Victory for school choice!

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited ruling that low-income children in Cleveland can use publicly funded vouchers, worth up to $2,250 per child, to attend secular or religious private schools. The decision makes good on the promise made nearly 50 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education. The message from the High Court is that parents of all income levels have the right to choose the safest and best schools for their children.

Wealthier families can already exercise choice through decisions about where to live or by paying private school tuition. Now low-income parents will finally have the freedom to decide how and where their children are educated. If a school doesn’t work for a child, she should not be forced to attend it by government edict. As this ruling makes clear, public education does not have to mean limiting children to government-run schools.

Now that the Court has given the green light for school choice, Oregonians can create programs that empower parents to use public education dollars to send their children to better schools-public or private, religious or secular.

Cascade Policy Institute has helped hundreds of Portland area low-income students attend the schools of their choice through the privately funded Children’s Scholarship Fund – Portland. But thousands of Oregon families applied for the scholarships, and calls continue to pour in from local parents who desperately need educational opportunities for their children. These families have just gained a voice the education establishment will no longer be able to ignore. Coming just in time for Independence Day, this ruling is truly a victory for liberty and equality in America.

Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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