The End of the Beginning

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

The new School Choice Advocate just arrived, and it contains a short interview with Janet Friedman Martel and David Friedman – Milton and Rose’s children.

I thought this was especially well put:

We’ve seen uprecedented strides forward in school choice this year. How does the progress of this year measure up against Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision?

We are still short of the vision of a school system where private schools compete on equal terms with public schools. Measured by the fraction of students with access to vouchers, our achievement is still small. But measured by the rate at which that number is increasing, it has been large. As Churchill put it, this is not the beginning of the end, but it might be the end of the beginning.

One Response to The End of the Beginning

  1. George Mitchell says:

    About ten years ago I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. and Mrs. Friedman at a gathering of school choice supporters. They cordially but firmly challenged the idea that Milwaukee’s program was a valid test of school choice, given its low voucher value and the exclusion of many parents. Perhaps I have missed one or two examples, but to my knowledge none of the new programs enacted in recent years — including 2011 (“the year of school choice”) — address these crucial flaws. The recent announcement by the PA Governor of support for a program limited to low-income students and “failing” schools is illustrative. I am not sure the Friedmans would be as encouraged as their heirs. For school choice to work, a program must be enacted that is sufficiently financed and makes all families eligible. Narrowly designed, under-financed programs won’t be adequate.

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