Key Points:

  • In a comprehensive review of American public and private school voucher programmes, Charles Glenn analyses their outcomes, and argues that South Africa should experiment with school vouchers as a means of expanding access to quality education for the poor.
  • For African-Americans, a central element of the struggle against racial oppression was the struggle over public – South Africans would say ‘government’ – education.
  • The American civil rights movement was determined to ensure that AfricanAmericans would have the right to attend all schools within the public system.
  • They were equally determined to see that every school in the public system received equitable funding and offered, as nearly as possible, an equal standard of education.
  • But since the 1970s it has become clear that ensuring that schools cannot discriminate on racial grounds and that all public schools are equitably funded does not mean that members of disadvantaged groups, such as poor African-Americans living in inner cities, will have access to good schools.
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