School Choice Is Back

Published March 2, 2011

School vouchers, like the Republican Party, are back in a big way. The question for vouchers, as for the GOP, is: Have they learned their lesson?

Just a few years ago, the smart people were declaring vouchers dead. “An Idea Whose Time Has Gone: Conservatives Abandon Their Support for School Vouchers” declared the headline of a much-discussed article in Washington Monthly. The article declared that vouchers were on the way out, permanently.

That was indeed a rough time for vouchers, but I went out on a limb and predicted that the smart people were wrong—vouchers would be back. “Where would we be today if Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham jail had just said, ‘Well, here I am in jail—I guess I’ve lost the fight’? King knew he wasn’t in jail because he was losing. He was in jail because he was winning. And the cowards who put him in jail knew it just as well as he did.”

Over the years, my predictive track record hasn’t been perfect. So let me tell you, I’ve never been more relieved to be right.