This is Part II in Gerard Robinson’s series on “Vouchers and the Masters of Invention”
Let’s begin with the basics.
A voucher is not a house or a housing project. A voucher is neither a food product nor a school. A voucher is a legal tender of payment. All three voucher programs described in Part I in this series utilize taxpayer dollars distributed by the government as a medium for purchasing a product.
Some caution is needed, however, in comparing housing, food, and education vouchers. Although there rarely is debate, as previously shown, about how housing and food assistance is provided—via vouchers—there is often disagreement in this country on the merits of those programs.
A decade from now, millions of adults will be unable to own a home, to afford healthier food, or to earn a postsecondary degree or credential because of the poor education they receive today.
To the contrary, there is little debate on the merits of requiring students be educated, which rightfully is seen as a good for all of society. The controversy arises over how students should be educated, which brings us back to education, HUD, and WIC.
HUD and WIC supporters should value vouchers because they clearly agree with the freedom of choice HUD and WIC provides dependents, i.e., low-income families. Those opposed to HUD and WIC should support giving parents the freedom of choice to find a better education for their children because it would make them less dependent on welfare programs like HUD and WIC.
A decade from now, millions of adults will be unable to own a home, to afford healthier food, or to earn a postsecondary degree or credential because of the poor education they receive today. Right now, those adults are children, and they need the freedom to choose a better education today—not with the “scary” type of voucher invented by opponents to make the public believe the American way of life is on a fast track to extinction. I am talking about an education voucher to invent new possibilities.
We are the masters of our fate. The life we give to words is our instrument. By interpreting a voucher through this lens, we gain the upper hand in meaning making. We also create a template for a future free from fear about living in a Republic saddled by perpetual handouts because this generation freely chose to give families in need the freedom of choice.