As a result, there is no better time than right now for free market leaders at the state level to push for expanded parental options. In fact many state leaders have already recognized this. In Wisconsin and Ohio, Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich are both pushing to expand successful school choice programs– as is newly-elected Pennsylvania Gov. John Corbett. Meanwhile in Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels is backing legislation that would establish one of the nation’s largest choice programs.
These leaders – and many others like them across the country – are to be commended for recognizing the urgency of the moment.
Of course in seizing this opportunity, supporters of academic freedom must resist the temptation to endorse limited, means-tested programs that lack the broad-based constituencies created by universal choice plans. Union leaders – well-aware of the vulnerable position in which they now find themselves– will likely float these “compromise” proposals in an effort to preserve their limited resources for more pressing battles.
Choice supporters should not fall for the trap. As soon as circumstances permit, the public sector unions will turn on these small choice programs and seek to eliminate them – efforts which will undoubtedly succeed unless there is a constituency in place to defend them.
The battle against public sector unions has presented the school choice movement with a promising window of opportunity. For the sake of our children – and the future competitiveness of our nation – let’s hope state leaders continue to recognize this advantage and press it to the fullest.