Oldie but Goodie
I frequently run into critics of parental choice in education who oppose tuition tax credits, charter schools, and other alternatives to the traditional public schools. They argue that these alternatives won’t meet expectations, haven’t succeeded in the past, or perhaps that they’ll even have harmful effects on society. For example, a comment on this post I wrote earlier in the month suggests that charter schools shouldn’t be expanded because not all such schools have a proven track record.
Every time I hear these arguments, I’m reminded of a post Megan McArdle wrote last year. She presents 11 of the most common criticisms of parental choice, and debunks them all. Although she refers specifically to voucher programs, I think her reasoning applies to all the other choice initiatives that are on the table. Here’s how she responds to the oft-heard statement, “Vouchers don’t work”:
Vouchers are no panacea, and they may not work at all. But we know that what we’re doing now isn’t working, and moreover, hasn’t worked for going on fifty years. Unless you’ve got compelling evidence that your plan will overcome all the barriers that have doomed urban school reform for decades, and actually succeed in educating more children (rather than enriching the lives of teachers, administrators, and curriculum salesmen, who certainly have been helped by the many failed educational overhauls), why not let a thousand points of light bloom?