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Thursday, April 8, 2021

CURMUDGUCATION: Charters vs. Vouchers

CURMUDGUCATION: Charters vs. Vouchers
Charters vs. Vouchers

While charter schools and vouchers are both members of the school choice family, they are cousins who only occasionally get along. And as a public school fan, I have a definite preferred cousin.

It may seem like a thousand years ago, but when Betsy DeVos first turned up as an education secretary candidate, some charter fans actually expressed concerns. DeVos felt the need to reach out to charter fans and offer an olive branch. That's because DeVos, like many fans of a pay-your-own-way voucher system, was content to back charters as a way to crack apart the public education system and get the school choice foot in the door. But now that the time seems ripe (conservative judges, GOP legislatures, Espinoza, etc), many erstwhile charter fans are dumping the poor old girl for their true love. 

There are many reasons that charters and vouchers are natural competitors. 

The obvious area is simple competition for market share. Both private voucher schools and charter schools are after the disaffected don't-want-to-go-to-public-school crowd. Voucher-accepting schools have an advantage in competing for the religious school market because they can be more direct and explicit about their religious content. And the super-voucher education savings account systems are aiming to bust things up even more--you don't even have to a "school," but can just pick various education odds and ends from various marketplace vendors. In the marketplace, charters (with their constant insistence that they are CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Charters vs. Vouchers