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School choice gives equal education opportunities for all

Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities school desksWhy did the first black President and the first black Attorney General sue the state of Louisiana to block school vouchers for its students? The United States Justice Department argued that the voucher system was negatively affecting racial imbalance in schools, essentially reversing integration. Yet, an overwhelming majority of the students benefitting from Louisiana’s voucher system are either black or Hispanic.

Minorities, African-Americans especially, continue to suffer from being trapped in sub-par school systems.

According to Education Week, there are 1.8 million 16-21-year-olds who have dropped out of school before receiving a diploma and almost 70 percent of those students are not working. Less than 70 percent of African-Americans students are graduating.

I am a product of school choice. As a recent law school graduate, I am convinced that my mother’s ability to choose the best schools for me prepared me for undergraduate and graduate school.

My mom sought schools that challenged me and stoked the burning desire I had for learning. She was my mother, and my teacher. I would complete my assigned schoolwork and then, her assignments. This usually resulted in me rewriting my spelling words, almost doubling the amount of time my teachers had assigned. I read several books a week and reworked every missed math problem.

But my mom was the exception to rule. She was blessed to be able to send me to the schools of her choosing. Yet so many kids aren’t as fortunate. But because of politics and posturing, most moms and dads don’t have that same freedom that my mom had.

Standing in the way of progress on education are liberal Democrats who continue to argue against a parent’s right to choose the best education for their child.

Some members of Congress like Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) fight against school choice on the one hand and they send their children to private schools on the other. Durbin sent his children to private school, and he even attended private schools himself. Even 35 percent of Congressional Black Caucus members exercise private-school choice. Yet these politicians rail against parents’ freedom to choose.

But why is that?

Allowing parents to choose where their child is educated is as American as apple pie. More choices would mean more competition and would expose unproductive, failing schools. Liberals and Democrats oppose this.

But what’s so bad about a little competition? After all, we promote the idea that our kids are working hard in school and are preparing themselves to compete for jobs in a global job market. So why not apply the same standards of competition in every school system across America?

Our education system should be equipping the next generation of leaders to be successful, contributing members of society. No President or politician should have the final say when it comes to a child’s education. That burden belongs to parents and local representatives.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character is the true goal of education.” Every parent or guardian in America should be empowered to make the choice of how his or her child is educated. Every child should know that their education is not different or less valuable just because of their neighborhood or socioeconomic status.

Our children deserve better than this. America can certainly do better than this.

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