Category Archives: Vouchers

Milton Friedman’s school choice philosophy benefits children, not unions

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Milton Friedman’s school choice philosophy benefits children, not unions

By Cal Thomas

When people speak of a legacy, they usually mean something other than what the late economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose, left behind, namely the Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (edchoice.org).

The foundation has just released a small book titled “The ABCs of School Choice: The comprehensive guide to every private school choice program in America.”

The Friedman philosophy can be summed up in two sentences, which are posted on its web page: “School choice gives parents the freedom to choose their children’s education, while encouraging healthy competition among schools to better serve families’ needs. School choice lets parents use the public funds set aside for their children’s education to choose the schools — public or private, near or far, religious or secular — that work best for them.”

Choice, competition and what works best for them, not what works for unions and school administrators. Choice and competition work in business, politics and virtually every other area of life, but not in the monopolistic public education monstrosity where the lack of same limit educational achievement for many and often rob children of a brighter future.

One other benefit to school choice was mentioned in a column written by Friedman on Sept. 28, 2000, for The Wall Street Journal. About school voucher programs, Friedman said: “They also demonstrate the inefficiency of government schools by providing a superior education at less than half the per pupil cost.”

On more than one occasion Friedman has noted that modern public education remains based on a 19th-century model with children from different backgrounds brought together into a single melting pot. That doesn’t work in the 21st century. In The Wall Street Journal column, Friedman wrote, “Free market competition can do for education what it has already done for other areas, such as agriculture, transportation, power, communication and most recently, computers and the Internet. Only a truly competitive educational industry can empower the ultimate consumers of educational services — parents and their children.”

The only counter arguments to this are based on everything besides what benefits the children.

“ABC’s of School Choice” includes a list of the state of education choice from Alabama to Wisconsin. It’s a mixed bag, with some states offering vouchers and others alternatives such as Education Savings Accounts, tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits/deductions.

These would be used at a parent’s discretion for private schools — secular or religious, charter public schools, homeschooling, or online learning.

While Friedman acknowledged that school choice would benefit poor and minority students, he maintained that all boats would be raised because competition would force every school — public and private — to compete for “customers.” When businesses compete for customers the quality of their products must improve in order for them to stay in business. Not so with the public school monopoly that gets taxpayer money with few requirements, except in a few states, that they improve their product.

Various studies have shown there is little difference so far between public and alternative schools when it comes to test scores, but these studies acknowledge that testing alone is not the only standard by which education success can be measured.

According to a 2006 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, which studied the San Diego Unified School District, “Black students were twice as likely as others to apply for an alternative school under one of four programs. And test scores were not the primary factor in influencing the decision to try an alternative school. Overall, the choice programs in San Diego are increasing the integration of whites and nonwhites, and decreasing very mildly the integration of students with low and high test scores.”

Minority parents have shown strong interest in transferring their children from failing public schools into schools that are safer and the academics stronger.

Parents want choice, students want choice. Only the unions and certain politicians stand in their way.

Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Content Agency. Email him at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

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Education Freedom Is on the Move

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Education Freedom Is on the Move

Published January 31, 2023

Somewhere, the late Milton Friedman is beaming. The godfather of school choice and all-around genius had a vision in 1955 to extricate the government from administering education by giving parents vouchers that they could use for specified educational services.

It took a while to get off the ground, but today Friedman’s plan is flying high. According to EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice), 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have some form of private school choice law in place.

At the same time that parental freedom is advancing, the naysayers are having conniptions. In The New RepublicDavid Marques fumes about the just completed National School Choice Week, referring to it as “that annual right-wing P.R. campaign to defund public schools that pretends to really just care about the children.

His fulmination is loaded with all the usual bogus tropes – that private schools are “unaccountable” and “unregulated,” and that the goal of National School Choice Week is to “gut public education, destroy teachers’ unions, and enrich unregulated private education companies.”

Not to be outdone, former teacher and uber-grinch Peter Greene wrote a blog post in which he summarizes the move to parental choice in his final paragraph. “It’s all about the three D’s—disrupt, defund, and dismantle. Call the voucher system whatever you would like, but it is about reducing education from a public good and shared societal responsibility to a simple consumer good.”

In Oklahoma, Duncan school superintendent Tom Deighan said supporters of taxpayer-funded school choice aim to “dismantle all public schools.

The belly-achers also insist that not only will school choice kill the government-run variety, but they also claim that choice is racist, and will lead to significant societal intolerance.

But study after study shows that the government monopolists are dead wrong.  Researcher Greg Forster looked at 34 studies on the effects of school choice on government-run schools, and found that in 32, school choice improves academic outcomes in public schools affected by the program, while one saw no visible difference, and just one found a negative impact.

Forster also reports that of 11 empirical studies, 8 found private schools in choice programs produced stronger tolerance and civic values than public schools, while three found no visible difference. Additionally, he asserts that ten empirical studies have examined private school choice programs on segregation, and nine found that the programs reduced it, while one found no visible difference. Not one showed that choice leads to racial discrimination. Also, concerning race, a recent poll shows that when given a fair description of school choice types, a great majority of minority parents are in favor of it.

The prophets of gloom also claim that rural areas would be devastated by school choice measures. But in fact, rural families benefit from school choice like everyone else. When parents are given a choice, new private education providers emerge to meet demand.

Florida is a good case in point. Ron Matus, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Florida’s Step Up For Students, explains, “Rural families in Florida are getting the best of both worlds. The overwhelming majority still choose traditional public schools, which in many cases have ably helped anchor rural communities. (Sixteen of the 30 rural districts earned A or B grades from the state this year; the rest earned C’s.) At the same time, families who need something different are able to access it.”

Perhaps the best endorsement for educational freedom of all comes from public school teachers. A survey released in 2016 by Education Next found that “no less than 20% of teachers with school-age children, but only 13% of non-teachers, have sent one or more of their children to private school.” And not surprisingly, 42% of teachers who don’t send their kids to a traditional public school back vouchers, compared to only 23% of the teachers who send their children to traditional public schools.

These results are similar to a 2004 Fordham Institute study that looked at 50 American cities and found that 21.5% of urban school teachers send their kids to private schools, while 17.5% of non-teachers do. Digging a little deeper, we learn that the disparity is considerably greater for larger urban areas. In Philadelphia, 44% of public school teachers’ kids attend a private school, Chicago 39%, San Francisco-Oakland 34%, and in New York City, 33%.

Polls invariably show widespread support for school choice. A recent survey of roughly 2,000 registered voters conducted online found that 62% of respondents would be interested in such an option, some 30% very much so.

The new year bodes well for educational freedom. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds just signed the Students First Act, whereby parents can control the portion of education dollars the state appropriates, approximately $7,600 annually. The legislation sets some caps for the first two years but removes them in 2025-26, making the educational savings account (ESA) program available to anyone. (ESAs allow parents to receive a deposit of public funds into a government-authorized savings account with restricted, but multiple uses. Those funds can cover private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses, and other approved customized learning services and materials.)

In Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox has just signed a law creating an ESA for all children in the state. Students are eligible to receive $8,000 per year for qualified education expenses, including private school tuition, therapies, tutors, and curriculum.

Additionally, just a month into the new year, ten states are gearing up to add choice programs or increase their existing ones. Idaho lawmakers are expected to introduce a bill to create a universal ESA in the state. In Florida, a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already extensive choice programs to any student in the state.

While educational freedom is typically a red state phenomenon, this could change. Democratic Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was elected governor after campaigning hard for school choice. Also, Illinois Democrat J.D. Pritzker supported his state’s tax credit scholarship program during his campaign.

Do you go to the government-run supermarket near your home to feed your family? Of course not. You find a local, privately-run store with the food you want at the best price. Just imagine if the government forced you to buy food from that awful government market down the street that sold contaminated meat, overripe fruit, and moldy bread, and was staffed by incompetent store employees.

