Cover image for The politics of school choice
The politics of school choice
Morken, Hubert.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
vii, 337 pages ; 24 cm
The federal government, the courts, and school choice -- Elections and legislation: Colorado and California -- Consensus building: Michigan and Pennsylvania -- Entrepreneurial strategies -- Religious strategies: Catholics and Evangelicals -- African-American strategies -- Scholars, activists, and advocacy -- Trends and analyses.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB1027.9 .M68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Politics of School Choice is the first comprehensive examination of diverse efforts to promote tax credits, public vouchers, private scholarships, and charter schools. Morken and Formicola provide the most current national report on the burgeoning American school choice movement. They analyze the strategies and tactics being used by a wide variety of individuals and organizations to leverage change, pass laws, win court cases, and mobilize community support to build successful, winning, school choice coalitions. Based largely on extensive interviews, documentary research, and surveys, this book covers the spectrum of school choice options and shows how they are being promoted in the United States today. It explains who the players are, what types of programs they endorse, and the various rationales behind them. The authors report the views of the entrepreneurs, religious leaders, heads of think tanks and foundations, public litigators, scholars, activists, minority leaders, and politicians who are in the forefront of providing parents with resources for educational alternatives. Finally, Morken and Formicola cover the strengths and weaknesses of the school choice issue, concluding that the movement has a wide ranging membership, that is uneven in its implementation, and that it is taking different forms in various regions of the country. As the pace of change accelerates and new school choice programs proliferate, this study is a critical resource for all those concerned about the present and future staus of American education.

Author Notes

Hubert Morken is professor of government at the Robertson School of Government at Regent University.
Jo Renee Formicola is associate professor of political science at Seton Hall University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A better title might be "A Field Manual for School Choice Activists." The authors purport to be objective, but their bias is evident. They portray the movement as a revolutionary struggle for change, headed by visionary leaders fighting against the odds. Their unstated goal is the political education of pro-choice partisans. This disingenuousness constitutes a serious flaw. However, even those opposed to choice (such as this reviewer) should read this book. Morken and Formicola's well-written and jargon-free study provides thoughtful analysis of how choice activists have used the multiple "pressure points" of the political system, including the courts, state legislatures, electoral politics, and the initiative process. They offer a politically sophisticated evaluation of the roles of various factions in the movement, such as business leaders, African-Americans, and the Christian right. They candidly discuss the significance of leadership, money, and scholarly research. In short, they provide an excellent overview of the difficulties of building a coalition of diverse groups in pursuit of a political goal. This book shows that an ideological bias--even a hidden one--is no obstacle to producing a useful study of American politics for anyone interested in the politics of education. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Engel; Westfield State College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 The Federal Government, the Courts, and School Choicep. 15
2 Elections and Legislation: Colorado and Californiap. 42
3 Consensus Building: Michigan and Pennsylvaniap. 73
4 Entrepreneurial Strategiesp. 118
5 Religious Strategies: Catholics and Evangelicalsp. 152
6 African-American Strategiesp. 199
7 Scholars, Activists, and Advocacyp. 228
8 Trends and Analysesp. 275
Conclusionp. 288
Appendix A Survey Questions and List of Respondentsp. 297
Appendix B Survey Tablesp. 301
Appendix C Internet Homepages with Information on School Choice Issuesp. 303
Appendix D Federal and State Education Agenciesp. 308
Bibliographyp. 315
Indexp. 325
About the Authorsp. 337