VACostCutting

Monday, June 26, 2006

More on Growing School Choice Movement

When I posted comments Friday on school choice gaining bi-partisan momentum in NJ, I had not yet seen the commentary in the Wall Street Journal's online opinionjournal.com, from Clint Bolick, the president and general counsel of the Alliance for School Choice.

Mr. Bolick's article, "'Toe-Hold Strategies': Democrats for (school) choice," relates the growing bi-partisan support for initiating and expanding school choice programs in localities across the nation.

When the Arizona legislature concludes its 2006 session in a few days, it will set a record for school-choice legislation by enacting four new or expanded programs allowing disadvantaged children to attend private schools. Even more remarkable: The programs were enacted in a state with a Democratic governor.

Yet Arizona is not an aberration. Already in 2006, a new Iowa corporate scholarship tax credit bill was signed into law by Gov. Tom Vilsack; and in Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill increasing the Milwaukee voucher program by 50%. Gov. Ed Rendell may expand Pennsylvania's corporate scholarship tax credit program, as he did last year. Messrs. Vilsack, Doyle and Rendell are all Democrats.

And last year, hell froze over: Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsed the inclusion of private schools in a rescue effort for over 300,000 children displaced from their schools by Hurricane Katrina. As a result, tens of thousands of kids are attending private schools using federal funds, amounting to the largest (albeit temporary) voucher rrogram ever enacted. Before that, a voucher program for the District of Columbia was established with support from Democratic Mayor Anthony Williams and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Joseph Lieberman.


Let's hope Virginia lawmakers--on both sides of the aisle-- follow these examples and give serious consideration to greater choice options for Virginia's students and families.

~whitney

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