We have had universal grocery choice forever. It is now time to implement educational freedom for all.

First published at For Kids and Country.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

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Milton Friedman on Vouchers

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

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Milton Friedman on Vouchers

Michelle: You are the grandfather of school vouchers. Do you feel victorious?

Mr. Friedman: Far from victorious, but very optimistic and hopeful. We are at the beginning of the task because as of the moment vouchers are available to only a very small amount of children. Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its children go. We are far from that ultimate result. If we had that, a system of free choice, we would also have a system of competition, innovation, which would change the character of education. You know our educational system is one of the most backwards things in our society in the way we teach people they did 200 years ago. There is a person in the front of the room. There are children sitting down at the bottom, and they are being talked to. Can you name any other industry in the U.S. which is as technologically backward? I can name one and only one: the legislature for the same reason. Both are monopolies. The elementary and secondary school system is the single most socialist industry in the U.S. leaving aside the military, but aside from the military it’s a major socialist industry; it is centralized and the control comes from the center and the difficulty of having a monopoly in which people cannot choose has been exacerbated by the fact that it has been largely taken over by teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers and the unions. Understandably, I do not blame them, but they are interested in the welfare of their members, not the welfare of the children, and the result is they have introduced a degree of rigidity, which makes it impossible to reform the public school system from within. Reform has to come through competition from the outside and the only way you can get competition is by making it possible for parents to have the ability to choose.

Michelle: Give to me a model, an example of how it would work.

Mr. Friedman: Very simple, take the extreme the government says we are willing to finance schooling for every child. The government compels children. If you look at the role of government in education there are three different levels. There is a level of compulsory. The government says every child must go to school until such and such and age. That is the equivalent of saying if you are going to drive a car you must have a license. The second stage is funding. Not only do we require you to have an education, but the government is willing to pay for that schooling. That would be equivalent to saying the government is willing to pay for your car that you drive. The third level is running the educational industry. That would be the equivalent of the government manufacturing the automobile or, to put it in a different image, consider food stamps today. Food stamps are funds provided by the government. But if that were to be runned (sic) like the schools, they would say everybody has to use these food stamps at a government grocery and each person with food stamps is assigned to a particular government grocer. So the only way you can get your food stamps is by going to that grocer. Do you think those groceries would be very good? We know what the situation is in schooling. People say why now and not 50-75 years ago? Well, when I went to high school that was a long time ago. In the 1920s there were 150,000 school districts in the U.S and the population was half what it is now. Today, there are fewer than 15,000 school districts. So it used to be that you really did have competition cause you had small school districts and parents had a good deal of control over those school districts, but increasingly we have shifted to very large school districts, to centralized control, to a system in which the governmental officials, in which the educational professionals control it. And like every socialist industry, it produces a product that is very expensive and of very low quality. Of course it is not uniform. There are some very good schools do not misunderstand me, but there are also some very bad ones.

Michelle: I interviewed some folks who are against school vouchers and they say that if you really want to help out a school what you should do is provide high-quality early childhood education, small classes, small schools, summer school available to children who want it. Put money to those items, which they claim would work.

Mr. Friedman: They don’t, we have been doing that. The amount of money spent per child adjusted for inflation has something like doubled or tripled over the last 20 years. Twenty years ago we had this report A Nation at Risk that pointed out all of the difficulties I just referred to and which pointed out this was a first generation that was going to be less schooled than its parents. We are now in the next generation and will be even less well schooled. We have had every possible effort you could have from reform from within. It is not just in schools; it is in any area. Reform has to come from outside. It has to come from competition. Let me illustrate that from within the school system. The United States from all accounts ranks number one in higher education. People from all over the world regard the United States’ colleges and universities the best and most varied. On the other hand in every other international comparison we rank near the bottom in elementary and secondary education. Why the difference? One word: choice. The elementary and secondary education, the school picks the child; it picks its customer. In higher education, the customer picks its school, you have choice that makes all the difference in the world. It means competition forces product. Look over the rest of the economy. Is there any area in the U.S. in which progress has not required progress from the outside? Look at the telephone industry when it was broken down into the little bells and opened up the competition. It started a period of rapid innovation and development. The key word is competition and the question is how can you get competition. Only by having the customer choosing.

Michelle: There is concern that money is going to religious schools. That the majority of the students in voucher programs that exist use them to attend schools with religious affiliation?

Mr. Friedman: Why? Because the vouchers are so small in some cases. It is true that of the private schools in the U.S. the great bulk of them are religious. That is for one simple reason. Here is someone selling something for nothing. Somebody down the street is giving away chocolate and you want to get into the business of selling chocolate. That is kind of tough isn’t it? Here at schools, children can attend them. They are not free. They are paying for it in the form of taxes, but there is no specific charge for going to that school. Somebody else is going to offer it. The churches, the religious organizations have had a real advantage in that they were the only ones around who were in a position to subsidize the education and keep the fees down low. If you open it wide, the most recent case was Ohio, Cleveland case. The voucher that they had had a max value of $2,500. Now it is not easy to provide a decent education at $2,500 and make money at it. Make it pay. At the same time the state of Ohio was spending something like over $7,000 per child on schooling. If that voucher had been $7,000 instead of $2,500 I have no doubt that there would have been a whole raft of new private, non-profit, both profit and non-profit schools. That is what has happened in Milwaukee. Milwaukee has a voucher system and today the fraction of the voucher users in Milwaukee going to religious schools is less than the fraction going to religious schools was before this system started because there have been new schools developed and some of them have been religious but many of them are not. In any event, the Supreme Court has settled that issue. They have said that if it is the choice of the parent, if there are alternatives available, there are government schools, charter schools, private non-denominational schools, private denominational schools, so long as the choice is in the hands of the parent that is not a violation of the First Amendment.

Michelle: You have a friend and an ally in the White House when it comes to vouchers.

Mr. Friedman: I should say. Mr. Bush has always been in favor. He is in favor of free choice. Remember vouchers are a means not an end. The purpose of vouchers is to enable parents to have free choice, and the purpose of having free choice is to provide competition and allow the educational industry to get out of the 17th century and get into the 21st century and have more innovation and more evolvement. There is no reason why you cannot have the same kind of change in the provision of education as you have had in industries like the computer industry, the television industry and other things.

Michelle: Is it refreshing to have a president that, Bill Clinton was firmly against vouchers.

Mr. Friedman: No, it is a case of circumstances. When he was governor of Arkansas, he was not against vouchers. He was in favor, but when he became president he came out against vouchers. I should say he did not oppose vouchers as governor and he did as president and that was for political reasons. People don’t recognize how powerful politically the teachers’ unions are. Something like a quarter of all the delegates at the Democratic National Convention are from the teachers’ union. They are probably the most powerful pressure group in the U.S., very large funds, very large number of people and very active politically.

Michelle: We talk in the office about how President Bush has some very Friedmanesqe ideas.

Mr. Friedman: They are not Freidmanesqe. They are just good ideas. I hope that is true anyway. I think very highly of President Bush, and I think in these areas, don’t misunderstand me, that is not a blanket statement. There are some things he has done that I disagree with, but taken as a whole he has been moving in the right direction of trying to move toward a smaller more limited government, trying to provide more freedom and more initiative in all areas. His philosophy on Medicare is the same as his philosophy in schools.

Michelle: Is that refreshing?

Mr. Friedman: It is an interesting thing, if you look at the facts, the one area, the area in which the low-income people of this country, the blacks and the minority, are most disadvantaged is with respect with the kinds of schools they can send their children to. The people who live in Harlem or the slums or the corresponding areas in LA or San Francisco, they can go to the same stores, shop in the same stores everybody else can, they can buy the same automobiles, they can go to supermarket, but they have very limited choice of schools. Everybody agrees that the schools in those areas are the worst. They are poor. Yet, here you have a Democrat who allege their interest is to help the poor and the low-income people. Here you have to take a different point. Every poll has shown that the strongest supporters of vouchers are the low-income blacks, and yet hardly a single black leader has been willing to come out for vouchers. There were some exceptions, Paul Williams in Milwaukee who was responsible for that, and a few others.

