The Campaign Spot

Happy School Choice Week!

This is School Choice Week. The good folks at the Franklin Center keep on eye on school-choice news, legislation, and legal battles here. The organization will be hosting a “Twitter town hall” on Wednesday with their reporters on the school-choice beat, who will be tweeting from their @WatchdogEd Twitter account starting at 2 p.m. Eastern. They invite readers to Tweet questions to them at @WatchdogOrg and join the conversation using the #AmplifyChoice hashtag.

Then, at 3 p.m. Friday, the Franklin Center will host Institute for Justice’s Dick Komer for a short tweet-up on ongoing school-choice litigation and 2015 battles.

Major fights over school-choice programs are brewing at the Colorado supreme court, in the Texas legislature, in the Florida state courts, and in Alabama. Meanwhile, the outlook for school-choice programs in New Jersey is dimming a bit.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker is making this the centerpiece of his legislative agenda for the coming year:

“Tonight, I call on the members of the state Legislature to pass legislation ensuring objective information is available for each and every school receiving public funds in this state,” Walker said. “Provide the information and allow parents to make the choice.”

Walker also called for the Legislature to pass a law removing all requirements that schools adhere to Common Core standards.

Republicans in the state Senate and Assembly got a jumpstart on Walker’s agenda already this week, introducing bills in both houses to increase penalties for schools not up to par by the state’s school rating method, ending funding for public schools that consistently do not meet standards and offering private companies an opportunity to take over management of these schools.

Back in November, I urged the next GOP presidential nominee to pursue “an Uber for Education” — a big, bold idea that works around existing state-sponsored monopolies and focuses on giving the customers — i.e., kids and their parents — what they really need. The first element was:

School choice everywhere. Any parent, in any community, should be able to send his or her child to any school that will accept that child. Period. Yes, some might say this is Washington forcing a change on the states. Too bad. We don’t run our education system for the benefit of state and local education officials — or at least we shouldn’t. We do it for kids and parents. Any administrator who wants to deny parents the right to send their children to the school of their choice can get the hell out of the education system.

You never know who will join the cause of charter schools and school choice next.

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