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Disadvantaged Kids and School Choice

classroomWhy would disadvantaged kids from low-income homes benefit most from school choice? According to William Jeynes, an education professor at California State University-Long Beach, access to religious schools or better government schools would provide children stuck in failing schools a chance at a decent education. And competition would pressure government schools to improve.

Competition is the takeaway.

The number of charter schools has grown, but what about voucher programs? Generally, Democrats oppose tax-funded vouchers, which parents can use to send their kids to private schools. The kids who need vouchers most tend to come from families who support liberal policies. For competition in education to flourish, the families whose children would benefit would have to stop voting for the Big Government party. School-choice advocate Star Parker believes Republicans should come out strong for school reform. An excerpt of one of her columns:

Growing grass roots support among blacks for education alternatives surely influenced the Obama administration’s agreement, this past week, to keep the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The administration opposes the program and would have been perfectly happy to see its funding spigot turned off.

This is a modest program, with federal funds available now for 1,615 scholarships for kids in D.C.’s public schools to attend private schools. Its existence and potential for growth was at stake, with House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., carrying the ball for it. The new agreement will allow it to continue, with a small provision for 85 new scholarships.

This makes even more perplexing several incidents where Republican state legislators have turned their backs on the education hopes of blacks.

Republicans in Pennsylvania can change the political landscape of their state by helping black aspirations for education freedom. But in a state that some analysts see as conceivably swinging into the Republican column, Republicans are blowing it.

Photo credit: Terry McCombs (Creative Commons)

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