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Vouchers are not the Answer

Written By: Jacob H. Huebert  |  Posted: Monday, September 13th, 2010

Libertarians would of course like to liberate the millions of students who are forced to attend government schools. To achieve this, Milton Friedman suggested government-funded vouchers, which would allow children to use government money to pay for private-school tuition. Then at least parents and students would be allowed to exercise some choice as to where they could attend and escape the worst schools, and, the argument goes, education would improve as schools, including government schools, would have to compete for students and their (government-provided) money.

Although many libertarians have endorsed the voucher idea, vouchers are not necessarily libertarian. They do not strike at the root of the problem with compulsory government schools: the compulsion. They still rely on tax dollars taken by force, still allow children to be forced to attend school, and possibly increase the amount of government compulsion with respect to school curricula by imposing new requirements on heretofore private schools. But aren't vouchers at least a step in the right direction? Some libertarians sincerely believe so. But others suggest, with good reason, that vouchers are a step in the wrong direction.

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