Some of us have been wondering where Rudy Giuliani was planning on getting the manpower to staff his foreign policy of endless war. It turns out that the plan is school vouchers:
Rudy proposes establishing a pilot program to offer scholarships to children of all active-duty military personnel living on or off base to attend private schools or to pay for the costs of attending public schools to which they are not assigned. This is a critical concern for America’s military families because it affects reenlistment decisions.
This is a bit bizarre, since America’s military base schools are really good and the recruiting issues in the military are clearly driven in the first instance by the prospect of arduous service in a futile war rather than by these kinds of considerations. But what you have here is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. As Kate Sheppard points out, Giuliani’s “all choice, all the time” education policy initiatives say nothing whatsoever about the vast majority of children who are going to be in traditional public schools come what may.
The problem here is that vouchers are the only solution Rudy has to sell, but there’s really very little the federal government can do to induce towns and cities around the country to privatize their school systems. Giuliani could take the path of conservative purity and just argue that the federal government should withdraw from education policy entirely, but he doesn’t want to say that. So instead, he’s looking around for things the federal government can voucherize. And one of the main things he came up with was military schools. So who cares if this is a bad idea; it shows his commitment to conservative orthodoxy, and that’s the important thing.