“Ideologues” Strike Back—with Evidence!

It’s an all-too-common tactic employed by opponents of educational freedom to demonize school-choice advocates as hell-bent ideologues rather than actually tackling their arguments and evidence. One suspects that this occurs for two primary reasons: (1) smearing is easier than debating, and (2) too many choice opponents don’t have the evidentiary ammunition they need to defend their arguments.

Well, on Jay Greene’s blog today, at least one ardent supporter of school choice — the Friedman Foundation’s Greg Forster — fires a huge shot across the bow of choice detractors especially on the right, letting them know that he’s had it with their ignoring empirical evidence and resorting to playground name-calling. (In fairness to the Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern, Forster’s primary target, he did come to Cato to debate his recent critique of choice — more than others on his side seem willing to do — though that doesn’t mean he isn’t still dodging inconvenient evidence).

With a little luck, Forster’s essay will help ignite a rational debate on market education reform that’s long overdue, and this time conservative choice detractors won’t just hide behind “ideological” smoke.