For me the bottom line is this: it’s ironic that a program often touted as being good for education relies, first of all, on the economic ignorance of its "core" customer base (quick: what’s the expected value of a dollar "invested" in a lottery ticket, compared with a dollar put in an interest-bearing bank account?) and, second of all, on an attitude (wishfully thinking that one can get something for nothing) that is antithetical to the connection between hard work and self-discipline, on the one side, and reward, on the other that we’d presumably wish to cultivate.
To me, lotteries indicate a failure of political leadership: they’re a so-called "voluntary tax" imposed by legislatures unwilling or unable to make the case for spending more public money on education. What are they afraid of--that the voters can’t be persuaded that the public education as it’s currently constituted is less marketable than the exploitative "entertainment" of a scratch and lose (er, I mean scratch and win) ticket?
Vouchers and choice, he whispers.