Wednesday’s editorial bemoans Wisconsin’s second consecutive loss in the federal Race to the Top sweepstakes. It’s right to call for more reform efforts, but wrong to characterize the loss as a negative.
The Race to the Top program is nothing short of a subjective lottery aimed, ostensibly, at increasing federal control of state education systems. The Economic Policy Institute rightly calls the race “subjective and arbitrary, more a matter of bias or chance than a result of these states’ superior compliance with reform policies.”
Wisconsin schools don’t need federal standards, lip-service merit-pay programs or increased layers of bureaucracy. What they need is choice.
Citizens of Wisconsin should call on their legislators to empower parents by handing them a voucher with 75 percent of per-pupil expenditures and allowing them to choose the schools their children attend. Or they could ask for a voice in triggering a reform when their children’s schools fail.
— Marc Oestreich, The Heartland Institute, Chicago