McDonnell Backs School Choice Bill, Howell Provides QODJan. 18, 2011
At a news conference this morning, Governor Bob McDonnell (see news release) announced his support for Delegate Jimmie Massie’s (R-72, Henrico) legislation that would create education freedom in Virginia by providing tax credits for corporate donations to scholarship programs for private school enrollment. This is an issue The Family Foundation has worked on for years — to provide education freedom to Virginia families (see post about data supporting school choice). Delegate Massie's bill, HB 2314, is similar to programs that exist in several states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Florida. In those states, more than 100,000 students now have educational opportunities they would not otherwise have if they remained captive to failing public schools. Each of these programs began as small efforts but, once law, became extremely successful and were expanded by decisive bipartisan majorities.
At today's news conference, a bill co-patron, Delegate Algie Howell (D-90, Norfolk), and a member of the Legislative Black Caucus who lived through the Civil Rights Era, gave us our Quote of the Day in support of the bill:
I supported school choice before school choice supported me.
That's a reference to Virginia's history of segregated schools and the accompanying disparity in education between white and black students during Massive Resistance. The bill targets low income families that face especially difficult educational issues in urban schools. Delegate Howell noted his personal experience: His two grandchildren left public school to attend Saint Patrick Catholic School in Norfolk. When his son-in-law was transferred to Indiana, the children enrolled in a public school and were tested. Their scores were so far above the school district's norms, district officials wanted to meet them.
In an effort to raise awareness to and support among lawmakers, hundreds of Virginians and students are attending Family Foundation Day at the Capitol on Thursday, February 10 (click here to register or call 804-343-0010). A coalition of groups that day will sponsor a rally for education freedom in Capitol Square (and it wouldn't hurt to contact your delegates and senators now to raise their awareness).
This legislation will help low-income children receive the best education possible. Providing education freedom for parents and children fulfils the Commonwealth's promise to ensure a quality education for everyone, and noted the enormous importance of this transforming issue.
As we have noted repeatedly, momentum for education freedom is growing nationwide and in Virginia because parents and families want more opportunities. The cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all education model of the past century is inadequate for today's society. Public policies must empower families to choose the best environment that meets their children's specific needs. For some, that will be public schools; for others it will be a quality private school.
The Left Is Nervous Post Health Care VoteMar. 24, 2010
If the left is so pleased with its government takeover of the health care system, and if they are so confident the American people are falling all over themselves in unbridled joy over "free" health care, then why does President Obama feel the need to schedule a series of campaign style events around the country to drum up support for the new law? Who looks for support after the fact? Maybe because Caterpillar (Wall Street Journal) and John Deere (agrimoney.com) have said this law will cost them more than $100 and $150 million, respectively, and cause layoffs? Or maybe because Walgreens (FoxNews.com) said it will no longer accept new Medicaid customers? Unintended consequences? Not. Very much intended. Let the system go to pot, so the government will "need" to intervene yet more. Furthermore, if this law is sound constitutionally, why is there such a huff by the left — by lefty netroots types (blogs, Facebook, etc.) and by publicity seeking liberal pols (many who held a news conference at the capitol yesterday) — so upset at the legal challenges filed against the law by 14 attorneys general? (See the hysteria in the comments at the T-D article link.) If, as Delegate Jennifer McClellen (D-71, Richmond) says, that the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (Richmond Times-Dispatch) is akin to Massive Resistance (New York Times); or, as Senator Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico) says, not engaging in economic activity is actual commerce; or, as Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) says, the law suits are frivolous, then why all the angst, consternation and worry?
(Make no mistake: The opposition to the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act is a fringe minority — at least five Democrat senators voted for it, more after amendments; and 55 percent of House Democrats voted for it, including several in the Legislative Black Caucus.)
Apparently, American leftists, from the president on down, are a little nervous. In reality, for good reason. They are not accustomed to principled people fighting with vigor for the constitution, as sworn to do. Their response is a frenzy of complaint and falsity. Their actions belie their recent in-your-face celebratory confidence and giddiness.