Romney is Right,Time to Parentize Not Privatize Education through School Choice
It is time to move beyond rhetoric and enact true educational Reform in the United States.
Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don't meet their needs. And for too long, we've merely talked about the virtues of school choice. As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.
Time to parentize education
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On May 23, 3012, Mitt Romney outlined his educational policy plans in a speech he gave in Washington, DC to the Latino Coalition. The speech was based upon a larger policy statement contained in a white paper which explains the reforms entitled "A Chance for Every Child" which can be read in its entirety here. It is a substantive proposal which should be read by anyone concerned about educational reform. It features an introduction by Governor Jeb Bush.
Romney told the Latino leaders gathered for an economic summit, "I'll be blunt, I don't like the direction of American education and, as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land." He said that many students in the United States receive a "third world education" and that "minority children suffer the most." He is absolutely correct.
The white paper upon which his speech was based contains so much solid content that one article cannot do it justice. However, at its foundation is a bold proposal for educational freedom which is properly rooted in parental choice. Romney noted, "Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don't meet their needs. And for too long, we've merely talked about the virtues of school choice. As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it."
One Presidential candidate is promoting authentic and substantive educational reform - and calling the reform by the proper term, parental choice. It is time to move beyond rhetoric and enact true educational Reform in the United States. Those who oppose this fundamental reform have now taken to calling this an effort to "privatize" education. In fact, it is an effort to "Parentize" education and again affirm that that the family is the first school and first government and that parents should make the choices concerning the education of their children outside of the first school of the home.
Those who support school choice call for a public policy and enabling legislation which makes it possible for all parents, no matter what their socio-economic situation, to choose where to send their children to school. This choice should be available for parents from among a full array of options including public, private, parochial, virtual, charter and home schools. Thus, the policy is better understood as "parental choice" in education. It recognizes that parents are the first teachers and should be the ones who make the choice where to expand their teaching mission for their own children.
As a constitutional lawyer I know this can be accomplished in a constitutionally sound way by empowering parents to make this vital choice through properly drafted voucher legislation, tax credits, or opportunity scholarships. Romneys proposal does just that and it follows the child. Those who oppose school choice too often resort to scare tactics. They argue that it will detrimentally affect the public school system. Sadly, they rely on ignorance to fan the flames of their opposition to a truly just educational policy.
They claim that supporters of school choice are against public schools. That is not true. For example, this supporter of school choice grew up in the inner city of Dorchester, Massachusetts in a "blue collar" home. My parents struggled to give me the first four primary educational years in a parochial school. The remainder of my education was in a public school. They moved, at great sacrifice and hardship, to make sure it was a good public school.
Opponents act as though the currently overly federalized bloated bureaucracy called the Public School system is how education in the United States has always been. Nothing could be further from true history. Public schools were first local, community schools. School choice will return the leadership of our National educational endeavor to parents and the local community. It will also improve the public school system by ensuring that parents can choose the schools they want for their children. Competition in the delivery of goods and services has amazing results.
School Choice is not a threat to good governance. Rather, it recognizes that all government begins in the home and then applies the social ordering principle of subsidiarity. The term is derived from the Latin word "subsidium" which means help or assistance. The ...
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