NYT reports Democrats Limit Future Financing for Washington Voucher Program: “Congressional Democrats have put conditions on future federal financing for a small school voucher program here, and they are urging the schools chancellor to prepare the public schools to re-enroll, in fall 2010, some 1,700 students currently attending private schools at taxpayer expense.” It’s a battle that voucher students, parents and supporters seem to have to fight every year at the budget time.

It would be interesting to see how Michelle Rhee, the school chancellor, responds. “Part of my job is to make sure that all kids get a great education, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s in charter, parochial or public schools,” Ms. Rhee said. “I don’t think vouchers are going to solve all the ills of public education, but parents who are zoned to schools that are failing kids should have options to do better by their kids.”

However, given the general decline in support for vouchers, US is more likely to move towards charter schools.  I have always felt that India has the need and the opportunity for vouchers on a large scale and could become a catalyst for school choice among developing countries. The vested interests in large developed countries are unlikely to allow any radical changes in the system. Would India show the way?

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.

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Parth Shah

Parth J Shah is founder president of Centre for Civil Society, a think tank that promotes choice and accountability across public and private sectors. He is co-founder and Director of Indian School of Public Policy. Parth’s research and advocacy work focuses on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach to the environment and new public governance. He recently edited Liberalism in India.