Friday, January 2, 2009

Private schools at public expense

The death yesterday of former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-Rhode Island), father of the Pell Grant, serves to remind us that school choice is alive and well in this country, with public dollars flowing to private schools all the time.

Think of it: an 18-year-old student can use (gasp!) taxpayer dollars to attend Oral Roberts University, a Christian institution whose mission is "to enable students to go into every person's world with God's message of salvation and healing." Or Oklahoma Baptist University, a school which is owned by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and which "engages in educational tasks in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Convention: to furnish the means by which the churches may carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20)." Private schools, public expense.

I have yet to hear an opponent of K-12 school choice in Oklahoma explain why it would be bad public policy to let an 18-year-old high school student in Shawnee use public money to attend, say, Liberty Academy, but good public policy for that same student, a few months later, to use public money to attend Oklahoma Baptist University.

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