Michelle: Why do you think that is?

Mr. Friedman: For obvious reasons, political. It has been to the self interest to the leaders. The school system, as long as it’s governmental it’s a source of power and jobs to hand around and funds to dispose of. If it is privatized that disappears. And the other aspect of it is the power of the teachers’ unions. Right now those of us that are in the upper-income classes have freedom of choice for our children in various ways. We can decide where to live and we can choose places to live that have good schools or we can afford to pay twice for schooling once by taxes and once by paying tuition at a private school. It seems to me utterly unfair that those opportunities should not be open to everybody at all levels of income. If you had a system, the kind I would like to see, the government would say we require every child to get a certain number of years of schooling and in order to make that possible we are going to provide for every parent a voucher equal to a certain number of dollars, which they can use only for schooling, can’t use it for anything else. They can add to it, but they cannot subtract from it. Those will be, those can be used in government schools. Let the government run the school, but force them to be in competition so that all government schools charge tuition, but can be paid for by that voucher. But that same voucher can also be used in private schools of all kinds and then you would have an open; the teachers’ union complained and they insist they are doing a good job. If they are doing a good job then why are they so afraid of some competition?

Copyright: MSNBC, Inc. 2003

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 4)

I ran across this very interesting article about Milton Friedman from 2002: Friedman: Market offers poor better learningBy Tamara Henry, USA TODAY By Doug Mills, AP President Bush honors influential economist Milton Friedman for his 90th birthday earlier this month. About an economist Name:Milton FriedmanAge: 90Background: Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economic science; […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 117.3)

A Taxing Distinction for ObamaCare Published on Jun 28, 2012 by catoinstitutevideo http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/it-now-falls-congress http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/taxing-decision http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/supreme-court-unlawfully-rewrites-obamacare-to… http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/congress-its-not-a-tax-scotus-yes-it-is/ The Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon, Ilya Shapiro, Michael F. Cannon, Michael D. Tanner and Trevor Burrus evaluate today’s ruling on ObamaCare at the Supreme Court. Video produced by Caleb O. Brown and Austin Bragg. ____________ President Obama c/o The […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman’s biography (Part 2)(Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 3)

Biography Part 2 In 1977, when I reached the age of 65, I retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. At the invitation of Glenn Campbell, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, I shifted my scholarly work to Hoover where I remain a Senior Research Fellow. We moved to San Francisco, purchasing […]

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 (part 2)

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 July 2006 Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton Friedman Milton Friedman Economist Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 2)

Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 1)

Free or Equal?: Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose I got this below from Reason Magazine: Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman. Like the Friedmans, Norberg travels the globe […]

Reason Magazine’s rightly praises Milton Friedman but makes foolish claim along the way

I must say that I have lots of respect for Reason Magazine and for their admiration of Milton Friedman. However, I do disagree with one phrase below. At the end of this post I will tell you what sentence it is. Uploaded by ReasonTV on Jul 28, 2011 There’s no way to appreciate fully the […]

Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 1)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 1)

What a great man Milton Friedman was. The Legacy of Milton Friedman November 18, 2006 Alexander Tabarrok Great economist by day and crusading public intellectual by night, Milton Friedman was my hero. Friedman’s contributions to economics are profound, the permanent income hypothesis, the resurrection of the quantity theory of money, and his magnum opus with […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999 audio, video, and blogs » uncommon knowledge PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union with guest Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in […]

Dan Mitchell’s article on Chili and video clip on Milton Friedman’s influence

Milton Friedman and Chile – The Power of Choice Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on May 13, 2011 In this excerpt from Free To Choose Network’s “The Power of Choice (2006)”, we set the record straight on Milton Friedman’s dealings with Chile — including training the Chicago Boys and his meeting with Augusto Pinochet. Was the tremendous […]

Salter: It’s time for Texas to embrace school choice

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Salter: It’s time for Texas to embrace school choice

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

The movement to give parents control over their childrens’ education is picking up steam. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recently supported primary challengers to lawmakers from her own party because the incumbents opposed educational freedom. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey just signed a transformative education bill, making all children K-12 eligible for $6,500 in scholarship funds. Now it’s Texas’s turn. Legislators should make funding students instead of systems a major goal in 2023.

School choice is a transformative policy that helps parents get a top-notch education for their children. By allowing funding to follow students, families can pick the options that best fit their unique circumstances. Vouchers and education savings accounts (ESAs) are good examples. Vouchers cover tuition at approved schools. ESAs are broader: The money can be used for a host of education-related expenses, such as tutoring and counseling. Either would be a welcome support for Texas families.

Salter

Direct student funding is not a new idea. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, popularized school choice in the 1980s. Despite its potential, for a long time there was only limited experimentation with vouchers and other choice-enhancing projects, such as charter schools. Special interest groups, such as teachers’ unions, strongly opposed school choice. Good policy isn’t always good politics.

The coronavirus pandemic changed everything. Across the country, schools canceled in-person learning, placing huge burdens on children and working parents. Students suffered from diminished learning and social isolation. The remote lessons, which parents saw up-close for the first time, focused too much on cultural politics and not enough on core skills in reading, writing, and math. When families tried to voice their disapproval at school board meetings, they were often ridiculed. Small wonder they’re fed up with status-quo schooling.

In Virginia, Glenn Younkin unexpectedly won the governorship largely due to his opponent’s hostility to parents. Even in hyper-progressive San Francisco, three school board members were recalled by frustrated families. Everywhere the school choice movement picked up momentum. Flash forward to today: School choice is a winning issue for politicians, both right-wing and left-wing, who support a pro-family agenda.

School choice fits nicely with Texans’ support for educational equality. The Texas Constitution requires the government to provide free schooling, but not to build and run the schools itself. No less an authority than the Texas Supreme Court holds that the government satisfies its constitutional obligation by providing the necessary resources. Give parents the funds they need and all Texas schoolchildren can have a great education.

School choice is a fine idea in theory. But does it work in practice? The evidence is clear: It does. Researchers have published many studies on school choice over the years. When addressing policy-relevant questions, it’s important to consider the entire body of evidence, not just one or two papers in isolation. Anyone can cherry-pick studies to find results they like. What matters is the overall picture. And for school choice, the overall picture looks pretty good. Out of 17 important studies, 11 found school choice increased some or all students’ math and reading scores. Only two found a negative effect.

Educational achievement isn’t the only benefit of school choice. It also improves academic outcomes in existing public schools, saves taxpayers money, reduces crime, and bolsters racial integration. Each of these findings is supported by a preponderance of the evidence in a well-established scholarly literature.

Texans, don’t let the school choice movement pass us by. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure all students get the education they deserve. The system we have now is discriminatory: the rich, who can afford private-school tuition, already have school choice, while the poor are trapped in underperforming schools. We can fix this by funding students directly. Here’s hoping legislators make school choice happen in 2023.

