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Liberty & Learning

Milton Friedman’s Voucher Idea at Fifty

By Robert C. Enlow and Lenore T. Ealy
About the Book

Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman had the ground‐​breaking idea to improve public education with school vouchers. By separating government financing of education from government administration of schools, Friedman argued, “parents at all income levels would have the freedom to choose the schools their children attend.”

Liberty & Learning is a collection of essays from the nation’s top education experts evaluating the progress of Friedman’s innovative idea and reflecting on its merits in the 21st century. The book also contains a special prologue and epilogue by Milton Friedman himself.

The contributors to this volume take a variety of approaches to Friedman’s voucher idea. All of them assess the merit of Friedman’s plan through an energetic, contemporary perspective, though some authors take a theoretical position, while others employ a very pragmatic approach.

About the Editors

Robert C. Enlow is the executive director of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lenore T. Ealy is the president of the consulting firm Thinkitecure, Inc. She lives in Carmel, Indiana.

What Others Have Said

“The contributors offer a thoughtful look at the movement for school choice. Friedman offers an epilogue critical of the power of the teachers’ unions and promising to continue to fight for vouchers. Readers interested in education will appreciate the well‐​considered arguments presented in this thought‐​provoking book.”
—Vanessa Bush, Booklist, American Library Association

Liberty & Learning represents a major critical reassessment of the Friedman’s vision for school choice. It is by no means just a paean to the genius of the voucher idea. The Friedmans themselves have always relished the spirited debate, and several contributors are ready to give it to them.”
School Choice Advocate

“The movement remains in its infancy, and the ‘pure’ voucher system Milton Friedman proposed has still never been instituted anywhere in the United States. This slim volume, with contributions from 10 educational experts of varying ideological hues, tries to explain why and where to go from here. Suggestions in the book range from downplaying the rhetoric of liberty and adopting the rhetoric of community values to sell vouchers to Myron Lieberman’s suggestion that voucher supporters stop compromising and push harder for system wide vouchers for everybody. Abigail Thernstrom suggests a broad voucher program may be the last hope for many African Americans. And James Tooley notes the remarkable ‘mushrooming’ of inexpensive and superior private schools in poor regions from India to Ghana.”
—Alan W. Bock, Orange County Register

“Each contributor considers a different way in which Friedman’s school‐​choice ideas are still relevant. The collection centers around three themes: school choice and democratic values, challenges to
implementing vouchers, and what expanded school choice might look like.”
—La Shawn Barber, National Review Online