Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why School Vouchers are a Civil Rights Issue

This is why vouchers are ultimately a civil rights issue in which upper-middle class suburban families are pitted against inner city families:

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES? EDUCATION VOUCHERS AND THE SUBURBAN RESPONSE
by Chad dEntremont and Luis A. Huerta
Occasional Paper No. 137

Will vouchers for disadvantaged students lead to a suburban backlash?
A new paper by Chad dEntremont and Luis A. Huerta discusses the limited use of education vouchers in an era of unprecedented growth in school choice. It is divided into two parts: first, the authors describe policy, political, and legal barriers that limit the expansion of voucher programs. Discussion then shifts to the efforts of voucher advocates to build support among historically marginalized populations frustrated with the performance of public schools and open to limited forms of private school choice. The authors consider the consequences of these strategies and suggest that the very voucher programs that appeal to disadvantaged families may prove most offensive to middleclass and suburban voters who vigorously object to policies that undermine local authority and redistribute local resources. Specifically, vouchers have the potential to erase municipal boundaries, dissolve neighborhood ties, lower housing prices, and upset student enrollments.

New Occasional Papers from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education can be viewed at http://www.ncspe. org/list- papers.php

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