Focus Point - Choice Abroad

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Well, it's official. School choice is a popular success. Just not in America.

This simple, necessary solution to our education woes is treated by too many American politicians like the plague -- an attitude that would never fly in Canada or New Zealand.

In Ontario, thanks to the pro-choice premier Mike Harris, parents can get a tax credit for sending their children to the school of their choice far more encompassing than anything proposed here. Parents get the money directly, and can choose from many private schools both secular and religious.

New Zealand, meanwhile, has had a comprehensive school choice program for a decade, a turnabout from a highly centralized bureaucratic system in which parents had little influence and there was little accountability.

Now, parents can pick any school for their children, public or private, at taxpayer expense. The size of the education bureaucracy has been reduced, and far more money is spent in the classroom than before.

Choice works in Canada, it works in New Zealand. A pity we aren't smart enough to let it work here.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Internet taxes.