There’s something about our nation’s capital that converts many leading Democrats to school choice. Perhaps it’s the glimpse that Washington, D.C. affords into inner-city public schools.
But in most cases this appreciation of school choice extends only to their own children — and not to the millions of children in failing public schools. Indeed, a nearly perfect correlation exists among Democratic presidential candidates who have exercised school choice for their own children and those who would deny such choices to the parents of other children.
. . .
The mystery man is Sen. Barack Obama, who sends his child to a private school in Chicago yet once referred to school vouchers as "social Darwinism." Still, he says that on education reform, "I think a good place to start would be for both Democrats and Republicans to say . . . we are willing to experiment and invest in anything that works."
Well, school choice works. Every study that compares children who applied for school choice scholarships and received them with those who applied but did not shows improved academic performance. More important, every study that has examined the effect of school choice competition has found significantly improved performance by public schools.
Given their track records it is doubtful how many candidates will agree with Sen. Obama’s professed openness to experiment. But as he might say, we can always have the audacity to hope.
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(Note: ellipsis between paragraphs was added; ellipsis within Obama quote was in the original.)