Alexander William Salter is the Georgie G. Snyder Associate Professor of Economics in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, the Comparative Economics Research Fellow at TTU’s Free Market Institute, and a community member of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s editorial board. The views in this piece are solely his own.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 4)

I ran across this very interesting article about Milton Friedman from 2002: Friedman: Market offers poor better learningBy Tamara Henry, USA TODAY By Doug Mills, AP President Bush honors influential economist Milton Friedman for his 90th birthday earlier this month. About an economist Name:Milton FriedmanAge: 90Background: Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economic science; […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 117.3)

A Taxing Distinction for ObamaCare Published on Jun 28, 2012 by catoinstitutevideo http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/it-now-falls-congress http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/taxing-decision http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/supreme-court-unlawfully-rewrites-obamacare-to… http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/congress-its-not-a-tax-scotus-yes-it-is/ The Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon, Ilya Shapiro, Michael F. Cannon, Michael D. Tanner and Trevor Burrus evaluate today’s ruling on ObamaCare at the Supreme Court. Video produced by Caleb O. Brown and Austin Bragg. ____________ President Obama c/o The […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman’s biography (Part 2)(Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 3)

Biography Part 2 In 1977, when I reached the age of 65, I retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. At the invitation of Glenn Campbell, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, I shifted my scholarly work to Hoover where I remain a Senior Research Fellow. We moved to San Francisco, purchasing […]

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 (part 2)

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 July 2006 Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton Friedman Milton Friedman Economist Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 2)

Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 1)

Free or Equal?: Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose I got this below from Reason Magazine: Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman. Like the Friedmans, Norberg travels the globe […]

Reason Magazine’s rightly praises Milton Friedman but makes foolish claim along the way

I must say that I have lots of respect for Reason Magazine and for their admiration of Milton Friedman. However, I do disagree with one phrase below. At the end of this post I will tell you what sentence it is. Uploaded by ReasonTV on Jul 28, 2011 There’s no way to appreciate fully the […]

Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 1)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 1)

What a great man Milton Friedman was. The Legacy of Milton Friedman November 18, 2006 Alexander Tabarrok Great economist by day and crusading public intellectual by night, Milton Friedman was my hero. Friedman’s contributions to economics are profound, the permanent income hypothesis, the resurrection of the quantity theory of money, and his magnum opus with […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999 audio, video, and blogs » uncommon knowledge PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union with guest Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in […]

Dan Mitchell’s article on Chili and video clip on Milton Friedman’s influence

Milton Friedman and Chile – The Power of Choice Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on May 13, 2011 In this excerpt from Free To Choose Network’s “The Power of Choice (2006)”, we set the record straight on Milton Friedman’s dealings with Chile — including training the Chicago Boys and his meeting with Augusto Pinochet. Was the tremendous […]

Opinion: Why 2023 Might Be the Year for Universal School Choice in Indiana

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Opinion: Why 2023 Might Be the Year for Universal School Choice in Indiana

·4 min read

The Indiana General Assembly has an unprecedented opportunity to implement the most promising educational reform they’ve yet to try: universal school choice.

It’s time for Indiana to move beyond the limited choice program we have now and create a genuine free market in which schools compete for students, and parents choose what is best for their families, with options ranging from home schools to special needs and vocational programs to traditional college prep academies.

This is what Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman pushed for in 1955 when he wrote, “The Role of Government in Education.” He observed, “Government has appropriately financed general education for citizenship, but in the process it has been led also to administer most of the schools that provide such education. Yet, as we have seen, the administration of schools is neither required by the financing of education nor justifiable in its own right in a predominantly free enterprise society.”


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Friedman, writing prior to the modern educational reform movement, blamed lack of consumer choice for low achievement and declining test scores.

Much has happened in the years since, including the release in 1983 of A Nation at Risk, which bemoaned the state of America’s public schools. In response, federal and state legislators lurched from one reform idea to another in an effort to make the system work, and they have met with nothing but failure. The trends were exacerbated by the COVID pandemic’s closing of schools and shift to remote instruction:

Math and language arts scores on the ISTEP and ILEARN assessments have fallen precipitously since 2011, with only 28% of Hoosier students achieving proficiency in both.

At fourth grade and eighth grade levels, Indiana math and reading scores on the NAEP test — the nation’s so-called report card — not only dropped last year but have fallen from their highs. This is especially notable considering that math and reading have been a singular focus of elementary schools since Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, pushing performance-based evaluations of schools and teachers.

Only half of Indiana high school juniors tested as “college-ready” in reading and writing on the 2022 SAT test, and only one-third met readiness standards for math.

Model legislation for educational freedom can be found in Arizona, where parents choose between a public-sector school or an Educational Savings Account, worth about $7,000. Families can use that money for private school tuition, home school curriculum, online academies, and micro-schools. These are smaller learning communities, often created by parents and tailored to the specific needs of a student or group of students.

Indiana lawmakers could fund ESAs in the upcoming session using state dollars but eventually will need to address the fact that 30% of school funding continues to come from local property taxes ($3.7 billion in 2021). A reworking of the funding formula to ensure statewide equity is in order. Unlike our current voucher system, educational accounts should have few strings attached. A reasonable requirement for a school to qualify for ESA dollars would be proof of core curriculum, a condition similar to what Friedman recommended in his 1955 essay.

Indiana’s path

Indiana was a pioneer in school choice in the early 1990s when J. Patrick Rooney of Golden Rule Insurance funded scholarships for low-income Indianapolis children to attend private schools. Rooney died in 2008, but the success of his program led the legislature to adopt a variety of choice initiatives.

Today, 21% of Hoosier students take advantage of some form of choice: public charter or magnet schools, home schools, inter-district transfer, and vouchers to help pay private school tuition of students whose households meet certain income criteria. As of this year, Indiana also offers an Education Savings Account program, limited to students with special needs to be used to pay for private school tuition or individualized services. Unlike vouchers, which function as scholarships, ESAs allow parents to apply allocated state dollars to a variety of education expenses.

There has never been a better moment for educational freedom, said Robert C. Enlow, president and CEO of EdChoice. Under our current choice options, he noted, “Twenty percent are taking charge. Society is failing the other 80%.”

Indeed, parents’ satisfaction with their children’s education has dropped from 51% in 2019 to 42% today, according to Gallup.

With super majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate, a mandate from voters, and the infrastructure already in place for ESAs, Republican lawmakers should seize the moment and bring educational freedom to all Hoosier families.

Andrea Neal is an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review and a former member of the State Board of Education.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Niki Kelly for questions: info@indianacapitalchronicle.com. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

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Op-Ed: Milton Friedman’s role of government in education

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Op-Ed: Milton Friedman’s role of government in education

By William Haupt III | The Center Square contributor

“It’s a disgrace that there is more illiteracy today than there was 100 years ago.” – Milton Friedman

For decades after the American Revolution, our parents were the drivers of how and where their children were educated. Parents chose from home schools and private schools to educate their children. The first state public-funded schools appeared in the 1840s. But it was not until the 1900s during the Progressive Era that government gained control of funding and regulating education.

As government took more control of education, parents became subordinate to central education manipulation. Government dictated everything in every classroom. When Jimmy Carter married the National Teachers Union with the Department of Education in 1979, government and unions took ownership of education. If parents did not like local education, they had to pay for private schools.

Milton Friedman was an economist that rejected Keynesianism, the theory that government could control the economy better than free markets. Friedman’s view was based on the concept of free markets and “rational expectations.” Friedman theorized that free market competition is the most powerful tool in our nation to surpass any and all expectations we can expect from government.

Following the second Great War in the 1950s, Communists in Eastern Europe proved what a dangerous tool education was in the hands of government. A young economist, Milton Friedman did not want to see that in America and penned his thesis, defining “The Role of Government in Education.”

“A student’s education should not be determined by government but their parents.” – Milton Friedman

Friedman felt it was necessary for government to fund education, but it had no right to administer it. He believed monopolized government control of public education empowered the government to indoctrinate young minds into thinking the way politicians want students to think, not their parents. He blamed federal and union control of education for stagnant and declining student test scores.

Pointing to the economic success of market consumer choice and competition, Friedman blamed the lack of consumer choice on our inferior education system.

“It is unjustified for any government to have absolute monopolistic control over any commodity in the free markets.” – Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman said lack of competition in a nation built and dependent on free market principles produces inferior products. If we apply these economic principles to a non-responsive government-administered education program, competition for education dollars would vastly improve education.

