February 1, 2013

The success of school choice reforms in Highland Park, Michigan makes a powerful case for school choice, former Rep. Artur Davis said Thursday at The Heritage Foundation.

Heritage research supports this idea. A Heritage report released this week points out that “school choice allows access to quality education options that best match individual children’s learning needs.”

Before reform, Highland Park’s schools were a mess. One child unable even to spell his own name was considered to have passed the seventh grade, Davis said. Furthermore, the child’s parents were denied the choice of sending him to a school that would teach him to read and write.

The problem with education is not inadequate funding, Davis said:

Some of our friends on the political left believe this whole argument turns on how much money a given district is getting. It is not as simple as money. There are enormously well funded districts in this country that are still producing very poor outcomes.

Davis said that school choice is only the beginning of education reform:

I understand the argument that this (vouchers) isn’t enough. I understand the argument that it’s a Band-Aid. And that’s why I would never suggest that the end of this conversation is vouchers and parental choice. That’s the beginning of it. This is the leverage to help folks right now. This the leverage to say to parents right now we’re on your side. But it’s not the end of the conversation. The end of the conversation is tenure reform. The end of the conversation is making it easier to get rid of bad teachers. The end of the conversation is more accountability. The end of the conversation is figuring out a way to get better principals.

School choice is a proven and beneficial reform which, if enacted on a state or local level, will immediately benefit the lives of children, especially the neediest.

You can watch a video of Davis’ powerful talk here.

Do you think conservatives should aggressively support school choice?

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