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Ep. 59 Marsha Enright Warns That Vouchers Will Ruin Private Schools

Marsha Familaro Enright founded the Council Oak Montessori School in Chicago, and is currently the President of “The Great Connections,” a gap-year program for students also located in Chicago. She has written on how education would work in a free society, and she warns that government voucher programs may backfire and ruin what independence private schools still retain.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Martin Brock on 09/12/2019 at 5:02 PM

    The discussion of Montessori was very informative. I don’t see many advantages in a tuition tax credit over a voucher. Presumably, the tax credit would require me to account somehow for the amount I claim, so I’d still be required to spend the tuition on education approved by the state.

    Even most libertarians can’t escape the idea that education of the young should be free (as in beer) to the educated. In an ideally free (as in speech) society, I expect the educated to bear these costs. “How can we expect children to repay the cost of years of education?” This question simply ignores the fact that we’re all children, and we all pay taxes to educate the young now.

    That we bear the cost of educating the generation behind us, while our own education was free, is a self-serving fiction. The taxes we pay reflect the value of our education, not the value of the next generation’s education. When we acknowledge the fact that children themselves ultimately bear the cost of their own education, we see these costs in a new light. The cost is not a gift we give our children. It’s a burden we impose on them.

  2. BMS Episode 59 on 09/13/2019 at 7:04 PM

    […] was a fun and informative one. The guest, Marsha Enright, actually founded a Montessori school near Chicago when her daughter was […]

  3. John Thomas on 09/17/2019 at 6:47 PM

    Ideally, there would be complete separation of education and state, but since that is unlikely to happen, here is my proposal.

    I think the nationwide average of spending on education is about $18,000 per pupil per year. This is far too much. While there is no non-arbitrary way to say how much a state should spend on education, let’s go with a round number of $10,000, which would be significantly less than the state currently spends.

    I would propose that we close all public schools and create an educational savings account for each student. All educational spending would be deposited into those accounts. Parents can choose to spend this on education, or they can choose to keep it in the account for the student when they turn 18. (Or, a combination of the two, where they spend some on education, and keep some for the student for when they turn 18.)

    One of the reason vouchers or grants lead to increased costs, as we have seen with grants in post-secondary education, is because either you spend the money, or you lose the money. Giving an incentive for people not to spend the money, or to only spend a portion of the money, would not lead to the explosion of costs that was mentioned in the episode.

    There would still be a concern that the state would want to define what is and is not education. “Society” wouldn’t want someone who has two kids to have access to $20,000 educational savings accounts, and spend that $20,000 on crack, and say it was for education. We naturally assume that the state would then define what a school is. However, this need not be the case. If the $20,000 either goes toward the child’s education, or it goes to the child when they turn 18, the child themselves would have a grievance defined in clear monetary terms, against misuse of the funds. So, rather than a government agency determining if something is really a school, a child whose money was spent recklessly could file a law suit, and it could be adjudicated the same way as other issues of fraud.

    This would also help with the issue of students being in school who should not be in school. There are some people who do not get benefit out of their education. In fact, going to school causes them frustration. We recognize that people who do not get an education will earn significantly less. However, if they have a nest egg of $50,000 plus interest when they turn 18, because they dropped out of school in the 8th grade, they will have a way to offset their lower earning power, and the state wouldn’t be paying to educate someone who isn’t getting the benefit anyway.

    I don’t know if this aspect will work or not, but I have theorized that the state could fund the first group of $10,000 grants by selling off all school assets to the highest bidders. Then from there, they could say that anyone who accepts the $10,000 agrees to be subject to school taxes for the rest of their life, and those who refuse it, will not be subject to school taxes. This will sort of lead to this taxation being not as much of a theft as other forms of taxation.

  4. […] Enright also describes her work towards creating optimal higher education using the Montessori philosophy, through The Great Connections Seminars. Listen to the discussion on Murphy’s podcast, The Bob Murphy Show here. […]

  5. Daniel Herkenhoff on 12/12/2019 at 11:21 PM

    Is the podCast file missing, or am I missing something?

    • Robert Murphy on 12/14/2019 at 2:33 AM

      Sorry they were updating the software for the website and it causes a temporary glitch. It should work now if you refresh the page.

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