Vouchers More Democratic Than Government Monopoly

Published March 22, 2007

Dear Editor:

If Governor Ted Strickland opposes vouchers because they are “inherently undemocratic” [“Governor Calls School Vouchers Undemocratic,” March 17], he should be intellectually honest and oppose all social welfare programs that are more or less voucher-like.

He should oppose food stamps, because we don’t tell recipients what they can and cannot eat. He should oppose Pell grants because taxpayers don’t tell colleges what they must teach. He should oppose Medicaid because taxpayer dollars wind up in the hands of private doctors and private hospitals.

In fact, public education is the only major government-funded social service we insist on providing through government monopoly. It’s the only place where we refuse to allow recipients to decide how best their needs can be met. It’s the only place where already at-risk populations are forced into badly dysfunctional institutions. Is that the governor’s idea of democracy?

Michael Van Winkle ([email protected]) is legislative specialist for education for The Heartland Institute.