Journal: ‘School Voucher Breakout’
The Wall Street Journal on Monday declared back-to-school week as “an encouraging season for education reform.” The editors pointed to an unlikely “bipartisan political breakout on vouchers” in Pennsylvania.
According to the Journal editorial:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato came out in support of school vouchers for underprivileged kids. Mr. Onorato said that education “grants”—he avoided the term vouchers—“would give low-income families in academically distressed communities direct choices about which schools their children should attend.”
Mr. Onorato’s Republican opponent, state Attorney General Tom Corbett, is also a strong backer of education choice, which means that come November Pennsylvania voters will get to choose between two candidates who are on record in support of a statewide school voucher program.
Pennsylvania’s move would follow efforts in Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, and Oklahoma to expand school voucher or education tax credit scholarship programs in 2010. Illinois lawmakers, led by State Sen. James Meeks (D-IL), earlier this year weighed legislation to establish a pilot voucher program in Chicago. Washington, DC, Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee said in July she is putting together a plan to offer vouchers to parents of children in special education programs.
The Journal’s editors contrasted the advances for school choice in states with the Obama administration’s efforts to roll back choice in the nation’s capital.
“The Obama Administration, which is phasing out a popular and successful school voucher program in Washington, DC, at the insistence of teachers unions, refuses to acknowledge that vouchers can play a role in reforming K-12 education,” the editors write. “But states and cities are the real engines of reform, and the Pennsylvania developments are another sign that the school choice movement is alive and well.”
Ben Boychuk (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing editor of School Reform News.