According to Friedman, to improve education we must find better methods to administer it and to finance it. He insisted, instead of government making the decisions how and where children are educated, they should provide education vouchers to parents to use for schools of their choice.

Friedman believed giving parents education vouchers would empower them to “improve education” though free market competition, which in turn would force the government’s inferior public school system to improve. As more and more parents choose private and chartered schools over failing public schools, the public-school systems would be responsive to parental concerns and improve.

“Most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” – Milton Friedman

Six decades later, we have living proof that Friedman’s “The Role of Government in Education” is the logical foundation of the modern American school-choice movement. People isolated from the academic world are seldom exposed to innovative ideas and concepts. So Friedman’s article went largely unnoticed in the public. But once those seeds were planted, over time they have blossomed.

In 1989, Wisconsin put Friedman’s ideas into practice when it approved the first voucher program allowing students to use vouchers to pay tuition at private schools. Shortly after, 18 states passed similar voucher programs. Vouchers remain the most attractive private school choice programs.

“Do-it-yourself education beats factory production education anytime anyplace.”  – Milton Friedman

In 2003 during an education symposium, Friedman suggested there are many alternatives to public education. He cited education savings accounts would allow parents to use taxpayer funds to pay for tuition and other education expenses. In 2011, Arizona implemented the nation’s first education savings account option. Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and North Carolina soon followed them.

A charter school is a tuition-free contract school, publicly funded, but independent from the public system. Friedman believed parents would support such a system. And this has come to fruition in over 40 states. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, many of the best-known charter school networks are run by nonprofit charter management organizations, or CMOs.

Private religious school choice was ruled constitutional when the Supreme Court ruled it was legal for Ohio’s Pilot Project Scholarship Program to provide vouchers for students to attend nonreligious and religious schools. The court held that the program neither advances nor inhibits religion at any school and that publicly funded school vouchers go to the parents rather than the private schools.

Milton Friedman and wife Rose founded the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice in 1996 to promote freedom of choice in education. Today, it is simply called EdChoice. Although the name has changed, the mission lives on. There were only five education choice programs when it opened. Twenty years later, more than 400,000 students participate in 61 programs in 30 states.

Milton Friedman said, “Our mistake is to judge programs by their intentions not their results.” Our founders promised a quality education for every youth in the nation. But by the time this system was in place it was run by politicians not parents. A century later the system was in such disrepair Milton Friedman realized that the only way to repair it was to make it competitive in the free market.

The discussion of school choice stimulated by Friedman’s “The Role of Government in Education” has grown and has penetrated the broad public. Most parents and citizens now believe that more choice is needed and less government and union control. Giving parents the information about the deficiencies in public education and other education choices will result in better educated students.

The greatest flaw in public education is union run government schools. Proposed federal education reforms are the same as those that failed. They propose doing more of what we’ve already done: More money, smaller classes, increased teacher pay and benefits, more schools and expanded central control. “To the public union school system, school choice is a threat, not an improvement.”

“If we are really concerned that our children receive a quality education, we must empower parents and their children to have equal access to appropriate educational opportunities.” – Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 4)

I ran across this very interesting article about Milton Friedman from 2002: Friedman: Market offers poor better learningBy Tamara Henry, USA TODAY By Doug Mills, AP President Bush honors influential economist Milton Friedman for his 90th birthday earlier this month. About an economist Name:Milton FriedmanAge: 90Background: Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economic science; […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 117.3)

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Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman’s biography (Part 2)(Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 3)

Biography Part 2 In 1977, when I reached the age of 65, I retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. At the invitation of Glenn Campbell, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, I shifted my scholarly work to Hoover where I remain a Senior Research Fellow. We moved to San Francisco, purchasing […]

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 (part 2)

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 July 2006 Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton Friedman Milton Friedman Economist Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 2)

Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

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Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 1)

Free or Equal?: Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose I got this below from Reason Magazine: Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman. Like the Friedmans, Norberg travels the globe […]

Reason Magazine’s rightly praises Milton Friedman but makes foolish claim along the way

I must say that I have lots of respect for Reason Magazine and for their admiration of Milton Friedman. However, I do disagree with one phrase below. At the end of this post I will tell you what sentence it is. Uploaded by ReasonTV on Jul 28, 2011 There’s no way to appreciate fully the […]

Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 1)

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What a great man Milton Friedman was. The Legacy of Milton Friedman November 18, 2006 Alexander Tabarrok Great economist by day and crusading public intellectual by night, Milton Friedman was my hero. Friedman’s contributions to economics are profound, the permanent income hypothesis, the resurrection of the quantity theory of money, and his magnum opus with […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7

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Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

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Dan Mitchell’s article on Chili and video clip on Milton Friedman’s influence

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Celebrating School Choice? Thank Milton Friedman, too

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Celebrating School Choice? Thank Milton Friedman, too

by Dr. Robert Luebke

Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation

January 25, 2021
  • In the 1950s, a young Milton Friedman argued that free market principles of consumer choice and competition were needed to remedy the nonresponsive and monopolistic system that controlled and delivered public education
  • Friedman’s work provided the intellectual foundations of the modern school-choice movement
  • If Friedman were alive today and came to North Carolina, he’d see school choice flourishing

In the decades after the American Revolution, parents were the drivers of how and where their children were educated. Parents could choose from private schools, tutors, and home schools as ways to educate children. In the mid-1840s, Massachusetts became the first state to lead a push for state-controlled and -funded public education. A century later, the rise of the Progressive Era saw government gain control over how schools were financed, administered, and regulated.

Along with these changes came a weakening in the ability of parents to control their child’s education. Of course, if parents didn’t like their child’s school or didn’t think it was a good fit, they could choose a private school — if they could afford it. If not, children were forced to attend the local public school, whether parents liked it or not.

In the mid-1950s, a young economist at the University of Chicago laid out a case for the role of government in education for its citizens in an article given the unassuming title of The Role of Government in Education. In it Milton Friedman acknowledged there is a case for government subsidizing public education, but not for government administering the schools. Friedman believed increased centralization and government control of public schools had led to less freedom and efficiency in education and a decline in quality. For government not only to finance education, but also largely to deliver education services was an arrangement Friedman considered unnatural as well as unjustified.

In his article Friedman argued that free market principles of consumer choice and competition were needed to remedy the nonresponsive and monopolistic system that controlled and delivered public education.

Friedman sought nothing less than to upend how American education was financed and administered. Instead of government deciding how and where children are educated, government would provide vouchers to parents for education or educational services at approved schools.

Friedman believed giving parents the power to “vote with their feet” would force monopolistic public-school systems to be responsive to parental concerns. He also was convinced that the use of vouchers would infuse competition among schools and encourage them to innovate and be more effective, qualities conspicuously absent from most public-school systems. Moreover, Friedman also thought it critical to separate the funding of education from the delivery of education services.

Six and a half decades later, it’s not difficult to see how “The Role of Government in Education” provided the intellectual foundations of the modern school-choice movement. People don’t always hear what they need to hear, so Friedman’s article went largely unnoticed outside the policy world. Those seeds took time to grow.

In 1989, Wisconsin become the first state to put Friedman’s ideas into practice when it approved a statewide voucher program that allowed low-income students to use vouchers to pay tuition at a private school. In 2013, North Carolina approved the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a similar program that today provides over 14,000 students with scholarships of up to $4,200 to help pay tuition at a local private school.

School choice today

If Milton Friedman were alive today and came to North Carolina, he’d see school choice flourishing. Today parents can choose from a variety of public and private school-choice programs. They include public options such as charter or magnet schools as well as private options such as the Opportunity Scholarship Program or the Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities.

Regarding charter schools, the table below shows that the number of students enrolled in charter schools has increased dramatically from over 38,000 in 2010 to over 117,000 today. Enrollment in private schools in the Tar Heel state saw modest growth over the last 10 years, while the number of home schoolers increased by 83 percent.

