NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Governors Seek Vouchers For Students

April 9, 1999

Education specialists say that the real activity aimed at recharging America's education batteries is taking place at the state level. A number of governors are shaking up the establishment with a variety of alternatives to academically- challenged public schools.

  • A plan by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) to award $4,000 scholarships to students whose schools flunk statewide standards two years in a row has already passed the state House and Senate approval is likely soon.
  • Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) wants to make about 149,000 low-income students in the state's six most urban counties eligible for scholarships worth $4,000 a year in a five- year pilot program -- but the political outlook is uncertain.
  • In Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R) proposes a five-year pilot program which would increase the income eligibility for vouchers to $75,000 a year from $15,000 -- at which time some 176,000 students in six counties and nine cities would be eligible.
  • Other governors in states such as New Mexico and Arizona are supporting vouchers and other dramatic education reforms.

Observers say that whether all such efforts will initially succeed against the adamant opposition of teachers' unions is uncertain. But the trend toward school choice cannot be denied, since the alternative is more of the same mediocre to wretched public schools and college freshmen who cannot read.

Source: Editorial, "Do-Something Governors," Wall Street Journal, April 9, 1999.

 

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