Focus Point - Ed Fight II

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Yesterday I talked about the sorry state of American education's reading instruction, and why the fight to improve is a local one. Today, why it's a tough fight.

Not that it has to be. For decades, catholic schools have outperformed public schools in educating poor and minority students, and now charter and voucher schools are doing the same.

But charter, choice and privately run schools confront the education establishment which opposes giving up its monopoly. Better pay for better teachers? Against it. School choice for poor minority kids. No way. Chapter one to take low-income students out of failing schools. Thumbs down - and don't look for an easy ride in the congress either, where liberals are fighting Bush's sensible reforms.

Then there's the Soviet school system in San Francisco, where the school board is about to shut down the for-profit Edison School despite its brilliant achievements because the board is philosophically opposed to for profit management.

It's bureacracy first, kids last. And that's why the local fight's always going to be a tough one.

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