Sunday, February 13, 2005

Casey Lartigue At The School Voucher Recruitment Session 

Must reading today from Casey regarding his volunteer activities signing families up for D.C.'s private school voucher program. It will bring tears to your eyes. I wish he would have called me because I would have been glad to help.

In case you didn't know I can take some credit for allowing Casey to have this experience. In 1999 I met with Colbert King of the Washington Post to ask him if he would support school vouchers for the City. He said he was against them because voucher programs are usually initiated as pilots with a small number of eligible participants. Mr. King said that although some students would be able to escape the public school system to obtain a better education, the ones that would be left behind would be cognizant of this fact and would therefore feel worse about their situation.

But then something amazing happened. The Post's editorials suddenly became extremely supportive of vouchers. I learned that Mr. King had indeed written these pieces. These facts are captured in the excellent book by Clint Bolick, Voucher Wars. On page 57 and 58 he talks about the Institute of Justice's attempt to bring school vouchers to the city of Chicago in 1992 and comments on what the editors of the Washington Post said about this effort:

Ultimately, the Post concluded that because it [the voucher program] wouldn't help many children and was of doubtful constitutional validity, "choice is not the answer to the gross inequities that prevail among America's schools." And only a few years later, the Post abandoned its reticence and became on of the nation's most consistent and influential backers of school choice experiments.

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