Over the past decade, while the average daily membership (ADM) enrollment in traditional public schools increased by just one half of one percent, the school-choice population in North Carolina expanded by 71 percent. Today over 370,000 students attend charter, private, and home schools and have access to a better education. Ten years ago, only 13 percent of students were enrolled in choice schools. Today nearly 80 percent of students still attend traditional public schools, but the number of students enrolled in choice schools has increased to almost 21 percent, up significantly from ten years ago.

K-12 Enrollment in North Carolina, by Type of School, 2010 and 2020

Schools 2010 Enrollment 2020 Enrollment Change, 2010–20
Traditional Public Schools (ADM) 1,402,269 1,409,391 0.5%
Charter Schools 38,449 117,264 204.9%
Home Schools 81,509 149,173 83.0%
Private Schools 96,421 103,959 7.8%
Total, Choice Schools 216,379 370,396 71.2%
Schools 2010 Enrollment 2020 Enrollment Percentage Point Change
Percentage of Students in Traditional Public Schools 86.7% 79.2% –7.5
Percentage of Students in
Choice Schools
13.3% 20.8% +7.5

Source: Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget, Statistical Profile of North Carolina Public Schools, and North Carolina Office of Non-Public Education (for specific years).

Friedman’s legacy

Friedman’s ideas have helped to fuel an education revolution in North Carolina and across the country. Choice empowers parents to make educational decisions, challenges monopolies, and calls out bureaucracies. Choice expands personal freedom but also highlights that accountability comes in different forms. In so doing, choice has helped to shift the public discussion of education from a focus on how much money is spent to how well money is spent.

Let’s be clear: Milton Friedman got it right. Choice benefits students, families, schools, and our communities. Today school choice continues to thrive because it empowers parents and students and enriches our communities. That’s not to say there haven’t been mistakes and growing pains. Nevertheless, having choices in education is far preferable. Choice recognizes what too many of our public schools ignore: children are different and learn differently.

If we are really concerned that our children receive a quality education, we must allow parents and children to access appropriate educational opportunities. As more and more families are empowered to make these choices, we should thank Milton Friedman for laying the intellectual groundwork for many of the school choice programs we enjoy today.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 4)

I ran across this very interesting article about Milton Friedman from 2002: Friedman: Market offers poor better learningBy Tamara Henry, USA TODAY By Doug Mills, AP President Bush honors influential economist Milton Friedman for his 90th birthday earlier this month. About an economist Name:Milton FriedmanAge: 90Background: Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economic science; […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 11 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 117.3)

A Taxing Distinction for ObamaCare Published on Jun 28, 2012 by catoinstitutevideo http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/it-now-falls-congress http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/taxing-decision http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/supreme-court-unlawfully-rewrites-obamacare-to… http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/congress-its-not-a-tax-scotus-yes-it-is/ The Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon, Ilya Shapiro, Michael F. Cannon, Michael D. Tanner and Trevor Burrus evaluate today’s ruling on ObamaCare at the Supreme Court. Video produced by Caleb O. Brown and Austin Bragg. ____________ President Obama c/o The […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 10 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 9 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman’s biography (Part 2)(Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 3)

Biography Part 2 In 1977, when I reached the age of 65, I retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. At the invitation of Glenn Campbell, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, I shifted my scholarly work to Hoover where I remain a Senior Research Fellow. We moved to San Francisco, purchasing […]

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 (part 2)

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 July 2006 Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton Friedman Milton Friedman Economist Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 8 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 2)

Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 1)

Free or Equal?: Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose I got this below from Reason Magazine: Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman. Like the Friedmans, Norberg travels the globe […]

Reason Magazine’s rightly praises Milton Friedman but makes foolish claim along the way

I must say that I have lots of respect for Reason Magazine and for their admiration of Milton Friedman. However, I do disagree with one phrase below. At the end of this post I will tell you what sentence it is. Uploaded by ReasonTV on Jul 28, 2011 There’s no way to appreciate fully the […]

Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 1)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman […]

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 1)

What a great man Milton Friedman was. The Legacy of Milton Friedman November 18, 2006 Alexander Tabarrok Great economist by day and crusading public intellectual by night, Milton Friedman was my hero. Friedman’s contributions to economics are profound, the permanent income hypothesis, the resurrection of the quantity theory of money, and his magnum opus with […]

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7

Milton Friedman videos and transcripts Part 7 On my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org I have an extensive list of posts that have both videos and transcripts of MiltonFriedman’s interviews and speeches. Here below is just small list of those and more can be accessed by clicking on “Milton Friedman” on the side of this page or searching […]

Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999 audio, video, and blogs » uncommon knowledge PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union with guest Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in […]

Dan Mitchell’s article on Chili and video clip on Milton Friedman’s influence

Milton Friedman and Chile – The Power of Choice Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on May 13, 2011 In this excerpt from Free To Choose Network’s “The Power of Choice (2006)”, we set the record straight on Milton Friedman’s dealings with Chile — including training the Chicago Boys and his meeting with Augusto Pinochet. Was the tremendous […]

Arizona’s New School Choice Bill Moves Us Closer to Milton Friedman’s Vision

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Arizona’s New School Choice Bill Moves Us Closer to Milton Friedman’s Vision

The education disruption over the past two years has re-energized parents and taxpayers alike.

“Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its children go,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman stated in 2003. “We are far from that ultimate result. If we had that, a system of free choice, we would also have a system of competition, innovation, which would change the character of education.”

Last week, Arizona lawmakers moved us much closer to that ultimate result. Legislators in that state, which already had some of the most robust school choice policies in the US, passed the country’s first universal education savings account bill, extending education choice to all K-12 students.

The education savings accounts, or Empowerment Scholarship Accounts as they are known in Arizona, had previously been available to certain Arizona students who met specific criteria, including special needs students and children in active-duty military families. This new bill, which the Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign, extends education choice to all school-age children throughout Arizona.

Every family will now have access to 90 percent of the state-allocated per pupil education dollars, or about $7,000 per student, to use toward approved education-related resources, including private school tuition, tutors, curriculum materials, online learning programs, and more.

“Arizona is now the gold standard for school choice,” Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, told me this week. “Every other state should follow Arizona’s lead and fund students instead of systems. Education funding is meant for educating children, not for protecting a particular institution. School choice is the only way to truly secure parental rights in education.”

Several states have introduced or expanded school choice policies over the past couple of years, enabling taxpayer funding of education to go directly to students rather than bureaucratic school systems. In this week’s LiberatED podcast episode, I spoke with one education entrepreneur, Michelle McCartney, whose homeschool resource center is an approved vendor for New Hampshire’s Education Freedom Accounts, an education savings account program for income-eligible students that was implemented last year.

While McCartney sees a fully private, free market in education as the ideal circumstance, she recognizes that education choice policies are an important first step toward expanding education options for more families, and reducing government involvement in the education sector.

“If it was up to me we wouldn’t pay any money to the government and school would be entirely privatized,” said McCartney. “That’s how I believe it should be, but it’s not. So I think we can all sit here and have discussions about what would be the ideal circumstance, but I think sometimes we’ve got to roll with what we have, and if we can get any of that money back to the families I think that’s an important first step.”

Indeed, Milton Friedman also saw school choice policies such as vouchers as a first step in education reform, not a final one. Friedman popularized the idea of school choice policies, specifically universal school vouchers, in his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education,” and elaborated on his views over the following decades up until his death in 2006 at the age of 94.

Friedman and his economist wife Rose wrote in their influential book, Free To Choose: “We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther.”

