The Washington Post's Jay Mathews is ready to close the book on vouchers. While he supports them himself, he thinks "[t]his nation of public school backers just won't go for vouchers." But hold the eulogizing for just a sec. Simply because D.C.'s program is on the block doesn't mean there's not hope beyond the Beltway. Consider the growing ranks of African-American legislators who support school choice. In South Carolina, State Senator Robert Ford recently introduced a bill to give students tax credits or tuition grants. His rationale is who will benefit the most: poor African-American students who are stuck in failing schools. "Public education is hurting our kids," he explained. "All of us have been defending the system. It's time to stop. I'm not pussyfooting with this anymore." Wisconsin State Representative Jason Fields also continues to fight the unpopular fight in his state, as do several African-American legislators in Georgia. And who knows--maybe the right approach to accountability might attract even more support, or at least fend off attempts to strangle the movement.
"Saying 'When' on D.C. School Voucher Program," by Jay Mathews, Washington Post, March 23, 2009
"Public money for private schools?," by Roddie Burris, Charlotte Observer, March 23, 2009