Heresy: why I support school vouchers

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Mon Aug 2 14:12:58 PDT 1999

At 10:10 AM 8/2/99 -0400, Jose wrote:
>I do not AT ALL support the specific voucher plans being put forward by
>varied and sundry right wingers. The speeches about "school choice" and
>empowering parents sound nice, but when you look at the details, you see the
>real aim is quite different.
>However, the Black community's majority support for vouchers is just a new
>form of the struggle by this vanguard of American working people for the
>right to an education, and an equal education. It contains elements of three
>previous aspects of this struggle, a) desegregation b) parent/community
>control and c) adequate funding.
>Socialists or "the Left" need to understand Black and Hispanic supports for
>"vouchers." We should identify the progressive reasons why the general
>"voucher idea" elicits strong support, and come up with "our own" voucher
>proposals that highlight and give fullest expression to this progressive
>content, and at the same time frustrate the reactionary schemes behind the
>bourgeois voucher proposals.

Gee, Jose, I wish I had some of that stuff you've been inhaling - it must be really good. For in reality, vouchers will turn back the cloch to the pre Brown v. Board of Education era. You think our public school are now seggregated - that is, reflecting the ethnic composition of the neighborhoods (which are seggregated)? Then wait for the vouchers. There is just no fucking way to avoid that outcome if you allow parents to "freely" choose schools. Why?

Most parents have historically opposed integrated education as devil incarnate - just look at busing or why people escape to the burbs. This is not just white folks, for to my knowledge "black" or "hispanic" schools have considerable appeal to the respective subpopulations. So to make their establishments commercially attractive to the voucher-paying clients, school management would do their best to ethnically cleanse their classrooms. And it will not be that difficult - class and ethnically biased 'standardized' tests have been doing a truly wonderful job in this country for decades. And if that does not work, there will be surcharges for 'extra services' or straightforward intimidation to complete ethnic cleansing of schools. And you cannot have an affirmative action to counterbalance those trends - for school managers could truthfully say "blacks/latinos/whites choose not to enroll their kids in our school."


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