V is for vouchers?

Most progressives I know are instinctively and emotionally against the idea of vouchers. In my case, I've long been opposed to vouchers -- for a few very specific reasons. Most of them are pretty well articulated here. All of the issues presented make sense to me, but this is the one I've been most concerned about:

A pure voucher system would only encourage economic, racial, ethnic, and religious stratification in our society. America’s success has been built on our ability to unify our diverse populations.

But I must not be too concerned about it because I took my daughter out of one of the best public school systems in the state (Chapel Hill) and put her in a Waldorf high school where there are seven kids in her entire grade. The difference has been transformative - mostly because of the approach to teaching they use, but also simply because of the small scale and intimacy.

What I want to know is this: Why isn't the public education establishment leading an effective charge for school reform? Why is it taking billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates to push the agenda?

And why do we have to have such huge damn schools?

If anyone knows anything about this, I'm all ears. I'm especially interested in knowing what are the alternatives to a "pure" voucher system, whatever that is.

A

PS I just want to get this off my chest. I HATE the word vouchers. Every time I write it I see the smarmy, smug faces of Bushbot theocrats trying to fund Christian schools with public dollars. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's faith-based anything.