Excuses for denying parents real educational options are getting harder and harder to come by. The “old stand-by” lines of bureaucrats and political insiders invested in the status quo are simply not able to stand up to the fact that school choice really works. Other states ( with higher performing public schools) have instituted choice programs that have helped many thousands of families. Despite this, the managers of the nation’s most consistently underperforming public education system insist that they are more qualified than parents to decide how children should be educated.
Thankfully, some state lawmakers in South Carolina are refusing to be pushed around by baseless arguments from the education establishment. In the face of intense opposition, Democratic Senator Robert Ford has demanded school choice options for families. Likewise, Republican Senator Kevin Bryant ( Anderson, SC) has refused to back down from giving all children access to a quality education.
In a strongly-worded guest column in The State, Senator Bryant uses the experience of choice in other states to dismantle the arguments that school choice will not help “poor kids,” and that corporations and individuals will not step forward to contribute to Student Scholarship Organizations.
This from Senator Bryant’s column-
” This is real school choice, and detractors are attacking it by saying it “won’t help poor kids” because there is “no guarantee” private companies and individuals will support scholarships for low-income, mostly minority students.
There are no guarantees in Pennsylvania either, but since its inception, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program has seen more than 3,200 companies pledge donations, and sent more than $350 million to some 600 scholarship-granting organizations. A key provision of the S.C. legislation is modeled after this successful program.
In the current school year, this investment in academic freedom has funded more than 50,000 scholarships to poor, at-risk students in Pennsylvania.
That’s 50,000 students getting a fresh start — and $300 million freed up within the public system to educate a smaller number of students.
In 2007, 62 corporations gave $14 million to student tuition organizations in Arizona, and 20,000 scholarships were made available for low-income students in Florida.”
Senator Bryant also calls out those who use personal attacks to oppose educational options for parents.
“The defenders of our state’s failed status quo aren’t just ignoring these success stories; they are impugning the motives of parental choice supporters, even playing a subtle but every bit as despicable race card.
Calling us “suburban Republicans,” they are implying that anyone supporting this legislation is only interested in making choice cheaper for those who can already afford it.
They are correct in presuming that this legislation would benefit “suburban Republicans.” It absolutely will. But it also would benefit “rural Democrats,” “urban independents,” “lakeside liberals,” “coastal conservatives” and all kinds of parents in between.
This bill will help all children.
State Sen. Robert Ford — a Charleston Democrat whose impassioned advocacy on this issue has stirred the African-American community in our state to action — is being attacked by the education establishment and prominent members of the NAACP.
I wonder if his detractors feel the same about the African-American mayors of Washington, Newark, N.J., New Orleans, Atlanta, and Jacksonville Fla. — all of whom support parental choice.”
Click here to check out Senator Bryant’s blog.