state budget problems and educational reform
I think it's still too soon. But it will be interesting to see if this round of state budget problems (across the nation) will lead to substantive education reform.
The government's monopoly provision of elementary and secondary education is troubling on many levels. But one issue is the high costs/inefficiency you would expect from a government monopoly with the usual array of bureaucracy, red tape, regulations, and budget-maximizing behavior. (For example, if we only save 10% of the $400 billion we pay for education, we'd save $40 billion-- or $520 per family of four.)
The largest outlay in state budgets is for education. And if the constraints get too tight, they might reach for choice and vouchers as a cost-saving maneuver. There have been rumbles of this at the county-level, but with state budget woes, the pace may pick up for reform.
Unless you're a supplier within the education monopoly, one can hold out hope...