Don’t forget the old admonition that things are never as bad as they seem after a defeat, as troubling times often beget great innovation. Those on the Left would be wise to also remember that things are never as good as they seem. A case on point is the issue of school choice.
On the issue of school choice free market messaging has been exceedingly potent. The winning message is first, every child deserves the very best education possible, meaning we should allow a child's family choice when it comes to which school they will attend regardless of economic standing, ethnicity, or zip code. Second, innovation and reform to make our children’s' education better should be celebrated rather than shuttered. This simple message overwhelmingly resonates across party lines, across demographic groups and emotionally reverberates throughout our country, because it eloquently expresses a basic notion of fairness that seeks to protect those who are our most precious asset - our children.
Over the past year Americans for Prosperity has joined a broad coalition to support major education reforms. One of the most successful state programs is in Louisiana. According to Educate Now, 84 percent of New Orleans public school students are now in charter schools. These charter schools overwhelming help poor, minority, and low-performing students succeed where traditional public schools have failed. By placing an emphasis on students, the state, and specifically Governor Jindal, has demonstrated true political courage and sound common sense by not simply throwing additional dollars at failing public schools but by reshaping the focus away from unions and back to students.
Indiana’s program is also growing at an impressive rate with over 50 public charter schools. The Indiana legislature admits what many states are unable to admit: that public schools do not meet the needs of every student. Indianapolis Public Schools Corp established several schools around the city, each of which focuses on a single subject, such as reading and math, to help students improve or further excel in the subject. These educational reforms are providing students greater opportunities to achieve instead of forcing the one-size-fits-all federal approach.
I have no doubt that in the coming years, students of charter schools will be leading industries throughout our country.