Let’s get our kids and our schools out of the culture and political wars.
Should 4 + 4 = 8 have a political spin? Or the spelling of cat? Or the ability to read?
But vouchers and charter schools have become politically sensitive terms that trigger intense emotions on both sides of the political divide.
Arguing about vouchers and charter schools is arguing about the wrong thing.
Vouchers and charter schools aren’t magic potions that will solve the problems with our nation’s schools.
They aren’t poison pills that will destroy public schools, either.
Vouchers and charter schools simply reflect the desire by a growing number of parents for choices when it comes to deciding where to send their kids to school.
I created End The Education Plantation last year with the goal of putting parents in charge of their children’s education by putting them in charge of the money used to educate them.
I’m not an advocate of charter schools or vouchers or public schools. I’m not opposed to any of them, either. I’m for giving parents choices and for getting better results than we are today when it comes to educating our children — rich, poor or in the middle.
We propose a federal law requiring states to fund parents, not school districts. We don’t want to dictate how the states implement this, just that they do it. And we would set a floor of at least 95 percent of the total per-pupil spending by each state or school district that would be controlled by parents.
Some parents already have choices, of course. We’ve had private and parochial schools for generations. But many parents don’t have choices. Or they want more choices than the ones available to them.
I’m on the side of those parents.
Most parents aren’t classroom experts. But they know what’s good for their kids. Giving parents control over the money spent to educate their kids will turn them into consumers in a competitive marketplace. They’ll be able to choose where their kids go to school.
That will force schools to compete for their business. And that will force schools — public, private, charter or something else — to improve or go out of business.
Let’s quit arguing about vouchers and charter schools. Let’s put parents in charge, give them choices and let them decide which school they believe will do the best job of educating their children.
Henry Ford once said “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Look around next time you’re out on the highway. People who buy cars are choosing more colors than the one offered to them by Mr. Ford back in the days of the Model T.
It’s time to do the same with our schools.