Let the Education Dollars Follow the Child

April 01, 2013

By: Peggy Venable

Redefining public education in this country means putting the student ahead of the institution.

Texas lawmakers are addressing an array of education reforms, and if you are keeping score, it would be Team Students & Parents – 0 and Team Educrats and Institutions – 10.  Though no bills have made it to the Governor’s desk, it appears the education lobby is in control of the Texas House and a few state senators.

What does this mean for students and parents?  The educrat lobby has been promoting a self-serving legislative agenda demanding more money, less accountability and no competition.

It appears much of the public is buying the line that education funding had been cut in Texas.  Here is the rest of the story:  from 1999-2009, public school funding increased at a rate of five times student enrollment growth. This was simply unsustainable.  In 2011, when the economy was in a slump and legislatures across the country were cutting education spending, the legislature put more money in education – and only cut the rate of growth.

While the outcome of education reform and school choice is uncertain in Texas, this past week, students and parents in Indiana realized a great victory over a monopoly education bureaucracy.

The decision was best described by Jonathan S. Tobin, Senior Online Editor of COMMENTARY magazine and chief political blogger

The decision by the Indiana Supreme Court  to uphold the constitutionality of the state’s school  choice program that gives low- and middle-income families the right to use state money to attend private schools is a landmark in the long battle for school choice.

It heralds the civil rights victory of our generation.  Many of us in Texas are working to provide choices to the 315,000 students stuck in 535 failing public schools.  It’s time we fund the child’s education, not the education institutions.

The Indiana case is significant not just because of its size (over 9,000 students took advantage of it this year) but because it challenges the notion that the only proper way for the state to educate children is via the public schools system. As even the New York Times noted in a front-page feature, the growing number of efforts to offer families a choice that heretofore was only available to the wealthy is based on the idea that private and religious schools are just as valid a form of public education as those run by the state

After decades of struggling to stifle any hope of giving children and their parents a chance to escape from failing schools, liberals are starting to fear their task is inevitably doomed to failure. The decision by the Indiana Supreme Court earlier this week to uphold the constitutionality of the state’s vouchers program that gives low- and middle-income families the right to use state money to attend private schools is a landmark in the long battle for school choice.

More and more Americans are starting to realize that if the object of public education is to give children a chance, they must widen their horizons and start letting the flow of taxpayer dollars to the schools follow the kids rather than the bureaucrats and the unions. What happened this week in Indiana could be the moment when the tide began to turn in favor of education rather than liberal ideology

“In Indiana the purpose of the money devoted to education is now regarded as geared to the welfare of each individual child rather than to government institutions and their bureaucracies.”

What? The welfare of CHILDREN can be more important than the welfare of bureaucrats??? What a concept!!


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