While Arizona’s new legislation now makes it the forerunner in education choice policies across the country, West Virginia is close behind and begins to address compulsory attendance. Lawmakers there recently passed legislation that loosens state compulsory school attendance laws for participants in learning pods and microschools, two emerging, decentralized K-12 learning models that are gaining popularity across the country. West Virginia also passed an education savings account program last year, known as the Hope Scholarship, that extends education choice to nearly all K-12 students.

The education disruption over the past two years has re-energized parents and taxpayers alike. They are demanding more options beyond an assigned district school, embracing innovative learning models, and loosening the government grip on education. As Friedman envisioned, a choice-based system of education weakens the government monopoly on schooling and sparks innovation and competition to ultimately “change the character of education.”

We are seeing that change occur right before our eyes.

Listen to the weekly LiberatED Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher, and sign up for Kerry’s weekly LiberatED email newsletter to stay up-to-date on educational news and trends from a free-market perspective.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman remembered at 100 years from his birth (Part 4)

I ran across this very interesting article about Milton Friedman from 2002: Friedman: Market offers poor better learningBy Tamara Henry, USA TODAY By Doug Mills, AP President Bush honors influential economist Milton Friedman for his 90th birthday earlier this month. About an economist Name:Milton FriedmanAge: 90Background: Winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economic science; […]

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 117.3)

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Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 (part 2)

Milton Friedman at Hillsdale College 2006 July 2006 Free to Choose: A Conversation with Milton Friedman Milton Friedman Economist Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946-1976. Dr. Friedman received the Nobel Memorial […]

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Testing Milton Friedman – Preview Uploaded by FreeToChooseNetwork on Feb 21, 2012 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. His work and ideas continue to make the world a better place. As part of Milton Friedman’s Century, a revival of the ideas featured in the landmark television series Free To Choose are being […]

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Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

JANUARY 24, 2023 3:48PM
File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Friedman Challenged Compulsory Schooling Laws

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

Vouchers as a First Step

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Voucher Programs Today

Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluation of voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Increased Access and Decreased Crime

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says.
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Celebrating School Choice? Thank Milton Friedman, too

by Dr. Robert Luebke

Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation

January 25, 2021
  • In the 1950s, a young Milton Friedman argued that free market principles of consumer choice and competition were needed to remedy the nonresponsive and monopolistic system that controlled and delivered public education
  • Friedman’s work provided the intellectual foundations of the modern school-choice movement
  • If Friedman were alive today and came to North Carolina, he’d see school choice flourishing

In the decades after the American Revolution, parents were the drivers of how and where their children were educated. Parents could choose from private schools, tutors, and home schools as ways to educate children. In the mid-1840s, Massachusetts became the first state to lead a push for state-controlled and -funded public education. A century later, the rise of the Progressive Era saw government gain control over how schools were financed, administered, and regulated.

Along with these changes came a weakening in the ability of parents to control their child’s education. Of course, if parents didn’t like their child’s school or didn’t think it was a good fit, they could choose a private school — if they could afford it. If not, children were forced to attend the local public school, whether parents liked it or not.

In the mid-1950s, a young economist at the University of Chicago laid out a case for the role of government in education for its citizens in an article given the unassuming title of The Role of Government in Education. In it Milton Friedman acknowledged there is a case for government subsidizing public education, but not for government administering the schools. Friedman believed increased centralization and government control of public schools had led to less freedom and efficiency in education and a decline in quality. For government not only to finance education, but also largely to deliver education services was an arrangement Friedman considered unnatural as well as unjustified.

In his article Friedman argued that free market principles of consumer choice and competition were needed to remedy the nonresponsive and monopolistic system that controlled and delivered public education.

Friedman sought nothing less than to upend how American education was financed and administered. Instead of government deciding how and where children are educated, government would provide vouchers to parents for education or educational services at approved schools.

Friedman believed giving parents the power to “vote with their feet” would force monopolistic public-school systems to be responsive to parental concerns. He also was convinced that the use of vouchers would infuse competition among schools and encourage them to innovate and be more effective, qualities conspicuously absent from most public-school systems. Moreover, Friedman also thought it critical to separate the funding of education from the delivery of education services.

Six and a half decades later, it’s not difficult to see how “The Role of Government in Education” provided the intellectual foundations of the modern school-choice movement. People don’t always hear what they need to hear, so Friedman’s article went largely unnoticed outside the policy world. Those seeds took time to grow.

In 1989, Wisconsin become the first state to put Friedman’s ideas into practice when it approved a statewide voucher program that allowed low-income students to use vouchers to pay tuition at a private school. In 2013, North Carolina approved the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a similar program that today provides over 14,000 students with scholarships of up to $4,200 to help pay tuition at a local private school.

School choice today

If Milton Friedman were alive today and came to North Carolina, he’d see school choice flourishing. Today parents can choose from a variety of public and private school-choice programs. They include public options such as charter or magnet schools as well as private options such as the Opportunity Scholarship Program or the Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities.

Regarding charter schools, the table below shows that the number of students enrolled in charter schools has increased dramatically from over 38,000 in 2010 to over 117,000 today. Enrollment in private schools in the Tar Heel state saw modest growth over the last 10 years, while the number of home schoolers increased by 83 percent.

Over the past decade, while the average daily membership (ADM) enrollment in traditional public schools increased by just one half of one percent, the school-choice population in North Carolina expanded by 71 percent. Today over 370,000 students attend charter, private, and home schools and have access to a better education. Ten years ago, only 13 percent of students were enrolled in choice schools. Today nearly 80 percent of students still attend traditional public schools, but the number of students enrolled in choice schools has increased to almost 21 percent, up significantly from ten years ago.

K-12 Enrollment in North Carolina, by Type of School, 2010 and 2020

Schools 2010 Enrollment 2020 Enrollment Change, 2010–20
Traditional Public Schools (ADM) 1,402,269 1,409,391 0.5%
Charter Schools 38,449 117,264 204.9%
Home Schools 81,509 149,173 83.0%
Private Schools 96,421 103,959 7.8%
Total, Choice Schools 216,379 370,396 71.2%
Schools 2010 Enrollment 2020 Enrollment Percentage Point Change
Percentage of Students in Traditional Public Schools 86.7% 79.2% –7.5
Percentage of Students in
Choice Schools
13.3% 20.8% +7.5

Source: Highlights of the North Carolina Public School Budget, Statistical Profile of North Carolina Public Schools, and North Carolina Office of Non-Public Education (for specific years).

Friedman’s legacy

Friedman’s ideas have helped to fuel an education revolution in North Carolina and across the country. Choice empowers parents to make educational decisions, challenges monopolies, and calls out bureaucracies. Choice expands personal freedom but also highlights that accountability comes in different forms. In so doing, choice has helped to shift the public discussion of education from a focus on how much money is spent to how well money is spent.

Let’s be clear: Milton Friedman got it right. Choice benefits students, families, schools, and our communities. Today school choice continues to thrive because it empowers parents and students and enriches our communities. That’s not to say there haven’t been mistakes and growing pains. Nevertheless, having choices in education is far preferable. Choice recognizes what too many of our public schools ignore: children are different and learn differently.

If we are really concerned that our children receive a quality education, we must allow parents and children to access appropriate educational opportunities. As more and more families are empowered to make these choices, we should thank Milton Friedman for laying the intellectual groundwork for many of the school choice programs we enjoy today.

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

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Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System

Published on May 9, 2012 by

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File:President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in The East Room Congratulating Milton Friedman Receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom.jpg

Milton Friedman, School Choice Pioneer


As our new School Choice Timeline shows, calls for public funding to follow students to a variety of educational options date back centuries. However, Nobel Prize‐​winning economist Milton Friedman is often considered the father of the modern school choice movement.

In a 1955 essay, The Role of Government in Education, Friedman acknowledged some justifications for government mandates and funding when it comes to education. However, he said it’s difficult to justify government administration of education. He suggested governments could provide parents with vouchers worth a specified maximum sum per child per year to be spent on “approved” educational services.

