McCain and Vouchers


The centerpiece of John McCain's talking about education policy is the need for more "choice" (i.e., vouchers) but as voucher advocate Neal McCluskey is noting there's really no there there:

All that McCain’s plan offers in terms of specifics is that he’d reapportion federal money slated for attracting, rewarding, and training teachers; somehow give principals more control over their budgets; and expand the use of online education. Oh, and importantly(though most voters, concerned primarily about their own kids, probably won’t care), McCain would increase funding for D.C.’s school-choice program.

This is just really odd. You can believe whatever you want about vouchers and still obviously a proposal for a modest increasing in funding for a pilot voucher program in the District of Columbia is neither here nor there in terms of really improving education in America. This basically reflects what I was saying the other day about Grand New Party -- if you're committed to the kind of tax and budget policies that McCain is committed to, it's just not possible to put meaningful domestic policy reforms on the table. I don't think vouchers are the solution to the problems in American schools, but whatever the solution is -- even vouchers -- would require some real fiscal muscle to actually change anything.

Photo by Flickr user lkbm used under a Creative Commons license