Star Parker

The Department of Education may report that, on average, after filtering out socioeconomic differences, fourth-graders in public schools did better on tests than fourth-graders in private schools. But what are black and Latino parents with kids in Los Angeles Unified School District schools supposed to do with this information? Nine out of 10 black and Latino fourth-graders in L.A. public schools score below proficiency in reading and math.

What are the parents of the 250,000 kids in Los Angeles who are in schools that are failing by No Child Left Behind standards supposed to do with this information?

Can anyone still in touch with their common sense doubt that these parents would prefer having a choice where to send their kids to school? Anyone who does doubt this should talk to these parents. My staff does. We're working with them and trying to get at least the school choice that No Child Left Behind guarantees them.

We, along with the Alliance for School Choice, have filed complaints with the school districts in Los Angeles that they are not in compliance with NCLB because they are not informing parents that they have the option to transfer their child. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has given the districts until Aug. 15 to respond to our complaint or have their Title I funds from the federal government jeopardized.

Choice, competition and freedom are core values that define what we are about as a nation. It is troubling to think that we have gotten to the point where these truths are no longer obvious and we have to do research to try and figure out if they are a good idea.

The Bush administration proposal to appropriate $100 million in opportunity scholarships for poor kids in failing schools is a needed program. Let's use our limited taxpayer dollars to enhance education freedom for poor families and not on superfluous research and bureaucracy.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.