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Did ‘Food Choice’ Produce Segregated Supermarkets?

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Henry Lessner claims that “school choice in Texas will benefit no one except those who already pay for private school. Moving to public funding of private schools will also tend to resegregate society” (Letters, May 30).

Wrong on both counts. With school choice, even if not a single child from poor- and middle-income families ends up being enrolled in private schools, the enhanced potential of such enrollment created by school choice will incite government schools to improve the quality of the schooling they offer to their pupils. As for Mr. Lessner’s assertion that school choice will “resegregate society,” I recommend that he survey his local grocery-store scene. He’ll find there no evidence that the ‘food choice’ made possible for poor people by food stamps – which are vouchers to spend government money on food sold by private companies – has resulted in segregated grocery stores. Why would school choice produce a different outcome for schooling?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030