Key Points:

  • American public and private school voucher programmes are reviewed and analysed here by renowned American education expect, Charles Glenn. Glenn 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 education.
  • The American civil rights movement was determined to ensure that African-Americans 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 an equal standard of education.
  • 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.
  • Simply ending racial discrimination is not enough to realise the goal of decent schooling for all. Creating more freedom of school choice by experimenting with school vouchers should be a fundamental element of educational reform.
Photo credit: NeONBRAND