Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Amid 'education funding fatigue,' let's try school choice

"Education issues are a chief concern in Oklahoma as the new year begins," Andrew Mericle writes in a letter to the editor published today in The Oklahoman.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has determined that we already spend $7,000 to $10,000 per student. The rejection of State Question 744 and some recent school bond issues demonstrates that a majority are experiencing education funding fatigue. Even if the Teach for America teachers are brought in, who would they replace? The National Council on Teacher Quality has given Oklahoma a D-plus partly because of bad policies for removing ineffective teachers.

It's time to face reality and to face realistic solutions. The best answer is school choice vouchers. Allow parents and students to select a school with taxpayer monies. Many of our students are literally trapped in failing (and frequently dangerous) schools. Competition in general usually causes improvement or extinction. This solution will no doubt be fought against -- especially by the leadership of the failing system -- but I hope that Gov. Mary Fallin and state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi will act boldly.

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