September 22 2008

One News Now: Education reform draws on competition, choice

Sabrina Schaeffer

A visiting fellow with the Independent Women's Forum says the problem with America's schools is not a lack of funding; it's a lack of competition.

According to an article published on Spectator.org, U.S. schools are being outperformed by several countries, even though those countries spend less per student. The article notes that, as recently as last year, the U.S. spent roughly $9,969 per student.
 
A study published by the National Center for Education Statistics compared high school students from various countries in various subject areas. The United States scored below average in math and science, and barely above average in reading. Just five nations -- Turkey, Mexico, Italy, Greece, and Portugal -- scored below the U.S. in these categories.
 
Sabrina Schaeffer is with the Independent Women's Forum, which also runs Women for School Choice. She believes the solution to America's educational woes is competition and choice.
 
"The fact is our primary and secondary education systems are failing children across the country, and it's going to be a serious problem that puts the whole nation at risk if we don't begin to move to a system of school choice," Schaeffer contends.
 
Educational reform, according to Schaeffer, will need to take place at the local level.

"We've seen a lot of successful programs, for instance, in Pennsylvania, in Florida, and Arizona. They all have donation tax-credit programs, which are helping a lot of low- and middle-income families. Other states have had successful voucher programs passed, which are helping...special needs children," Schaeffer adds. "So states are taking care of this at the local level, and I would encourage people to find out what's going on in their state."
 
Schaeffer contends that bringing choice and competition to the educational system could actually lower per-pupil spending while delivering a superior education.

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