Monday, November 17, 2008

School Choice

Earlier this year, Obama's campaign issued a statement that said, "Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers...Throughout his career, he has voted against voucher proposals and voiced concern for siphoning off resources from our public schools."

Vouchers would allow parents to take part of the money allocated for their child to attend the public school that they are districted for, and use that money at the school of their choice, including private schools. The concept of school choice is essentially a free market for education, where teachers and administrators would be forced to provide an excellent education to their students, or risk losing them (and the funds that come with them) to the school down the street. Obama is concerned that by allowing parents to make the best decision regarding the education of their children, they will do just that and yank their kids out of under performing schools and put them into ones where teachers have to rely on job performance rather than tenure if they want to keep that paycheck coming.

By Obama's thinking, a much better plan would be to pour endless amounts of cash into schools where teachers are tenured and receive automatic pay raises, providing little incentive for them to work hard and do their job well (after all, why bother trying if there's no motivation?), and where unruly students often disrupt their classmates learning because it's practically impossible to discipline these days lest we hurt that student's precious self-esteem. No wonder our current education system is such a mess!

I'm so glad to hear that Obama, a self-proclaimed man of his word, is going to enroll his two elementary aged daughters into the DC public school system, one of the worst in the nation. Hopefully, by not taking funds away from the public school system, he will lead the way to show our nation that vouchers are not needed because school choice is not needed. The government is much more knowledgeable than parents in deciding which school their children should attend, and if we could all just head to that government advice, the system would be fixed, right?

Wait, what's that? The Obama girls will be attending an exclusive private school? Huh. I thought that public schools were good enough for American children. I guess just not good enough for Obama's children. If only we all had the means to practice school choice, something that the Obamas themselves have chosen to do.

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