17th March 2020

Dr Ursula Hackett to publish ‘America’s Voucher Politics’


A new book by Exeter College alumna Dr Ursula Hackett (2006, Politics) will be published shortly. America’s Voucher Politics: How Elites Learned to Hide the State will be published by Cambridge University Press in April.

What explains the explosive growth of school vouchers in America in the last two decades? In America’s Voucher Politics, Dr Hackett shows that the voucher movement is rooted 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 interviews, Dr 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. For over sixty years of voucher litigation, white supremacists, accommodationists, and individualists have deployed 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 despite the surging power of rivals. An ideal case study, education policy reflects multiple axes of conflict in American politics and demonstrates how policy learning unfolds over time.

Dr Hackett is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her Oxford doctorate won the Political Studies Association’s Sir Walter Bagehot Prize in Government and Public Administration. She researches religion, race, public policy, and American Political Development, and speaks on American politics regularly at Chatham House and the UK Foreign Office.

To pre-order a copy of America’s Voucher Politics click here. Exonians can receive a 20% discount on the purchase price of the book by using the discount code ‘HACKETT20’.

America's Voucher Politics by Ursula Hackett book cover

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