school vouchers, school choice, first amendment, school system, school reform, free market, school autonomy, privatization of education, excellence in education act


The introduction last spring of President Bush's America 2000 Excellence in Education Act to underwrite state and local programs which provide vouchers to enable parents to choose public, private or religious schooling for their children, has moved "school choice" to the forefront of the national education reform agenda. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in urban centers, where the breakdown of the public education system has been the focus of considerable attention and debate. The privatization of education in New York City, using vouchers, would mean the loss of legally defined procedural and participatory rights for students and parents, as well as facilitate further racial and economic segregation. In the author's view, the use of vouchers will have a profound and adverse impact on the social and political role of schooling in New York City and should therefore be rejected.

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