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Vouchers: another casualty in the war on terror

Reader comment on item: A Madrasa Grows in Brooklyn

Submitted by Stuart Fagin (United States), Apr 24, 2007 at 23:31

The creation of the Khalil Gibran International Academy exposes a new (i.e., post 9-11) flaw in what is an otherwise transforming idea in public education; the use of vouchers to facilitate publicly-funded, but privately-run education. Potentially, a voucher system could be to publicly-run education what the Internet is to the post office.

Unfortunately, the Khalil Gibran International Academy shows that a voucher system can, and almost certainly will, be exploited to further the Islamist cause. In essence, public funds will be used to create madrassahs that outwardly pretend to have the same goals as traditional public schools. Indeed, I believe Pipes has cited a prior example in Florida where vouchers have been used to such a way (perhaps someone can find the reference).

In theory, a voucher system can require the carrying out of due diligence, by pubic school agencies, to ensure that voucher funds are not so misused. In practice, the success of Islamist organizations (for example, CAIR) in securing the good graces of government institutions (for example, the FBI) indicates that such due diligence is beyond the capacity of government agencies.

Senator Hillary Clinton has made the same argument here, and, as an ex-New Yorker, it pains me to say she has a point. Though vouchers are a terrific idea, particularly for inner cities, I believe their implementation must be suspended until the public achieves a better understanding of the Islamist threat, and a better ability to identify its actors. Chalk it up as another casualty in the war on terror.

Submitting....

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