November 08, 2006
Left-leaning folks who rail against vouchers better start stretching, because justifying their uncompromising stance is going to take added verbal gymnastics. Already this crew is hard-pressed to explain its opposition to lifting low-income and minority students out of failing urban schools, improving public schools through competition, and trying to level the educational landscape. But now, liberal voucher opponents will also have to find a way to oppose diversity. A recent report from the Friedman Foundation (see here) found that in 2003, private voucher schools in Milwaukee were 13 percent more racially diverse than their public school counterparts; in Cleveland, they were 18 percent more diverse. The numbers aren't really shocking; most urban public schools are racially monolithic because the neighborhoods they serve are highly segregated. But the Friedman report shines a light on the statistics, and it will be tough for voucher-despising liberals, for whom diversity is often the Holy Grail of public policy, to ignore them.
"Vouchers in Black and White," Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2006 (subscription required)