Cultural Revolutions

Neoconservative Choicers

Polly Williams, a black Democrat in Wisconsin, has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal, Reason, and other neoconservative organs for her school choice legislation. And the Wisconsin Supreme Court has approved it: underclass public school students can now get more welfare, in this case free tuition, at "nonsectarian" private schools. Neoconservative choicers hail the decision and the program, which may be expanded to include religious schools, but no real conservative should support it. Choice will destroy the independence—the essence—of private schools.

In almost all public schools today, parents fit into one of two categories: superfluous or "troublemaker." They have no control or even influence over what their children are taught, even if it contradicts their religious or other deeply held beliefs. Parents can complain about the teaching of promiscuity in and out of the classroom, about condom handouts, rampant schoolyard theft, sex in the bathrooms, leftist economics, anti-Western history, made-up multiculturalism, and dumbed-down textbooks, but it will have no effect except to single out them and their kids as troublemakers.

Private schools offer an escape from all this, and a real education besides. But for how long? Schools that accept even one vouchered student will find their curriculums, admissions, academic standards. and disciplinary codes subject to detailed...

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