Monday, February 05, 2007

School choice in Utah

The state of Utah's House recently passed a comprehensive school choice plan to apply to the entire state. John Fund explains how the bill's proponents were able to convince legislators to vote for this bill. They marshalled incredible public support to combat the attacks from the teachers' unions. They had strong leadership to shepherd the bill through the House. And they had the arguments on their side. As one proponent noted, we have school choice all around us already.
Kids under 5 now get federal day-care vouchers. College students get Pell grants. Even at the elementary and secondary levels, many kids with special educational or behavioral challenges are sent to private schools at state expense. Mr. Bishop says, "It makes sense to expand the existing choices we offer to every child in K-12, and that is what Utah is now leading the way in doing."
Now Utah will be a researcher's paradise to see what effect school choice has on the state's education system. And other states should be watching. That is one of the great benefits of our federalist system - the laboratories of democracy in each state.