Don’t be fooled: What’s being sold as an experiment to help the citizens of the District is really an assault on public education

Voucher proponents do not even attempt to hide their ultimate objective -- privatizing public education. You cannot even call it a “hidden agenda” because it’s out in the open.

PFAW Foundation has recently released two reports documenting the extent to which the voucher movement is funded by parties whose agenda is to privatize most or all of the public education system. For example, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose conference DC Mayor Anthony Williams recently attended, and the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation, co-chair of ALEC’s Education Task Force, do not see vouchers as a means of improving public school performance. Instead, they see voucher programs as a first step toward privatizing education altogether and leaving students to the vagaries of the for-profit marketplace.

Polly Williams, a state legislator in Wisconsin who sponsored the 1990 Milwaukee voucher law, has also experienced this agenda first hand. Once the toast of right-wing groups who praised her efforts, Ms. Williams has since come to believe that she was being used to give credibility in the African American community to activists who moved immediately to expand the voucher system from a program targeting poor students to one that would provide a taxpayer subsidy to higher income parents sending their children to private schools. “Too many people in the voucher crowd exploit low-income black children,” she has said, adding, “what they really have in mind is bringing in a Trojan horse.”3

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