August 07, 2002


VOUCHIN': Today's Wall Street Journal editorial picks up and runs with Juan Non-Volokh's point that the latest challenge to school vouchers, currently playing out in Florida, is based on state constitutional amendments authored by 19th century anti-Catholic bigots. (Scroll up from Juan's post on The Volokh Conspiracy to read why Eugene Volokh says these amendments may conflict with the U.S. Constitution.)

There's another irony here-- the voucher program they're targeting, as voucher programs go, is quite modest. Vouchers are only available to those schools deemed failing, and students are sent back to the public schools when they improve. Because of the humiliation of being deemed one of two or three failing schools in the state, the worst schools in Florida have been able to procure more funding and improve demonstrably.

The main problem with any voucher program, the inadequacies of many voucher-oriented schools in early years (perhaps extant because they're set up more to feed at the government trough than to educate children), is curtailed by minimizing the marginal benefit of setting up a school dependent on vouchers, and the public schools end up with more, not less, money. The fact that this is the program that's being targeted should give lie to the notion that teachers' unions are at all concerned with the well being of children or even the long-term viability of the public school system.

UPDATE: USA Today first expressed bullishness on the Florida vouchers (and doubts about the Cleveland program which was at the time before the US Supreme Court) in March (I talked about it on the old site-- scroll down to "VOCHING FOR...," about 6th from bottom). They're still on the case today.

Posted by John Tabin at August 7, 2002 07:32 AM