Heresey: Why I support vouchers.

kelley oudies at
Thu Aug 5 08:25:27 PDT 1999


if our goal, and it may not be yours, is to move toward socialism, then i do not see how encouraging market competition in the public school system is going to get us to our goal. it simply extends to a new realm the logic of rational choice individualism: we are nothing but consumption machines with knapsacks full of preferences that we whip out every time we're at the market--however that's conceived. that seems to me a way of thinking that will never ever put us on any path toward socialism because socialism, to work well, requires a whole different way of thinking about ourselves and others, particularly if you we're talking more anarchistic forms of socialism.

schools stink for reasons that are so complex that there's no way on earth that a voucher system--even for the rather pragmatic reasons max offered for opposing them--is going to work. there are cultural contradictions regarding our attitutudes toward teaching that need to be addressed, there are problems with the fetishization of ever new pedagogies, the problem of deprofessionalization, and so forth. vouchers and charters don't address those problems.

your fundamental gripe, it seems to me is that you don't like the schools. so, this is not about marxism or people taking control, it's about how to fix the schools. well i'm all for that, but i'm also for socialism. the privatization and mcdonaldization of schooling isn't going to get us there by any means.

as i said elsewhere, there's plenty of money to fix some of these problems.

though money isn't all the silver bullet. money is distributed extremely unfairly because of the property tax system. this inequity is just plain wrong--and doesn't even meet USers standards of what constitutes formal, procedural equality of opportunity. vouchers barely make a dent in those inequities. charters schools avoid the problem in the name of some heroic entrepreneurial ethos. we should strive for equity--fairness. not some procedural notion of justice as embodied in either equality of opportunity or in the rational choice model of economic man.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list