The long-term agenda of the wealthy foundations and many of the groups they fund, in promoting vouchers, is the eventual privatisation of education. Vouchers are a step along the way. This goal of school privatisation has to be a long term one in the US because of the overwhelming public support for a system of public education and existing public schools. “While Americans in some communities are deeply concerned with the state of their public schools, overall support for public education remains high.”
Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, is quite candid in his assertion that vouchers are the “way to privatise schooling” which he sees as one of the last bastions of socialism. He argues: “The complete privatisation of schooling might be desirable, but this objective is politically impossible for the time being. Vouchers are a type of reform that is possible now, and would put us on the path to further privatisation.”
Vouchers enable taxpayers dollars to be diverted from public schools to privately-run schools including for-profit, religious and home schools. If vouchers can be made universally available to all students, then a free market school system will be more viable and, it is hoped, the public education system will be completely undermined through lack of students and therefore lack of funds.
Many businesspeople and the groups that support them have an ideological belief that private provision of education would necessarily be superior in terms of quality and efficiency, even though the evidence to support such beliefs is scant.
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