Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oklahoma's education landscape continues to change

There's an excellent column by Dan Lips today in The Oklahoman ("Education choice for Oklahoma's future). A former Heritage Foundation analyst, Mr. Lips is co-author of the 2002 OCPA study "The Oklahoma Scholarship Tax Credit: Giving Parents Choices, Saving Taxpayers Money." He is also the author of a forthcoming OCPA study on digital learning. He writes:
For years, the idea of giving families the maximum power to choose the best school for their children has been the "third rail" of education politics. But slowly a bipartisan consensus is forming. Around the country, Republicans and Democrats are working together to enact policies that give parents the freedom to choose.

Oklahoma is fast becoming a national leader in offering families school choice, thanks to its charter schools and the new scholarship program for children with disabilities. Gov. Mary Fallin and schools Superintendent Janet Barresi both support giving families more options.

And indeed, the landscape continues to change. Future conversations will turn more and more to online learning, Lips says, perhaps enabled in part by Education Savings Accounts.

In Arizona, Florida and other states, state leaders are considering giving families state-funded education savings accounts to purchase the best possible education for their children based on a new proposal from the Goldwater Institute. Oklahoma should consider this approach to create a system of real parental choice and innovation to hasten the arrival of education's exciting future.

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