United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten howled that "vouchers would be absolutely destructive to us as a community and a society." U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) described vouchers as "daggers that plunge into the heart of what is the American way."

Why are liberals so allergic to school vouchers? After all, they support many other kinds of vouchers, which simply give the needy both the finances and the freedom to shop for the goods and services they want.

Food stamps, for instance, are food vouchers. Uncle Sam could build government-run supermarkets to sell state-approved groceries at politically established prices. But that would be a much worse approach than giving the poor vouchers to buy food they find appetizing from private grocers. Federal vouchers also help low-income parents pay for day care. And liberals love rental vouchers that allow the poor to find private apartments instead of living in squalid government housing projects.

Actually, educational vouchers already abound. The G.I. Bill is a voucher program that helps veterans study at public, private, or parochial colleges. …

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