The problem is that a monopoly always protects itself. The teachers' unions and many Democratic politicians, who receive their campaign contributions, oppose school choice, which would improve not only public schools, but also the chances of poor and minority children to have a better life. The current approach appears to be to keep disadvantaged children in underperforming schools so that underperforming teachers keep their jobs and the politicians they support keep theirs. As long as the monopoly survives, we can expect more cheating and corner-cutting and less real achievement for children who ought to be everyone's first concern.
Instead, as Atlanta would suggest, public school children are subject to all manner of manipulation and disservice by people charged with educating them. Perhaps if parents had the freedom to send their children to a school they believed would offer them a better shot at true success they would fare better. Could school choice be the answer?
Indiana thinks so. Last week, the state's Supreme Court upheld a voucher program that gives poor and middle-class families access to tax dollars to help them pay private school tuition. Parents should decide where their children go to school.
It's not the children who cannot achieve. It's the system that fails them. "Our schools desperately need to be fixed," writes Robinson. "But creating a situation in which teachers are more likely than students to cheat cannot be the right path. ... Students are not widgets. I totally reject the idea that students from underprivileged neighborhoods cannot learn. Of course they can."
Authorities should pursue investigations of alleged cheating by teachers and school administrators. Meanwhile, for this and many other reasons, the school choice movement is gaining strength. It is seen by increasing numbers of Americans as the best way to prevent cheating children out of the decent education they deserve.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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