Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chief of Public Schools in Chicago Supports Money "Following the Child"

"It's a matter of making sure the dollars follow children. If 500 traditional [Chicago Public Schools Students] would go to the parochial schools ... the proportional share (of dollars) should go to the school actually educating those children."
Sounds like something someone who supports school choice would say.  And that’s exactly what it is.  

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago yesterday as part of a panel discussion that included the director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, the CEO of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, and the superintendent of Chicago Catholic Schools.

While speaking on the panel, Brizard said he supported public dollars being used as scholarships for students to attend private school in a “money follows the child” formula.

“It doesn’t make sense [that] our parents pay taxes and then pay tuition [for their children] to go to [private] school as well,” Brizard said.

During the event, Brizard also called for developing more charter schools in partnership with Catholic schools, closing or restaffing 17 failing public schools, and enlisting what Brizard called the “silent majority” that support these turnaround efforts.

Though a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools later said that Brizard’s comments were his personal opinion and not a recommendation that the state create a voucher program, it's refreshing to see an important voice in the public education sector recognize that a partnership including a broad slate of educational options is in the best interests of students.

Before heading up Chicago Public Schools, Brizard served a teacher and an administrator in New York and superintendent of the Rochester City School District.

Current and former leaders of major public school districts around the nation support school choice: from Howard Fuller in Wisconsin to Arlene Ackerman in Pennsylvania, to Tony Bennett in Indiana.  These leaders know how schools work and know that choice is integral in the effort to reform our nation's education system.

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

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