Shout Outs for School Choice

Posted on December 24, 2007 In Blog

Last week saw two interesting blows to the tired old mantra that school choice is a vast right wing conspiracy.

Adam Schaeffer, the education affairs guru at Cato, writes up tax credits, and in particular, a recent Illinois poll showing broad, bi-partisan support for school choice. We’ve written often here of the need to expand such tax credit programs. They are fully constitutional – the Courts – including the nation’s top one across from the Capitol have repeatedly ruled thus. And they are popular programs in political bellweather states like Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania – and now apparently Illinois. Schaeffer remarks, as we often have that the leading Democrats across the country – and left leaning ones at that – from Newark’s Mayor Booker to New York’s Governor Spitzer, Arizona’s Governor Napolitano, and more support credits and have pushed them.

But Schaeffer, from Cato, is not new to this fight. What really caught our attention was Sara Mead’s column at the UK Guardian. She’s a former Gore 2000 staffer, so we did a double take seeing her write “The Republican presidential candidates seem to have … chickened out on their previous support for school choice, leaving them without a compelling vision to offer on education. That’s unfortunate, because our education policy is better when both parties have meaningful reform visions that generate serious public debate over education.” And “Even libertarian Ron Paul, who should be more aggressive than anyone on school choice, proposes only a $5,000 tax credit for parents who homeschool or send their children to private schools. That’s more modest than the education tax credit proposals that leading libertarian think tanks espouse, and that have been enacted in many states. And it would do nothing for poor kids who most need education options.”

Indeed. We don’t get more nonpartisan than this. On top of the recent visit to a NYC charter school by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D, SC 6th), the House Majority Whip, and his op-ed urging South Carolina to take the lead in school choice, it’s getting to be a wonder school choice opponents can even make these claims anymore.

And here’s just a bonus quote from the new DC schools chief, Michelle Rhee “I would never, as long as I am in this role, do anything to limit another parent’s ability to make a choice for their child. Ever.”

Well said.