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Will Paul’s School-Choice Focus Win Minority Votes?

Alexander, McConnell and Scott join senator for a D.C. forum to push issue of educational freedom.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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August 2, 2013 - 11:32 am
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WASHINGTON – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is leading the GOP push for children to have more choices in schooling by increasing competition in the nation’s education system, all the while boosting his party’s appeal among minority groups.

Paul hosted three fellow Republican senators – Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Tim Scott (S.C.) – at a school choice forum Tuesday in an attempt to draw support for these initiatives.

School choice proponents argue that families, rather than the government bureaucracies, should decide how their public education dollars are spent and which schools their children attend, be it public, charter, private, online or at home.

Two of the main school choice systems – voucher and charter school programs – allow public education funds to follow the students to their parents’ school of choice. Voucher programs provide scholarships that let students enroll in private schools, while charter schools are privately run and generally have more autonomy from local school bureaucracy.

The lawmakers discussed charter schools and the voucher program with representatives from some of the most successful public charter schools in D.C. – including D.C. Prep and KIPP D.C. – and other schools that educate low-income students through the D.C. school voucher program created by Congress in 2004.

“I’m a big believer that choice is good for kids, that innovation is good for kids, and that we need to be open-minded because there are a lot of things going on in education around our country for decades that has been to the detriment of our kids,” Paul said.

Paul said students, especially minority and poor children, ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood. He also said that when there is a choice, people tend to choose the better product.

“In our country, capitalism is competition, it’s choice. We get better products and more of them at a cheaper price because we compete for them. I think we should bring some of that excellence on the marketplace into education,” Paul said.

Kevin Chavous, a national school choice leader, said the real challenge in terms of the traditional education leadership and their steadfast opposition came down to “politics and power.”

Chavous singled out the political influence of educators and administrators at traditional schools as a major barrier for school choice programs. He also blamed the “one-size-fits-all” school system that is used to handling the power of teacher unions.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average high school dropout earns an annual income of $20,241. That is roughly $10,000 less than the typical high school graduate and $36,424 less than someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Unemployment among those without a high school degree was 11 percent in June, while unemployment among high school graduates was 6 percent. The national unemployment rate stood at 7.6 percent.

“A lot of the problems we have are related to education, and a lot of unemployment comes from a lack of education,” Paul said.

Alexander briefly mentioned his proposal to update the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, a federal education law that expired in 2007. The proposed legislation contains a provision allowing individual states to decide whether to let parents use federal Title I dollars, reserved for low-income students, for any charter or public school of their choice. Alexander and Paul teamed up on a budget amendment earlier this year that would have allowed Title I dollars to follow students to the school of their choice, including private schools.

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Top Rated Comments   
Vouchers for education are absolutely the way to go.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (11)
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before I saw the receipt for $6187, I have faith that...my... sister truley bringing home money parttime from there pretty old laptop.. there uncles cousin has been doing this 4 only about 10 months and a short time ago cleard the debts on their condo and purchased themselves a Fiat Panda. go to.....http://www.wep6.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
my buddy's mother makes $63 an hour on the internet. She has been fired for 10 months but last month her pay check was $15798 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site... http://www.cnn13.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My problem with the use of vouchers for school choice is that pretty soon there won't be any schools to choose from. What's to stop the government from demanding a say in a private school's curriculum since it's the "government's money" paying for the kids to go there?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good point, private school vouchers will only work if they can come with no strings attached. Otherwise gov mandates could corrupt the private schools as badly as the public ones are now corrupted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
School choice is a no-brainer, but with Demsters truly in charge of the (mis)educational system it ain't gonna happen. Why is this so important to them, that they keep it in their vise-grip? Well, bringing down 'Amerika' is first and foremost, therefore, 'choice' is the last thing they will allow to happen, at least on a large scale - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/02/adina-kutnickis-book-review-featured-at-american-thinker-bringing-down-america-an-fbi-informer-with-the-weathermen-written-by-larry-grathwohl-and-frank-reagan-updated-2013-edition/

Pipe dreams....

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This probably wont win any minority votes, but it should be done, regardless.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, and even if it does not actually win any minority votes, it provides a ready answer the constant dem charge that repubs do not care about minorities, since this proposal, unlike many dem ones, actually will help minorities.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you Sen. Scott! I knew we were sending the right person. "Public" education funds should be spent on educating the children not lining the pockets of administrators, unions and unqualified teachers. With vouchers allowing school choice; perhaps more 19 year-old students would be able to read cursive writing, know what century the Civil War was in, or be able to find Florida on a map. I guess Democrats are only interested in choice if it is about "women's health" issues?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Vouchers for education are absolutely the way to go.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps the best measure of the difficulty Rand Paul faces is what happened in Chicago earlier this year. Rahm Emmanuel, faced with a broken budget, sought to cap spending in the country's worst school district in Chicago. This is a system that spirals between incompetent teachers, administrative bloat, an awful curriculum that puts political inculcation over the three Rs, a short schedule, and high pay.

The product offered in Chicago public schools is widely regarded as the worst there is. The teachers, many of them black women, threatened to strike. Whoa. Imagine this dilapidated self-serving system being shut. Rahm, ever the Obama helper, and seeing a possible effect on Democratic votes, immediately folded and gave the incompetents a fat raise as reward for their awful work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Short answer: No.

Long answer: The Democrats won't ever let this become law. Even If they do, Teachers Unions will sue and liberal judges will get it thrown out.

There is WAAAAAAAY to much money and power involved to worry about the sort of education kids are getting.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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