It would have been nice to see the experiment play out.
Voucher opponent Rep. Sheryl Allen said, “It [improving education] goes beyond choice.” But choice lights the fire under school administrators to imitate successful practices.
In New York, Michael Bloomberg is trying to design competition into the existing public school system (article in the Economist). But, as the Economist points out, what happens if his successor decides to do something else or is less competent? A law creating vouchers might be more durable than a good mayor.
I wonder if these same Utahns who voted against vouchers would refuse to use them, had this law passed. If a parent who voted anti-choice were in a situation where, for one reason or another, they would prefer to send their kid to a private school rather than the local public school (given the reduced cost of the private school due to the voucher), would they piously refuse to take the state’s money? Of course, this is not the same question that voters consider. Voters not only decide whether each of them, personally, can take advantage of vouchers but also whether everyone else in the state has that option. So, maybe you would use a voucher if it were available but say no if you could prevent everyone else from having that choice, too.
So I guess my real complaint is that voters are wrong to think that a system of vouchers would not improve education. Applying Caplan’s framework, maybe if the cost to a voter of being wrong about vouchers were something greater than (practically) zero, more of them would agree with me.