School Choice Now Has A Voice In VirgniaJul 23, 2008
We will have more on this later, but yesterday we were part of an announcement by Delegate Chris Saxman (R-20, Staunton) that introduced School Choice Virginia, a new 501(c)(4) organization, to lobby on school choice issues. It cannot support candidates. Virginia severely lacks choices in public education. Suppose your local government drew up shopping districts and you could only shop at the grocery store in your district. Do you think the service, quality and pricing would be competitive and the products of high standard? Of course not. It would be a monopoly. That's the case in Virginia with its public education. Not all public school systems are failing to be sure. But where they are, they are failing dramatically, and the only thing that can help them is competition and reform. (For example, look at difficult it was for Richmond to get its first charter school, despite overwhelming parental approval.) Virginia needs more charter schools (which means a drastic improvement over the current law) and more freedom of enrollment within the existing structure among many other options.
We look forward to serving on School Choice Virginia's board, with organizations and individuals such as the Virginia Catholic Conference, home school leaders, Richmond School Board member and reformer Keith West, an independent, and former District of Columbia City Councilman Kevin P. Chavous, a Democrat, and one of the nation's leading school choice advocates.
While it always is exciting to see momentum growing for an issue, evidenced by the formation a new coalition, School Choice Virginia is no reason to believe education reform is anywhere closer to fruition. The General Assembly climate has not been warm to even modest school choice — Delegate Saxman's bill to create private sector funded scholarships was defeated last year — and this new group will need all the grassroots help it can get.