Thursday, November 10, 2011

Over A Decade Later, the Lasting Legacy of School Choice Champions Lives On

The deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page devoted his column this week to a creation of two of the most committed men when it comes to giving educational options to low-income kids: Ted Forstmann and the late John Walton.

Ever heard of the Children's Scholarship Fund? If so, then you're familiar with one of Forstmann and Walton's most innovative education reform ideas. In the years since it was created in the late 1990s, nearly $500 million in scholarships has been provided to over 120,000 low-income children to attend schools that their parents chose for them.

Few private organization share so closely a mission with ours—to give low-income kids the same opportunities afforded to those who are well off. CSF, however, is a rare ally truly empowers families and parents with the ability to choose the learning environment most suited for their children, who they know most.

But back to today's column, about the fund and the continued plight of kids trapped in failing inner-city schools. In many ways, this year's sweeping school choice victories are the result of the hard work that Forstmann and Walton were engaged in far before it was popular, and far before over 200,000 children were benefiting from school choice all around the country.

Henninger dives deeper into that idea in his column:
Some time back, in an essay on the entrepreneur's social role, Mr. Forstmann wrote, "He inhabits a world where belief precedes results." For years, no more frustrating belief has existed in American domestic politics than the possibility of giving inner-city children a better education. Against the public-school monopoly, sustained forward movement has seemed impossible. That may be changing. This year at least 13 states passed some form of school-choice legislation. Notably, Indiana's new voucher program is letting parents use public funds this fall to send their children to private, mostly religious, schools. 
We live in bitter and divided political times, with optimism in short supply. It is somehow fitting that an idea Ted Forstmann and John Walton put in motion 12 years ago just had a breakout year. Sometimes, belief really does produce results.
We strongly encourage you to read the entire column. If you reaction is anything like ours, it will both inspire and empower you. As Henninger says, belief is often the key to doing amazing things.

You can also watch a video where he explains the story of the Children's Scholarship Fund, and how it's helping so many families all across America, event today.

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

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