With all the attention focused on the recall election in Wisconsin you might have missed this from Reuters. After reading it I just had to smile:
Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.
Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding.
The hope obviously is that this policy will be cost neutral - if not favor private schooling by reducing the number of over-compensated public (unionized) teachers needed. Governor Jindal had this to say:
"We are changing the way we deliver education," said Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who muscled the plan through the legislature this spring over fierce objections from Democrats and teachers unions. "We are letting parents decide what's best for their children, not government."
Novel thought there - letting the parents decide rather than government. Now you know this runs counter to all that liberals hold dear and I am amazed that Gov. Jindal got this through the legislature given the power of the teachers union. But it seems that the electorate agreed with Jindal that something - anything - had to be done given Louisiana's education performance is a consistent cellar dweller when it came to national rankings. The latest from ALEC has Louisiana coming in 49th out of 51!
So what does the opposition have to say?:
[The law] infuriates the teachers union, which is weighing a lawsuit accusing the state of improperly diverting funds from public schools to private programs of questionable value.
"Because it's private, it's considered to be inherently better," said Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. "From a consumer perspective, it's buyer beware."
Improperly diverting fund to programs of questionable value? Seriously? The state is currently FORTY-NINTH out of 51 and the teachers union is questioning the value of the new program! Oh, and I just love Monaghan's 'buyer beware' nonsense. Really? Beware of what? Having a chance to succeed?
The taxpayers have been 'buying' their children's education from the public sector for years and frankly, it sucks. Given the choice, it looks like many parents are opting for the voucher, in other words the parents are voting with their feet by leaving a failing public school system for a better chance for their children.
In both the Wisconsin and Louisiana cases, where strong executive leadership has taken on the mighty teachers unions and succeeded, gives me hope. If this works and you consider what Walker has done in Wisconsin as well creates optimism on two fronts: The first is obvious - balancing the budget and reducing taxpayer's outlay for a flawed system. The second, and in my view even more important, is it breaks the strangle hold the (mostly) liberal academia has on indoctrinating our children with their socialist views.
Exit question: Given how well this is received by the electorate, why do we need government in the education business at all? If Jindal's experiment works, a case can certainly be made to eliminate or drastically reduce education departments at all levels.
Exit question 2: Could Gov. Jindal be tapped by Romney as Education Secretary with the expressed objective of eliminating his job? Just asking.