With all of the recent debate about school voucher proposals, we decided to reprint this January 1997 New York Times column by Al Shanker in which he discusses inconsistencies in many conservatives' position on vouchers.
\We are used to seeing conservatives go all out in support of vouchers. But what about a conservative who argues against providing public money to send students to religious and other private schools? Timothy Lamer, whose op-ed piece, "A Conservative Case Against School Choice," recently appeared in the Washington Post (November 6, 1996), is such a novelty. Lamer thinks that conservatives who push for vouchers are ignoring or distorting their principles. He intends his article as a wake-up call to conservatives, but it should suggest to members of the public generally that there is something fishy about the conservative crusade for vouchers. How come conservatives are pushing something so alien to their usual point of view?
Here are some voucher arguments advanced by push-for-vouchers conservatives that go against the conservative grain: