Julian Vasquez Heilig is a scholar of education who is devoted to the advancement of equity. His pathbreaking work aims to strip away rhetoric and fake claims and to show which policies help or harm children of color. His blog, “Cloaking Inequity,” is always provocative.

In this post, he explains why vouchers were created: for profit and for segregation.

He is right. Vouchers and school choice intensify and facilitate segregation–by race, class, religion, and socioeconomic status.

In the Deep South, vouchers and school choice were the rallying cries of hardline segregationists (for more detail, read Mercedes Schneider’s fine new book, “School Choice.”

I was recently on an NPR show (Warren Olney’s “On Point), with a panel that included Emma Brown of the Washington Post, Randi Weingarten, and Matt Frendewey, a spokesman for Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children. Randi said that vouchers were originated in the South by segregationist politicians. The DeVos guy became furious and said that Randi was making it up., it wasn’t true, just union propaganda.


When I finally got my turn, I said that my field is the history of American education. I pointed out that the history of voucher advocacy was indisputable: it began with white segregationists trying to block desegregation.