Friday, September 2, 2011

Recent Surge of School Choice Gains Is Only the Beginning of More to Come

Although other education reform topics often dominate the national conversation (teacher tenure and the debate surrounding standardized testing seem to dominate the headlines), the tide is turning when it comes to school choice. In addition to being dubbed "The Year of School Choice" by the Wall Street Journal—which is, if we're counting, the largest paper in the United States in terms of circulation—the subject of the strong national wave of progress and specific program highlights have been common as the year has progressed.

The Journal also spoke with prominent education expert Jay P. Greene later in the month, and let's not forget the discussion of the shifting political landscape on the issue by Institute for Justice senior attorney Richard Komer from the beginning of this week.

It's not just the WSJ, though.

USA Today, the nation's most widely-circulated paper measured solely by print subscriptions, wrote about the expansive Indiana voucher program this week, too. But they weren't alone, as the most frequently-seen byline in newspapers across the world—the Associated Press—followed suit.
What does this all mean?

It means that school choice is going even more mainstream. The education reform movement has largely moved in waves, with opposition to reforms eventually being swallowed by a groundswell of support that makes even the most ardent defenders of the status quo reconsider their stances.

It's happening heavily with public school choice and charter schools, as evidenced in part by a prominent former teachers' union head who is now starting his own charter school. A party traditionally more resistant to school reform now has a president and Education Secretary who've become an additional target for special interests.

This is all to say that, if trends both recent and longer-term hold, school choice is poised to increase in size and scope in a way we've never seen. As people became more and more aware of the benefits of charter schools that were not beholden to administrative bureaucracies, they demanded more. Now, over 1.6 million children are served by them.

We're on the brink of a private school choice breakthrough, too. This year was only the beginning!

With that in mind, we leave you with a video talking about the year's school choice gains, which aired this week by—yes, you guess it—the Wall Street Journal.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MAG

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