Last night I saw “Waiting for Superman” — and was completely inspired. I know so little about education policy but I’ve always had the impression that school choice is best. Meaning, give parents the opportunity to choose the right kind of school for their child. However, it has never seemed like a completely viable method because it still seems like a lot of kids get left out somehow. Because I don’t understand how it works, I have been fuzzy on it. However, watching this movie opened my eyes to the reason why so many people are in favor of school choice — because it gives their children at least a CHANCE at something better. In the inner city, especially in DC, NYC and LA, schools are horrible and without some kind of school choice, all poor kids are screwed.
One of the most disturbing parts of the film was the realization that bad teachers are tenured. The Teachers Union has made it almost impossible to fire someone who is doing a bad job — and this has become a major detriment to schools everywhere. Where Unions were once needed to legitimately protect jobs, they are now serving to keep bad teachers in bad schools to result in dropouts, failures and ill-prepared children. One statistic in the movie showed in one particular inner city, 68% of inmates were high school dropouts and the federal money per year for each prisoner was something like $33,000. Then, they showed that it would cost something like $18,000 to send a child to private school for a year. What does this mean? A kid that is sent to a good, private school all the way through is a thousand times more likely to graduate and not be arrested. It goes to show you where money is WORTH going….preventative measures? I’ll say.
It’s easy to see but often people miss it: children are America’s future. If you don’t prepare them, care for them, educate them as precious commodities for the future, you will lose. I don’t understand how President Obama and other Dems wanted to get rid of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program — when it gave at least a handful of inner city kids a CHANCE at a better education. A better education essentially means a better life — especially for poor children whose parents never got that chance themselves.
No, school choice can’t save everyone but it can give some kids a real future. And that’s better than ALL of them having only a mediocre one. As I always say when it comes the issues — conservatives are realists because we KNOW you can’t solve it all. You can’t fix EVERYTHING and everyone. But you can at least offer a better chance and opportunity for most people, if they are only willing to put in a little effort.
Why should rich families be the only ones that get to choose schools for their kids? Poor kids are just as important, special, full of promise and ideas as rich ones. Let’s give America’s kids the BEST opportunity we can — and figure out how to refine school choice to make it better and better along the way.