Voucher Backers Have a Privatizing Agenda

Published July 21, 2003

Your July 11 editorial “Freeing D.C. Kids” grossly distorts the conclusions of People for the American Way Foundation’s new report on the voucher movement, The Voucher Veneer. Contrary to the assertions in your editorial, the report is not about D.C.’s proposed voucher pilot. In fact, the District of Columbia is not referenced once in all 34 pages of this report.

The report actually focuses on the think tanks, influence-makers, and policy gurus who founded and are largely driving the voucher movement. For example, Joseph Bast of The Heartland Institute has called vouchers the “way to privatize schooling,” later adding that “pilot voucher programs for the urban poor will lead the way to stewide universal voucher plans. Soon, most government schools will be converted into private schools or simply close their doors.”

Such statements leave little doubt about the agenda of many in the voucher movement.

Ralph G. Neas is president of People for the American Way Foundation. This letter was published by the Wall Street Journal on July 21, 2003.