Why School Choice is a Civil Rights Issue

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This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, a unanimous and history-making ruling that declared school segregation unconstitutional and affirmed the principle that in America, all children, regardless of their race, should have equal access to a quality education.

Thankfully, the days of officials physically blocking the school doorway to keep out minority students are behind us. But the fight for equal opportunity in education lives on…that’s why education remains a civil rights issue—the civil rights issue of our time, and it demands action from all of us.

Fighting for school choice is one of the ways to take action. For most students today, their neighborhood or zip code determines their school. That means some kids, by no fault of their own, are forced into a failing school. They don’t have a choice.

That’s not equal opportunity, and it’s not fair. No parent wants to see his or her child languish in a bad school. Parents want what’s best for their children, and that’s why Republicans believe they should have the ability to choose the right school for their children. That’s why the Republican Party is the party of school choice.

By empowering parents over bureaucrats, school choice challenges all schools to do better.

When parents can choose among various options for their children, it produces competition. Competition breeds innovation, and that in turn leads all schools to improve and find ways to serve the needs of their students…Despite its merits, though, there are those who oppose school choice. Some haven’t taken the time to see the profound difference it can make…It’s hard to understand why so many in the other party, including the Obama administration, oppose proven school choice programs…

That fight happens in cities, state capitals, and Washington. This month, the U.S. House Representatives, led by Republicans, passed legislation to expand charter school options. Sen. Tim Scott recently introduced the CHOICE Act, and other Republican Senators, including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Lamar Alexander, and others have offered proposals in the Senate to expand school choice. Hopefully, Democrats in the Senate and the White House will come on board.

School choice doesn’t solve every problem, but it has proven tremendously effective in raising graduation rates and achievement levels for low-income and minority students. It has offered alternatives for students, including those with disabilities, whose needs weren’t met in their local schools…And by empowering parents over bureaucrats, school choice challenges all schools to do better—helping all of our kids…Until equal opportunity in education is a reality for all kids—of all races, of all backgrounds, of all abilities—our work isn’t done.
Excerpts from CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/17/opinion/priebus-school-choice/index.html

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