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  • Haeun Kwon

Visit for CATO Institute for a seminar on Education and Democracy

A seminar was held by the CATO Institute regarding education and democracy. It took place at the Hayek Auditorium, CATO Institute on 26 July 2017 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. APPA UN Intern, Haeun Kwon, attended this seminar; the following is written by her.

<Visit for CATO Institute for a seminar on Education and Democracy>

July 26, 2017

On July 26, 2017, as an APPA Intern, I participated in a seminar called “School Choice and Democracy: Friends or Foes” at CATO Institute. The seminar was about the private voucher, which is a certificate of government funding on private schooling to ensure school choice for those with low-income, and its impacts on democracy. Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow in the Century Foundation believed that school choice and democracy are foes. He said that new study in Louisiana showed students going backwards with private voucher program because of religious discrimination engaged in private schools. He believed that public school education with its implicit curriculum could enforce democracy.

I was surprised by the fact that the mission for most private schools is religion, and I agree with Kahelenberg’s opinion that religious perspective can destroy democracy. The definition of democracy is not limited to the rule defined by majority, but also concepts ensuring equality for all people. I agreed that religious discrimination in private school can be a problem, but I could not agree with his conclusion that public schools are better, while private schools are bad. A professor from George Mason University asked a similar question about the benefits of “homogenous top-down standardized system.” The homogenous system refers to public schooling. Kahelenberg answered that more experiments in public schools are necessary. Also, DeAngelis, Policy Analyst in Cato Institute challenged the validation of Louisiana study Kahelenberg addressed by saying that the study was conducted in highly regulated situation because of assumption that low income families are not able to make rational decision. Although there was dispute on the justification for private school voucher and its impact on democracy, it was worth thinking about the issue and the seminar granted me a new perspective on education.

APPA UN NGO Intern Haeun Kwon (Yonsei University)

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