Sunday, November 20, 2005

Is the Governor right? "School choice is central to moving state forward."

Mark Sanford is nothing if not persistent in pursuing his core values. Recently the Governor wrote an op ed in which he stated:
I believe becoming more competitive means pushing for reforms that are consistent with market principles, common sense, and fiscal responsibility. When it comes to making our state more competitive and more successful in the education arena, I have always firmly believed that giving parents more choices in the marketplace is critical.

Governor Sanford closes the editorial:
We can -- and should -- have a legitimate discussion on how to best implement broad school choice, so that every parent can choose the best option for each child. Our one-size fits all approach to education hasn't gotten us where we need to be, and I firmly believe we must try something new -- something that's worked in other states -- for the students who need it most.

I'm open to any new idea that will move our schools forward, but rest assured I'm more convinced now than ever that a big part of that solution lies in expanding access to additional educational choices.
So, do you think he is right? Is giving parents more choices in the marketplace in some form central to moving the state forward?


Anonymous said...

If our primary responsibility is to provide the best possible education for Johnny, school choice is the best answer. If the primary responsibility is to provide an educated population that will support democracy, then public education,with all it's flaws, is the better choice.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious to me that our current approach is not the right one and that money, in and of itself, does not solve the problem(s). Honestly, the societal and family structure changes that continur to permeate our culture may be the largest enemy. Nonetheless, while believe it to be naive to think that there is any one silver bullet, I do agree that the Governor's school choice program is a sound change to a system that is failing its constituents.

Anonymous said...

The parent choice for education has always been a misnomer for moving funds from public education to private education. Parents have always and will always have choices in their child's education in public schools. Second misinformation is there is too much money thrown at public education and it does not work. Private schools spend more money per capita than does public schools but it is never discussed. Vouchers have been around for more than 15 years. If vouchers to put children in private schools was such an overwhelming success, then everyone would have data and facts to move toward this type of system. The real issue is equity. To often wealthy parents do not want their children sharing learn space and intermingling with children who are from economic background. This is the driving force behind parent choice in education. That is why states like SC, MS, AL, and LA have so many schools with students who meet the poverty criteria. Parental Choice placed wealthy children in private schools. What is central to moving SC forward is leadership that is inclusive of all races and economic levels of its citizens. It is not a coincident that the poorest schools are in the areas with large populations of African Americans and the ever growing Latin American population. It is by design that we give more to those who have and ignore those who have not. This causes inequity in education and other socio-economic indicators of healthy communities. Why develop a system for all people and abandon it because you have to sit beside someone of another economic status or another race? That is why we have two Americas and two South Carolinas-one of the haves and the other for the have nots. Who will change this?

Anonymous said...

If we could experiment with his concept without making the problems with the public schools worse than they already are, I would be interested. Unfortunately, I don't think you can. More unfortunate, it seems impossible to improve the lower schools without getting into racial issues, which is one of the reasons that the Governor's proposal appeals to many.