I do not support school vouchers. The claim of a “right” to education has no basis in reality, and government funding of private schools would destroy what little independence they have left. (A preferable alternative would be tuition tax credits, which make it easier for individuals to fund private education using their own money.)

Nevertheless, the arguments of many voucher opponents are intended simply to protect the public school monopoly. One such argument is the claim that school choice hurts public schools by draining them of money and talent. If that were true, then so much the better. But it turns out it isn’t:

As research has accumulated showing that school choice benefits participating students, its critics have relied more and more heavily on the argument that school choice will hurt public schools and the students who remain there after participating students have left for private schools. In response to these criticisms, advocates claim that school choice programs indirectly benefit public schools and their students by forcing public schools to compete with private schools, providing a strong incentive for those public schools to improve….

Of the few studies that have been done of U.S. public schools exposed to school choice, none have ever found a decrease in the academic performance of public school students, and a few have found academic gains. [Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster, “Rising to the Challenge: The Effect of School Choice on Public Schools in Milwaukee and San Antonio,” Manhattan Institute Civic Bulletin 27, October 2002]

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