Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's time to approve school choice

A VERY powerful editorial in the Camden paper supporting the NJ school choice bill:

School choice is not the single solution for kids trapped in miserable schools in our poorest cities. But it is one of the solutions, one that, if expanded, would help grow more public charter schools, more small private schools. Those, too, would be solutions that would allow class sizes to come down in failing public schools. Smaller class sizes are always better for kids and teachers.

Why allow school choice? Why only help some and "leave others behind"?

How about this: Why keep doing the same thing that hasn't worked not just for a few years, but for decades? Why keep shoveling $20,000 per student in taxpayer dollars into schools that are not getting the job done? Why keep denying kids who want to actually learn and go to a good school without gangs and daily violence the chance to do just that? We don't command poor people who get food stamps to use that "voucher" at only one specific, assigned food store.

Why not do something radically different and perhaps spur the creation and expansion of smaller schools -- public or private -- where kids thrive in smaller classrooms?

How will we know if school choice is working? Just wait and see how many desperate parents and kids in our state's worst school districts line up for these scholarships. See how many who are lucky enough to get them opt to go back to the failing public schools they came from after a few years. The numbers will speak for themselves.

This is nothing less than an issue of civil rights. It is patently unfair and cruel to entrap poor students in schools that, by every standard, do not provide a quality education. The only immediate relief to that is to let families use the tax dollars we allot them to get their children into quality schools. It is, quite simply, the right thing to do, and it should be open to far more than 19,000 students statewide.


It's time to approve school choice

May 23, 2010

Camden Courier Post

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