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In the News: America's Schools, Rick Perry Gets in the Race for President

6/7/2015  articles

Fixing America’s Schools

This week we focus on school districts allowing choice of schools to receive tuition vouchers.

The Washington Post, June 4, 2015 page 1 head line reads: “School choice is put to the test in Nevada. Under a new law any student can get a voucher to pay for private tuition.”

The state’s GOP controlled legislature passed with help from the education foundation created by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who just happens to be seeking the presidency in the 2016 election.

But wait! The opposition to this legislation is comprised of Democrats, powerful teachers unions, public school superintendents and other statists, saying the Nevada law to provide private school vouchers is the first step toward dismantling the nation’s public schools.

Lawmakers in Georgia, Iowa and Rhode Island considered such legislation this year. Although some school systems have permitted the money to pay for students attending private schools must limit the payments to students with disabilities or to those from low-income families.

Nevada’s law is singular because all of the state’s 450,000 K-12 public school children—regardless of income—are eligible to take the money to whatever school they choose.

“It’s just a huge victory for the children of Nevada and of us who have been working on this for so many years,” said Robert Enlow, chief executive of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, an advocacy group dedicated to the principles of free marketer Milton Friedman. “What this will do is continue to spread ripples across the country. . . .This bill shows that you can actually politically get it done.”

In January, Republicans took control of the Nevada legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1929, generating the political momentum to enact the country’s most expansive voucher plan.

School choice is primed to become a top education issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, as several would-be declared GOP candidates, including Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) seek to spread school choice and vouchers.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has long been opposed, saying vouchers siphon away scarce dollars from public schools.

Aurora Espinoza, a single mother who works as a solar panel sales representative, said her children’s current public schools—which are among the nation’s fastest growing—are so crowded that it’s hard for them to learn. She plans to enroll her daughters in private school next year, but she isn’t sure where, nor whether tax dollars will cover the best for them,” she said.

Nobody can fix the sorry mess in which American public school education finds itself. It’s up to the next president to lead the way. The winning candidate just can’t talk about our education problem, but he or she must take command of the battle.

Rick Perry: A Leader to Consider in 2016

Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and a candidate for president, correctly says, “Leadership is not a speech on the Senate floor. It’s not what you say. It’s what you do.” Great advice. Take it.


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