chapter  24
Choice
ByJoel Spring
Pages 7

The word choice in education conjures up visions of democracy and freedom-loving parents happily selecting from many educational alternatives. Austrian economics is the best place to begin understanding the changing meaning of choice in education. For Milton Friedman, choice was a means of correcting the inequalities caused by the existence of rich and poor school districts. Based on the arguments, Milwaukee and Cleveland initiated voucher plans to provide children from the low-income families the choice of attending private schools. In the 1970s, Austrian economists and their political counterparts, Libertarians, rushed to support Christian fundamentalists, who demanded having the choice at public expense to send their children to private, Christian academics. Interestingly, the Christian Coalition would like to impose its own brand of uniformity on the schools. Therefore, the Christian Coalition, conservatives, and the New Democrats have made choice an antidemocratic movement in education.