America's Voucher Politics: How Elites Learned to Hide the State

Research output: Book/ReportBook


What explains the explosive growth of school vouchers in the last two decades? In America’s Voucher Politics, Ursula Hackett shows that the roots of the voucher movement lie in America’s foundational struggles over religion, race, and the role of government versus the private sector. Drawing upon original datasets, archival materials, and more than one hundred candid interviews with policymakers across the United States, Hackett shows that policymakers and political advocates use strategic policy design and rhetoric to hide the role of the state when their policy goals become legally controversial. Patiently, tactically, iteratively – over more than sixty years of voucher litigation – white supremacists, accommodationists, and individualists have honed this strategy of attenuated governance in court. By learning from previous mistakes and anticipating downstream effects, policymakers can avoid painful defeats, gain a secure legal footing, and entrench their policy commitments in spite of the surging power of rivals.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages304
ISBN (Electronic)9781108868594
ISBN (Print)9781108491419
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2020

Cite this