A Defense of Educational Vouchers in the United States

By Joseph Prud'homme and Juan Pablo Camacho.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this work we examine the debate surrounding policy initiatives to provide public subsidy for private (and often religious) primary and secondary schools in the United States. We first examine the theoretical justifications for public schooling in the United States. We then argue that, within this theoretical framework, publicly supported private schooling is justifiable. To develop this argument we respond to objections to private vouchers that claim that public schools are fully competent to meet the responsibilities they must assume in order for publicly supported education to be defensible. We then respond to objections to voucher initiatives that claim that any widespread adoption of private schooling would undermine in schoolchildren their perceptions of the value of civic unity, and would erode their skills of compromise and toleration of difference so essential to a democratic state. We do so by referencing recent voucher programs in New Zealand. We argue that New Zealand's experience with
private vouchers evidences the compatibility of private--and frequently religious--schooling and the development of an appropriate catalogue of civic virtues.

Keywords: Education, Vouchers, Civic Virtue, New Zealand, United States, Public Schools, Private Schools

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.205-212. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 522.199KB).

Dr. Joseph Prud'homme

Assistant Professor of Government, Political Science, Christopher Newport University, Yorktown, VA, USA

Joseph Prud'homme is Assistant Professor of Government at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. He works in the areas of Political Philosophy, Legal Studies, and Religious and Intellectual History. He has special interests in the Western Middle Ages and the role of religion in contemporary Western societies. He has published several works in these fields. He received his doctorate in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy at Princeton University and has been a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and an Ennis scholar at Villanova University.

Juan Pablo Camacho

Student, Government, Christopher Newport University, VA, USA

Mr. Camacho is a senior Government and Economics student at Christopher Newport University. He is an award-winning researcher and has presented his work at a number of national conferences.


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