Tuesday, May 03, 2011

You know a position is going mainstream when Oprah talks about it

Reason has a article about vouchers.  Education Showdown says there is a ground swell for vouchers.  The article starts:

"When Oprah starts talking about it, we're almost there," says Julio Fuentes, president of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options. School choice is "definitely a mainstream topic right now," Fuentes crows at National School Choice Week festivities in Washington, D.C., in January. "Five or six years ago, when I got into this movement, we were viewed as the crazy voucher folks in Florida running around trying to pass legislation. Now Oprah is talking about it, so we're no longer crazy. We're making sense. We're making progress."

Oprah isn't alone in her late-breaking interest in education reform. Documentaries about school choice are popping up like pimples on a middle school boy, first among them the wildly successful, Sundance-winning Waiting for "Superman," by director David Guggenheim of An Inconvenient Truth fame. President Barack Obama spent 1,000 words of his 7,000-word State of the Union address this year on schools, referring to public education as "a system that's not working." Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off the new year by writing in The Washington Post that "few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform." Old Democratic mayors are saying nice things about reform, and new Republican governors are saying mean things about the status quo. And then there's Oprah, who devoted one of her final episodes to school reform. Her guests included Guggenheim, education technology champion Bill Gates, and the controversial former chancellor of the District of Columbia's public schools, Michelle Rhee.

I like vouchers.  Parents should have more voice in where their children go to school.  And a free market would force government schools to improve.  Or if it didn't private schools would pick up the slack.  Either way the students would benefit.

Unfortunately I don't see any great progress happening in the next couple years.  There is so much inertia.  There are so many who trust government to make the right decisions.  And there are so many with a stake in the current system.

I would love to be wrong.  Maybe a few more famous people like Oprah could jump on the band wagon and spearhead a movement for universal vouchers.  Maybe Trump could join this movement?

Hat tip: Goldwater Institute


Kimberly said...

I like vouchers too. The whole "Separation of church/state" argument is a red herring. The real fear is, if the public at large began to see that better results could be had at a fraction of what is being shoveled into the henceforth bottomless public education trough...there would be a revolt!

Henry Cate said...

I agree. The more I read the clearer it becomes that the separation of church and state just meant the Federal government should not support a particular religion. At the founding of our country a few states did in fact have a state supported religion.

It is sad that so many go through the government schools and learn so little of what the founding fathers gave their lives to provide for us.