A Lesson from Louisiana

[Content was a featured post on ACSTO’s ‘News & Updates’ blog on 01/29/13.
Click for blog link here.]

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You may have noticed on the news recently, that we are currently in the middle of National School Choice Week. Some people see school choice as a fight between private and public schooling and a lobby for who gets the most state money. But it is nothing so political as that.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has a great take on the issue. He agrees that school choice should not be a political, partisan issue, but rather, a consensus issue. He presses that “equal opportunity in education shouldn’t be a conservative position, or a liberal position, it should be an American position.”

To oppose schools choice is to choose “an old antiquated centralized approach that is not working.” It puts political and monetary incentives ahead of the needs of our children. Likewise, those who claim that American education is fine deserve equal criticism. Jindal insists that “it is completely dishonest to pretend today that America provides equal opportunity in education. We do not.”

Too many students around the country are still stuck at failing schools. We need to provide an equal opportunity for poor and disadvantaged children in America to receive an education they can be proud of.

That is why school choice is about the children; it is about meeting their needs in an affordable way; it is about anequal opportunity for an outstanding education. Equal opportunity does not mean more regulation and spending. Equal opportunity “is driven by competition, accountability and autonomy.” Nothing provides opportunity better than school choice.

In recent years, Louisiana has been under the radar of the school choice movement due to its rising number of school choice programs. Under Jindal, Louisiana expanded its voucher system dramatically, but it is currently fighting an extended legal battle.

School choice is all about giving students an equal opportunity to learn, succeed, and thrive. Opposing school choice is to choose a system that increasingly delivers nothing more than an equal opportunity to fail.

What do you think? What does equal opportunity mean to you? Leave us a comment below!

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