Among the people who keep track of these things, a large proportion will tell you that The Economist is the best news magazine in the world. Observers say that its thorough and careful approach to facts and analysis is unparalleled in any popular publication. So what does (arguably) the best news magazine in the world have to say about school choice? I’m glad you asked!
FEW ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer’s expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains.
Simple, perhaps, but it has aroused predictable—and often fatal—opposition from the educational establishment. Letting parents choose where to educate their children is a silly idea; professionals know best. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to improve education for all. Vouchers would increase inequality because children who are hardest to teach would be left behind.
But these arguments are now succumbing to sheer weight of evidence. Voucher [plans] are running in several different countries without ill-effects for social cohesion; those that use a lottery to hand out vouchers offer proof that recipients get a better education than those that do not.
The Economist goes on to provide a succinct but significant review of the data. Read and learn!