George McGovern on vouchers now — and then

NOW: From the book, What It Means to Be a Democrat, published this month by Blue Rider Press, former Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern writes:

Yes, I’m sure that some private academies offer students more one-on-one attention and perhaps more intellectual stimulation than the neighborhood public school. But that doesn’t change my strongly held view that public funds should be invested in public education. Especially now, with a growing array of public charter schools, parents have more choice than ever if they don’t like what they see at the traditional school down the street. But voucher programs that use public money to send kids to private school only divert money away from the overall goal of making U.S. public schools as robust as possible.

THEN: From the Sept. 20, 1972, Washington Post, “McGovern Pledges Support For Aid to Private Schools”:

CHICAGO, Sept. 19 — Sen. George McGovern, calling Roman Catholic schools a keystone of American education, pledged his support today of federal tax credits to help offset tuition costs at parochial and other “bona fide” private schools.

“We cannot abandon these schools and we will not,” the Democratic presidential candidate said here this morning before a bubbling crowd of Catholic high school students.

Without government help, he told them, their parents would lose the right to give their children an education in which spiritual and moral values play an important role.

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