Friedman on Vouchers

Nick Gillespie:

In 1955 future Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman kick-started modern education reform with an article titled “The Role of Government in Education.” Bucking the “general trend in our times toward increasing intervention by the state” in virtually all economic and social activities, Friedman argued that universal vouchers for elementary and secondary schools would usher in an age of educational innovation and experimentation, not only widening the range of options for students and parents but increasing all sorts of positive outcomes.
“Government,” wrote Friedman, “preferably local governmental units, would give each child, through his parents, a specified sum to be used solely in paying for his general education; the parents would be free to spend this sum at a school of their own choice, provided it met certain minimum standards laid down by the appropriate governmental unit. Such schools would be conducted under a variety of auspices: by private enterprises operated for profit, nonprofit institutions established by private endowment, religious bodies, and some even by governmental units.”

  • I haven’t read the article yet so I don’t know if it addresses this but such a system doesn’t seem to address the fact that the cost to educate a person varies greatly. Special needs students, people with disabilities, and inner city kids require many more resources to educate than your average middle class suburban student. If such a system were in place, the only way I can see it working is if the amount of money received from the government varied to account for all of these problems.