Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bill Price 'emerging leader' in school choice movement

In the current issue of The School Choice Advocate, published by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (one of the nation's leading school-choice organizations), the cover story is entitled "The Emerging Leaders of the School Choice Movement." One of the leaders spotlighted is Oklahoman (and OCPA trustee) Bill Price.

A former U.S. Attorney, Price is perhaps best known for his prosecution of the County Commissioner corruption scandal, one of the largest political corruption cases in U.S. history. For that work Price earned a Special Achievement Award from the United States Department of Justice. Now an attorney in private practice, he is devoting considerable time and energy to serving as chairman of the school-choice coalition in Oklahoma. "School choice is one of the most important issues of our time," Price writes.
I see a confluence of events in Oklahoma today that could create a unique opportunity for major reform—a public awareness that our schools are failing our children, and for the first time since statehood, a legislature more likely to stand up for parents and students than for the institutional forces that have thwarted reform in the past.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) is a well-established conservative public policy research organization. One of OCPA’s principal issues for many years has been the need for school choice. Brandon Dutcher, vice president for policy at OCPA, and Patrick McGuigan, a [former] research fellow, have written a number of articles advocating school choice, which have appeared in OCPA’s publications as well as state newspapers, setting the intellectual groundwork for school choice among state opinion leaders. Dutcher also chairs the center-right coalition that meets at OCPA’s offices every month and brings together conservative groups.

With the tremendous assistance of the Friedman Foundation, the OCPA, along with the center-right coalition and state legislative leaders on education issues, have formed the Oklahoma school choice coalition. As an OCPA board member and member of the center-right coalition, it’s been exciting to see these elements come together. Our plan is to expand this coalition to further educate and activate legislators and the public to create the momentum for choice.

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