Friedman would return to this idea repeatedly over the years in his writings and his popular Free to Choose television series. But he did more than just write and talk about his idea. In 1996, he and his wife Rose, who was also a noted economist, started the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Their original plan included the eventual removal of their name from the foundation, which happened in 2016; the organization is now known as EdChoice and is the go‐​to source for up‐​to‐​date information on school choice in America.

Milton Friedman had a remarkable life. He was born in Brooklyn in 1912 to parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His father died during his senior year in high school, leaving his mother and older sisters to support the family. He managed to attend Rutgers University through a combination of scholarships and various jobs. After earning a degree in economics, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he met his future wife, Rose. The Friedmans had two children, a son and a daughter.

Friedman’s list of accomplishments is astonishingly long. In addition to his 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988. He was a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, a distinguished economics professor at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. He was a prolific writer of newspaper and magazine columns, essays, and books.

Milton Friedman’s focus on education choice made perfect sense in light of his other work. He had a consistent focus on preserving and expanding individual freedom. He saw parental control and the ability to choose the environment that worked best for individual children as essential to a quality education. His 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom included chapters on economic and political freedom, trade, fiscal policy, occupational licenses, and poverty, along with his earlier essay on the role of government in education.

In 1980, Milton and Rose released Free to Choose, a discussion of economics and freedom, as a book and a television series. One segment/​chapter asked, “What’s Wrong with Our Schools?” and then explained the importance of parents being able to choose what works for their individual children.

When the Friedman Foundation was launched, there were five education choice programs in the U.S. with fewer than 10,000 students participating. Today, according to EdChoice, there are 74 programs in 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 670,000 students participating.

While there is a long and deep history of individuals and organizations calling for various forms of school choice, it is clear that Milton Friedman played an enormous role in its advance in the U.S. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the programs in place today, and his relatable writings and videos helped explain his ideas to parents, policymakers, and thought leaders. As we celebrate National School Choice Week—and Cato’s new School Choice Timeline—it’s a great time to commemorate Milton Friedman’s important contributions to the movement.

The School Choice Revolution

It’s time to celebrate another victory for school choice.

  • In 2021, West Virginia adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2022, Arizona adopted statewide school choice.
  • In 2023, Iowa adopted statewide school choice.

Now Utah has joined the club, with Governor Spencer Cox approving a new law that will give families greater freedom to choose the best educational options for their children.

Here are some details from Marjorie Cortez, reporting for the Deseret News.

The Utah Senate gave final passage to legislation that will provide $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options…The bill passed by a two-thirds margin in each legislative house, which means it cannot be challenged by referendum. …The bill creates the Utah Fits All Scholarship, which can then be used for education expenses like curriculum, textbooks, education, software, tutoring services, micro-school teacher salaries and private school tuition.

As you might expect, teacher unions and their allies are very disappointed – which is a very positive sign.

…the Utah Education Association…opposed HB215… The bill was also opposed by the Utah State Board of Education, Utah PTA, school superintendents, business administrators and school boards. The Alliance for a Better Utah was pointed in its reaction… “Conservative lawmakers just robbed our neighborhood schools of $42 million. Private school vouchers have been and continue to be opposed by Utahns but these lawmakers are instead pursuing a national agenda to ‘destroy public education.’

The Wall Street Journal opined on this great development.

School choice is gaining momentum across the country, and this week Utah joined Iowa in advancing the education reform cause. …Utah’s bill, which the Senate passed Thursday, 20-8, makes ESAs of $8,000 available to every student. There’s no income cap on families who can apply, though lower-income families receive preference and the program is capped at $42 million. The funds can be used for private school tuition, home-schooling expenses, tutoring, and more.

But the best part of the editorial is the look at other states that may be poised to expand educational freedom.

About a dozen other state legislatures have introduced bills to create new ESA programs, and several want to expand the ones they have. In Florida a Republican proposal would extend the state’s already robust scholarship programs to any student in the state. The bill would remove income limits that are currently in place for families who want to apply, though lower-income applicants would receive priority. …South Carolina legislators are mulling a new ESA program for lower-income students. In Indiana, a Senate bill would make state ESAs available to more students. An Ohio bill would remove an income cap and other eligibility rules for the state’s school vouchers. Two Oklahoma Senate bills propose new ESA programs… ESA bills are in some stage of moving in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

Let’s hope there is more progress.

School choice is a win-win for both students and taxpayers.

P.S. Here’s a must-see chart showing how more and more money for the government school monopoly has produced zero benefit.

P.P.S. There are very successful school choice systems in CanadaSwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

P.P.P.S. Getting rid of the Department of Education would be a good idea, but the battle for school choice is largely going to be won and lost on the state and local level.

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions

Published on Sep 4, 2012 by

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

“The Machine” is 4:17 minutes.

Written and narrated by Evan Coyne Maloney. Produced by the Moving Picture Institute in partnership with Reason TV.

Visit http://www.MovingPictureInstitute.org to learn more.

No one did more to advance the cause of school vouchers than Milton and Rose Friedman. Friedman made it clear in his film series “Free to Choose” how sad he was that young people who live in the inner cities did not have good education opportunities available to them.

I have posted often about the voucher system and how it would solve our education problems. What we are doing now is not working. Milton Friedman’s idea of implementing school vouchers was hatched about 50 years ago.

Poor families are most affected by this lack of choice. As Friedman noted, “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.” It is a sad statement quantified by data on low levels of academic achievement and attainment. Take a look at this article below.

Lindsey Burke

September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

SAT scores among the nation’s test-takers are at a 40-year low.

As The Washington Post reports:

Reading scores on the SAT for the high school class of 2012 reached a four-decade low, putting a punctuation mark on a gradual decline in the ability of college-bound teens to read passages and answer questions about sentence structure, vocabulary and meaning on the college entrance exam.

The decline over the decades has been significant. The average reading (verbal) score is down 34 points since 1972. Sadly, the historically low SAT scores are only the latest marker of decline. Graduation rates have been stagnant since the 1970s, reading and math achievement has been virtually flat over the same time period, and American students still rank in the middle of the pack compared to their international peers.

On the heels of the news about the SAT score decline, President Obama filmed a segment with NBC’s Education Nation earlier today. The President notably praised the concept of charter schools and pay for performance for teachers.

But those grains of reform were dwarfed by his support of the status quo. During the course of the interview, President Obama suggested hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers and spending more money on preschool. He also stated that No Child Left Behind had good intentions but was “under-resourced.”

Efforts by the federal government to intervene in preschool, most notably through Head Start, have failed—despite a $160 billion in spending on the program since 1965. And No Child Left Behind is far from “under-resourced.” The $25 billion, 600-page law has been on the receiving end of significant new spending every decade since the original law was first passed nearly half a century ago.

President Obama was also pressed on the issue of education unions by host Savannah Guthrie:

Some people think, President Obama gets so much support from the teachers’ unions, he can’t possibly have an honest conversation about what they’re doing right or wrong. Can you really say that teachers’ unions aren’t slowing the pace of reform?

President Obama responded: “You know, I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform.”

Criticizing education unions for standing in the way of reform should not be conflated with criticizing teachers, as the President does in the interview. The unions have blocked reforms such as performance pay and charter schools (which the President supports), have opposed alternative teacher certification that would help mid-career professionals enter the classroom, and have consistently fought the implementation of school choice options for children.

If we ever hope to move the needle on student achievement—or see SAT scores turn in the right direction again—we’ll need to implement many of those exact reforms, particularly school choice.

And as he has in the past, President Obama stated that his Administration wants to “use evidenced-based approaches and find out what works.” We know what works: giving families choices when it comes to finding schools that best meet their children’s needs. Instead of continuing to call for more spending and more Washington intervention in education, let’s try something new: choice and freedom.

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