Saturday, June 29

Two days ago, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold Cleveland’s school voucher program, setting an important precedent in this divisive national battle. Proponents of voucher use argue that it enables choice and competition, ultimately strengthening our urban public schools. Of course, as we all know, suburban schools don’t need any help—in fact many suburban voters are against vouchers because they don’t want to empower blacks and other minorities to come from the city into their institutions.

The truth of the matter is that use of vouchers is yet another blow against our urban schools, precisely the ones that need the most help. It is another vote against the city, against a sustainable lifestyle based on dense living patterns. (I’m not even going to touch the church-state issue.) In the same manner that a laissez-faire value system does not work for corporate accounting practices (a la WorldCom, Enron, Rite Aid, etc.), it will not work for America’s public education system. (NYT; user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

As citizens, we need to think long-term and be willing to allocate the tax revenue necessary to create an egalitarian and superior (by world standards) public education system serving every American youth. Oh, wait, but that would create a meritocracy…we don’t want that, do we?