Accuracy in Media

There has been
a major development in the State of Georgia yet the so-called mainstream
media has completely ignored it and even the alternative media hardly has
covered it. This past week Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law the
most expansive school-choice program in the
nation.

Unlike similar
programs in other States, this program has no demographic restriction. All
students are eligible for private school scholarships. The State Legislature set
the cost of the school choice budget at $50 million. If the demand is similar in
other States that amount likely will rise considerably. All pupils K-12 are
eligible.

The program is
similar to that which was enacted by the State of Louisiana and continues a
trend imposing no eligibility requirement for the scholarships. Originally only
inner-city students in failing public schools were eligible for school-choice
programs. But now Arizona, Vermont, Ohio, Maine, Illinois and
Iowa all
impose no eligibility restriction.

Robert Enlow,
Executive Director of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, in
commenting on the developments in Louisiana and
Georgia said, “The old idea of
limiting school choice based on family income is coming to an end. States are
increasingly adopting Milton Friedman’s vision of school choice for all, not
just for some. The argument that freedom is only good for some students just
doesn’t make it anymore”.

Lydia Glaize,
one of the parents who strongly supported school choice, said, “The Governor has
made the most prolific change for the State of Georgia…. Children who will receive
these scholarships will translate into fewer kids in juvenile detention, more
who will graduate and more who will wind up in the labor force. That’s a better
standard of living for the entire Georgia
community.”

The Friedman
Foundation for Educational Choice reports that with the new Georgia law, there are now 23 school choice
programs in 14 States plus the District of Columbia. Enlow said that 15 of
the programs have no family income restriction for eligibility while nine have
no demographic restriction at all. Six are restricted only in that they serve
disabled and foster-care students alone.

The effort to
pass this measure in the Legislature drew support from the Georgia Family
Council, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, the Southeastern Legal
Foundation, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Americans for Prosperity. In addition
a number of national school-choice groups weighed
in.

The Wall
Street Journal
called the
Friedman Foundation “the nation’s leading voucher advocate.” Enlow said his
group will be pushing for other States to enact school choice programs soon. In
due course the group would like to see a national voucher program passed by
Congress.

For many years
the teachers unions used scare tactics to prevent school choice programs from
enactment. They claimed that voucher programs would destroy the public school
system. In fact, faced with competition, school choice has actually strengthened
the public schools. Now that the public is able to see that union propaganda was
a big lie citizens are more willing to consider vouchers. This is especially
true now that it is widely acknowledged that the public school system is broken,
graduating young people who hardly can read or write and who fail math and
science.

At a time when
conservatives are in a funk, believing that nothing good is happening in
America, it is time to
celebrate this milestone development in Georgia.  This is a victory not just
for Georgians but for all parents who are concerned with the state of public
education in these United
States.


Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff.



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