Give parents and children choice in schools

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

In The Washington Times news article “McDonnell urges OK for tax credits for school choice” (Web, Tuesday) Virginia Delegate Kenneth R. Plum, Fairfax Democrat, implies that he is not an implacable foe of private-school choice for needy children. When public schools are “fully funded,” says Mr. Plum, advocates of corporate-tax-credit scholarships or other school-choice measures can “come back.” Then Mr. Plum and fellow solons will kindly discuss the issue with them.

However, until that wonderful day arrives when the government-run schools are absolutely and completely funded, parents must continue to wait for any possibility of choice for their children. In truth, no matter what formula bureaucrats apply, public schools never have enough money in the eyes of those who believe government has a claim on all children and tax dollars.

Besides, if public schools ever reached that mythical level of “full funding,” legislators like Mr. Plum would object to any subsidies following children to private schools of choice, because that would mean slippage from the absolutist ideal.

The reality is that public-school budgets have not declined in the states and cities that have started need-based school-choice programs over the past 20 years. When students take a scholarship and leave public schools, that eases the government burden of building classrooms and instructing students. This typically means more resources per-pupil for those who remain.

In any event, the main objective should be helping each child land in the best possible school, public or private, not propping up a bureaucratic system.


Senior fellow for education policy,

Heartland Institute


© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts