Kevin Carey is the director of education research at the New America Foundation in D.C., a think tank funded by tech magnates.

He writes in the New York Times that researchers are reacting with surprise at the “dismal results” from vouchers.

I am not sure why this is news, because vouchers have been tried out since 1990 in Milwaukee and elsewhere and have been subject to numerous evaluations, almost all of which have reached the same conclusion: vouchers don’t have a significant effect on test scores.

This conclusion has been reported again and again over the past 25 years.

It doesn’t seem to have much effect on the pro-voucher crowd, who have been promising since 1955 (when economist Milton Friedman published his seminal essay about vouchers) that school choice would have dramatic positive effects. Back in 1990, John Chubb and Terry Moe predicted in their book “Politics, Markets, and Schools” that school choice was a “panacea,” and that the problem with schools is that they are democratically controlled. Take away the democratic governance, and all will go well, they said.

Anyone who looks at the many evaluations of the voucher programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, D.C., Indiana, and Louisiana has to search hard for any positive news.

Still, it is good to see this research consensus publicly acknowledged in the New York Times.

Carey is part of the neoliberal Democratic consensus in the D.C. think tank world that favors charters, but not vouchers. So he takes care to say that charters in Massachusetts produce higher test scores than public schools, although he does not note the vote last November in which the people of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly not to expand the number of charter schools. (He did mention it in his article in the Times last November, when he assured readers that DeVos could not possibly privatize public schools.) Nor does he make any reference to the numerous financial scandals associated with charters schools, nor to their frequent practice of excluding children with special needs and English language learners, nor to the fiscal burden they impose on public schools by draining away resources from them.

Carey is still trying to salvage the charter idea–which DeVos embraces wholeheartedly–from Trump’s wrecking ball approach to public education. The difficulty is that phony reformers like DeVos can use charters to destroy public education as easily as they can use vouchers. Michigan, after all, is a paradise for school choice, as is Florida, and neither has the sort of voucher program that DeVos prefers. They are hotbeds of rapacious, for-profit charter operators.

Neoliberals are caught on the horns of a dilemma. They think they can advance their kind of school choice (charters) while resisting going “all the way” with vouchers. But once you say that school choice is good, it is very tough to draw a line in the sand against vouchers. It is like being just a little bit pregnant. School choice produces community dissension and segregation. Its true forebears are not Milton Friedman but the racist leaders of the South after the Brown decision.

Full disclosure: Carey wrote an unfriendly article about me in The New Republic (referenced in his Wikipedia listing) in 2011. He sought to belittle my scholarship and credentials, although I had just been awarded the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award by the American Academy of Political and Social Science for scholarship in the interest of the public good. That was Carey’s way of defending charters at that time, which was then and remains the favorite idea of the neoliberal consensus in DC. The neoliberals are still trying to save charters from their embrace by DeVos and Trump.

All that is past. I forgive him. I look forward to the day that Carey examines the charter scandals in Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and considers what they are doing to the public schools that are defunded by charters. The majority of students still go to public schools, not charter schools, and they have fewer resources as a result of a dual system. If deregulation makes schools better, why not deregulate them all?

But all that aside, I am pleased to see him skewer vouchers, which have failed again and again and again. They don’t help poor kids; they are all about diverting taxpayer monies to nonpublic schools. The majority of the public has consistently said that they don’t want their taxes to fund religious schools. Regardless of the religious school, taxpayers say no. Whenever there is a referendum, they vote against vouchers. But that doesn’t stop DeVos or her allies.