Can School Vouchers Improve Neighborhoods?

Perhaps school vouchers don't improve schools. However, they do improve neighborhoods, writes Jonathan Rauch.
October 1, 2002, 5am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"The strongest argument for school vouchers is moral. It is simply wrong for rich, predominantly white liberals to insist that poor, predominantly minority children attend dysfunctional and often dangerous schools that rich, predominantly white liberals would never allow their own children to set so much as one foot in. It is callous for rich, predominantly white liberals to continue to tell inner-city parents, year after year, "Urban schools must be fixed! Meanwhile, we're outta here... Introducing vouchers, Nechyba found, had a striking positive effect—not on poor public schools (remember, he assumed they would not improve) but on poor neighborhoods. 'We're talking about large effects,' he told me. 'We're talking about average incomes in poor districts rising 20 or 30 percent, and housing prices going up comparably. We're talking about the tax base going up dramatically.'"

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 in The Atlantic Monthly
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