Advocates of educational freedom disagree about whether school vouchers would liberate schools and families and lead to greater freedom of choice or trap private schools in a web of subsidy and regulation that would destroy their independence and quality. The two sides square off in this study.
Bast and Harmer argue that voucher plans would eventually lead to the complete separation of school and state, which would liberate education from bureaucrats and politicians. They argue that vouchers would not subject private schools to excessive regulation and that no greater reform is politically feasible. Finally, they charge, libertarian opponents of vouchers ignore the plight of children in inner-city schools.
Dewey counters that vouchers would not substantially reduce the state’s role in education. Indeed, vouchers would create a vast system of government contractors and parents with “school stamps,” a massive lobby for ever-increasing subsidies. He warns that government money always comes with strings attached.