September 1, 1999
Education observers report the voucher movement in America is fast gaining champions and building up political steam. No longer are experiments confined only to Milwaukee and Cleveland. Florida has a program to furnish vouchers to students in failing schools. Maine and Vermont have limited voucher programs where public schools are unavailable.
Private groups are joining in. The Children's Educational Opportunity (CEO) America Foundation awarded nearly 50,000 vouchers this year through 68 affiliated programs. The Children's Scholarship Fund has awarded 40,000 vouchers.
Arizona, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota are offering tax credits to parents who want to get their children out of public schools, and into private ones.
There are other strong signs that pro-choice momentum is building:
- Parents groups were scheduled to hold candlelight rallies last night in a number cities to show their support for Cleveland's voucher program -- which had been thrown into jeopardy by a recent court ruling.
- Cities in which rallies were to be held included: Winston- Salem, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Escambia County, Fla.; Mackinac, Mich., and Milwaukee, Wis.
- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has called for school vouchers based on school performance.
- A group in Lansing, Mich., is collecting in excess of 300,000 signatures needed to propose an amendment to the state constitution to allow direct and indirect public aid to religious entities.
Although legislatures in Pennsylvania, Texas and New Mexico rejected school choice plans this year, supporters are vowing to continue the fight.
Source: Tamara Henry, "Florida Pupils Teach Nation About Vouchers," USA Today, September 1, 1999.
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