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, 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.



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