School Choice is an important issue. Advocates for freedom, whether they be conservative, libertarian or even liberal, should support the principle of freedom to choose the best education available. Parents and their kids should be able to select their preferred method of education, especially if area public schools are providing inadequate services. Among the alternatives to public schools are charter schools, which is something Virginia needs more of.
This session the General Assembly will vote on an amendment to the Virginia Constitution which would allow the commonwealth to create more charter schools (HB3, linked here). This amendment passed last session and if it passes again this session, it will be offered as a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. And with 2016 being a presidential election year, turnout will be up creating a solid mandate for the results.
This is an important amendment, which deserves to be brought to the people. Last session the Democrats voted against this. They often oppose School Choice because of teachers’ unions and their donation money. The Republicans in the General Assembly support School Choice because they support the principle of limited government and freedom to choose the best available education for all citizens. A point the Democrats just can’t seem to understand is best described by Matthew Lynch writing for The Edvocate; “[Charter schools] must make some promises in their contracts in order to stay open. If these schools of choice habitually do not reach their goals, they close. Can the same be said of public schools?” When a school fails and needs to close down it is a really big deal when that school is the only school in town. The necessity of education then keeps terrible schools open when there is no alternative. Charter schools must perform in order to stay open and public schools will not be in any danger of closing should this amendment pass. Everyone wins, especially the kids.
Delegate Jim LeMunyon lays out the details of this along with a brief history behind why an amendment is the required remedy in an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, linked here.
Let your Delegate and State Senator know that you support this amendment to be placed on your ballot.