Friedman and vouchers
June 08, 2005
In the Wall Street Journal, Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman describes the history of the voucher movement, its philosophical foundations, and why choice in education is even more important today. In 1955, Friedman's historic article, "The Role of Government in Education," conceded that there was some value in government's role in requiring and financing schooling, but concluded that the "nationalization" of education made little sense. His initial ideas were mainly philosophical, but the rapid deterioration of schools gave substantial weight to his work and was a strong spur to the voucher movement he helped create. Repeated attempts have been made at establishing vouchers since the release of "A Nation at Risk" in 1983, yet most come under vigorous, well-funded attacks that have usually ended such proposals. Meanwhile, the old system of pumping endless amounts of money into failing schools is clearly in its death throes. Friedman concludes that one day a state will attempt a universal voucher plan, and then "a competitive private educational market serving parents who are free to choose the school they believe best for each child will demonstrate how it can revolutionize schooling."
"Free to choose," by Milton Friedman, Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005(subscription required)
"School choice showdown," Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005 (subscription required)