School Choice Can Unite the Left & the Right

schoolIt’s National School Choice Week, which means it’s time to “shine a spotlight on the need for effective education options for all children.” Close to 400 events are being held around the country this week in order to raise awareness for school choice.

On Sunday, I attended a seminar moderated by talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. The two panelists were conservative new media rock star Andrew Brietbart and liberal Fox News contributor Juan Williams. Andrew and Juan aren’t exactly shy about sharing their beliefs, values, and opinions, so it was anyone’s guess as to how this thing would go down.

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There was some good-natured ribbing about differences in political ideology, but on the subject of reforming education, the men were united. Andrew even joked about wanting to give Juan a hug, hearing him talk so passionately about implementing school choice to better our children’s future. 

Education is the number one issue that the media isn’t talking about, and reforming our broken system is the best thing we can do for our country. Juan Williams pointed out the fact that education transcends racial lines, and that “without an education, who’s going to hire that kid? I don’t care what color he is.”

Some argue that the issue is money, but how can that be true when public education spending is at a high, and results are at a low? 30% of kids in America don’t graduate from high school, and in black communities, that shifts to 50%. Money obviously isn’t the issue.

The problem is a system that is designed to protect failing teachers and limit parental choice. Andrew said, “The fact that we can’t fire the people that teach our children is abominable,” and Juan took a shot at his fellow liberals by saying the system is failing, but nothing is being done because those on the left are so locked into the unions.

Unions have made it practically impossible to fire bad teachers, and administrators with bloated salaries and benefits have sucked the coffers dry. Lack of competition among schools has created an environment for corruption, where money for money’s sake comes before money for the children’s sake. Schools need to compete for students by providing a quality education, and that starts with allowing parents to choose the best option for their child. 

Juan encouraged parents and teachers to work together to fight the unions, and Andrew reminded us that this is an issue that the left and the right can unite over. He said, “We have to break away from the crossfire model. We have to find a common ground in this country, and education is that place where we can do it.” 

Education reform is not political. It’s just common sense.

 

Image via Tulane Public Relations/Flickr

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