Uncovering the truth: School vouchers decrease segregation, contrary to lying NowThis News article

October 9, 2023

By Tim Worstall

NowThis News wants everyone to know that school choice is associated with the segregationists of 1950s Virginia. Obviously, if we know this, we’ll oppose school choice because who wants to be a segregationist?

“Seeking a way To avoid desegregation these southerners found a loophole through private education. …….Influential conservative and libertarian thinkers supported the white southern cause, seeing voucher programs as an opportunity to advance their broader goal of dismantling public education….”

The name of Milton Friedman is mentioned – they even have a little arrow pointing to him in one picture, which isn’t exactly what happened.

Friedman supported vouchers; so did the segregationists. But they supported them for opposite reasons – Friedman insisted that vouchers would reduce segregation. It’s true, there are racists out there, but most people are not. Therefore, most parents would not use vouchers to segregate schools. On this, Friedman was right. After a couple of years of experimentation, the segregationists started to oppose vouchers. Because vouchers, in fact, led to less segregation of schools, not more.

As we find in our own time. The use of vouchers has reduced segregation in Chicago’s schools. The reason is that it’s the Black and the poor who exercise that option of school choice the most: “We find that the students most likely to enroll in a high school other than their assigned school are African-American students and those living in the poorest neighborhoods.”

As in 1950s Virginia, school choice reduces segregation. Therefore, scaremongering about vouchers and segregation is precisely that, fearmongering – when it’s not just outright disinformation.

 The real complaint of NowThis and the progressives in general is this: “However, this practice takes funding from public schools and redirects it to private schools which aren’t accountable to taxpayers.” One response to that is that we don’t care. We desire that the children get educated in the best way possible. If that’s public schools, then great – if it isn’t, then also great. The best possible education and start in life for that specific child is the aim of everything that is being done here.

But the entirely correct observation is that the teachers unions, along with a considerable number of bureaucrats, have a lock on the money and power in the public education system. There are many millions of these people. And school vouchers will reduce their power and ability to control that money flow.

They’re rational in opposing vouchers and school choice because they will lose out. But knowing that’s the reason they oppose means that we don’t have to take any notice of their complaints. Even that we shouldn’t, nor those of their propagandists like NowThis News.  



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