Posts

Milton Friedman on America’s Haves and Have-nots

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman talks about the state of inequality in America, what he calls a system of haves and have-nots. Learn more about Milton Friedman, school choice, and his legacy the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice at http://www.edchoice.org.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/yEQl3zW9NZ4[/youtube]

Friedman Foundation ranks America’s School Choice programs

Paul DiPerna, Research Director, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and the Friedman Foundation team have ranked every U.S. school choice program based on eligibility and purchasing power in conjunction with today’s release of the 2014 edition of The ABCs of School Choice.

Which types of school choice programs offer the broadest eligibility for students and greatest financial flexibility for families? Choose your favorite color below to access the matched rankings. We’d be interested to know what you think of our new publication.

2014 ABCs BLUE 2014 ABCs GREEN 2014 ABCs YELLOW 2014 ABCs ORANGE 2014 ABCs PINK

Support for School Choice Based on Political Affiliation and Race/Ethnicity

In a new Friedman Foundation report, Dr. Dick Carpenter writes, “I used survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) to examine several specific questions about public opinion and school choice.”

  1. Is there a significant difference in support for choice based on reasons for school choice? (“Reasons” were defined as increasing equality, introducing competition, or facilitating freedom.)
  2. Is there a significant difference in levels of agreement with reasons for school choice?
  3. Which type of choice enjoys the strongest support?
  4. How does a policy of school choice compare to other reform initiatives in their perceived efficacy for school improvement?

Noticeably absent is a type of question frequently addressed in other school choice survey research: Are there differences in support for choice (specifically vouchers) based on personal characteristics like political party affiliation or race/ethnicity?

The absence of this type of question was entirely intentional. There are numerous fine survey studies done on a regular basis that report just this information. What use is one more?

But curiosity being what it is, I peeked into the data to see if there were, in fact, any such differences, beginning with political party (Democrat, Independent, and Republican). Our survey in the CCES had not one but four different questions related to vouchers.

The first question asked about vouchers as a form of school improvement or reform. Republicans were more likely than Independents to think vouchers would be effective as a form of improving education, and Independents were more likely than Democrats to think so. All comparisons were statistically significant.

The second question asked about support for “universal” vouchers available to all families. The results were similar to the question above, although there was no significant difference between Democrats and Independents.

The third question asked about support for vouchers only for children from low-income households (i.e., “means-tested” vouchers). Here, support was reversed, with Democrats showing the most support, followed by Independents and then Republicans. Only the difference between Republicans and Democrats was significant.

The fourth question asked about support for vouchers only for children with special needs. The support levels were similar in pattern to the means-tested voucher results, but the differences between the three groups were not statistically significant.

Turning to race/ethnicity, subjects were identified as black, Hispanic, white, and “other,” the latter of which included groups such as Asian and Pacific Islander whose numbers were too small to analyze separately.

For the first question (voucher as reform), Hispanics showed the greatest agreement, followed by “other,” whites, and then blacks. None of the differences between groups were statistically significant.

On the second question—universal vouchers—the greatest support was among blacks, followed by “other,” whites, and then Hispanics. Again, none of the differences was significant.

On the third question, means-tested vouchers, “other” showed the greatest support, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, and then whites. Only the differences between whites and blacks and whites and “other” were significant.

Finally, for the fourth question (vouchers for children with special needs), “other” showed the greatest support, followed by blacks, Hispanics, and then whites. None of these comparisons was significant, however.

Sometimes simple curiosity can lead to new and interesting discoveries, and other times not so much. Anyone who pays even mild attention to politics could have predicted differences in support for vouchers based on political party affiliation. But the lack of significant differences based on race/ethnicity contrast with prior survey work that has found significant differences.

These are, of course, simple analyses. A more sophisticated approach might find significance where at first glance there appears to be none. Curiosity being what it is, future research might do just that.

ABOUT DR. DICK CARPENTER

Dr. Carpenter is a professor of leadership, research, and foundations at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and a director of strategic research at the Institute for Justice.

Happy Birthday Milton Friedman, a classy and classical liberal!

In 1962 Milton Friedman, with his wife Rose, wrote Capitalism and Freedom.  The book was rejected by both academia and the media. The ideas in “Capitalism and Freedom” were vindicated in 1980 when the Friedmans published Free to  Choose.

As Friedman wrote in his 2002 preface to Capitalism and Freedom, “I documented  a dramatic shift in the climate of opinion”. That climatic shift was “[P]artly because the role of government was exploding under the influence of [the] initial welfare state and Keynesian views … That change in the climate had its effect. It paved the way for the election of Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States.”

Friedman wrote that Thatcher and Reagan, “Were able to curb Leviathan, though not to cut it down.”

Friedman was a liberal in the classical sense. In the introduction to Capitalism and Freedom he wrote, “It is extremely convenient to have a label for the political and economic viewpoint elaborated in this book. The rightful and proper label is liberalism. Unfortunately, ‘As a supreme, if unintended compliment, the enemies of the system of private enterprise have thought it wise to appropriate its label’, so that liberalism has, in the United States, come to have a very different meaning than it did in the nineteenth century or does today over much of the Continent of Europe.”

According to Friedman, “[T]he intellectual movement that went under the name of liberalism emphasized freedom as the ultimate goal and the individual as the ultimate entity in the society.”

The only thing in Capitalism and Freedom that Friedman said he would change is, “[I]t would be to replace the dichotomy of economic freedom and political freedom with the trichotomy of economic freedom, civil freedom, and political freedom.”

Friedman wrote, “Government can never duplicate the variety and diversity of individual action.” How prophetic given today’s events.

Milton and Rose Friedman created a foundation that lives on to further their ideal of “competitive capitalism.”

The worldwide celebration to remember Milton Friedman, founder of the Friedman Foundation along with his wife, Rose, to advance school choice. “Friedman Legacy Day” is held every July 31, Milton Friedman’s birthday.

This year, the Friedman Foundation is marking Friedman’s 101st birthday with the slogan “Milton 101.”

Although Friedman is credited with popularizing tax reform, prompting the development of an all-volunteer armed forces, and highlighting the importance of monetary policy as it relates to inflation, he and his wife wanted their legacy attached to school choice. In 1955, Milton’s essay titled “The Role of Government in Education” first established the voucher idea, encouraging public education funds to follow students to the schools of their parents’ choice.

Today, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have implemented some form of Milton Friedman’s school choice idea.

A list of “Friedman Legacy Day” events can be found at edchoice.org.