Sunday, July 10, 2005

My daughter links to a debate between one of her heroes, Clint Bolick, and Laura Underkuffler, A Duke Law professor, on school vouchers. My daughter thinks that Clint Bolick seems to have totally dominated his opponent. I agree. Perhaps that is because he has right on his side. We're big voucher supporters in my family. Let a thousand flowers bloom and we'll see which models work and which don't. Since so much of public schooling is failing the students we most need to help, why not try some competition.

Underkuffler's argument seems to be that we can't have vouchers that include private schools because hypothetically, there might be private schools that preach religious intolerance or the inferiority of women. Reading between the lines, it seems that she is talking, without saying so aloud, that there might be Islamic private schools that would be subsidized by the government where students would be learning hatred for the very system that was paying for their education. Given the events in London, this is a real concern. However, with an open system, where a school would lose accreditation if it had such a curriculum, such a school would quickly lose its state funding. As Bolick points out, in all the voucher programs that are now in force in the country, we haven't had that problem yet. Let's not worry about the hypothetical problem instead of the real problem of inner-city public schools that are not succeeding in educating children. The products of those schools are more liable to turn to crime than the hypothetical students at Underkuffler's hypothetical schools of bigotry.