School Funding

On school vouchers versus public school funding, tuition affordability

School checks are meant to shut down public school systems

Our founding fathers held that the common public school is the foundation of a free society. For example, “The advancement and dissemination of knowledge is the sole guardian of true freedom.” James Madison, 1825, Letter to George Thompson. There is no doubt that the collapse of education is the collapse of a nation. Libertarian economist and adviser to President Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, first recommended school checks in 1955. In 2006, a group of conservative lawmakers asked him what he meant by that. Friedman said, “It had absolutely nothing to do with helping ‘needy’ children; no, the vouchers are just about abolishing the public school system.” (“Public Education,” David C. Berliner and Carl Hermanns (eds.), 2022. pages 280-81.)

A Forbes magazine article titled “Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express to Fat City”, touted the opportunities for investors to make lucrative profits through charter schools. The article stated that charter school profits are so lucrative that they even attract investors from countries like China. They can be lucrative for investors, but we find that: “Peer-reviewed data and research do not support the grandiose claims of charter school proponents about the benefits of charter schools.” (Julian Vasquez Heilig in “Public Education”.)

After researching over 100 books, articles and reports on school vouchers and charter schools, I can only say that they were both apparently invented and designed to do two things:

  • 1. Open the taxpayer cookie jar wide to private for-profit investors (US for-profit education industry outmoded 270 billion dollars in 2020).
  • 2. To end up shutting down the public school system.

A two-pronged campaign to do this was launched decades ago:

  • 1. Discredit, paralyze public education.
  • 2. Replace public education with private schools, charters, and voucher-supplemented home-schooling programs.

—John Karlin, Yukon

I easily paid school fees in the 1950s

With all the publicity lately about student loans, I would like to share a personal story.

In 1954, I worked as a laborer, digging ditches, breaking rocks with a sledgehammer, and laying asphalt in the streets for $1.25 an hour.

I worked 60 hours a week; with time and a half for 20 overtime hours, I made $87.50 a week.

Tuition for one semester at the University of Nebraska was around $80. So, in two weeks at minimum wage at the time, I could easily afford a year of college.

—Ben Gadd, Oklahoma City