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Opening Arguments

A landmark

Why the Indiana Supreme Court's decision to uphold the consitutionality of the state's voucher program is a landmark in the school choice movement:

While this is just one victory in a single state, combined with other developments elsewhere it may not only be the beginning of the erosion of the government education monopoly but a change in the way we define the term public education.

The Indiana case is significant not just because of its size (over 9,000 students took advantage of it this year) but because it challenges the notion that the only proper way for the state to educate children is via the public schools system. As even the New York Times noted in a front-page feature published yesterday, the growing number of efforts to offer families a choice that heretofore was only available to the wealthy is based on the idea that private and religious schools are just as valid a form of public education as those run by the state.

Before the coming crackup, if indeed we do redefine how a public education is given, is a good time to rethink what a public education is. We used to have a least a rough consensus on the purpose of a public education, but I'm not sure we do anymore.