I would celebrate the last provision, a sunset clause, as a chance for Virginia to get it right the second time, if not for the much greater probability that the looming demise of the program will enable choice opponents to make the program even worse in trade for a stay of execution.
If we will accept this, we will accept anything. It will not do what we expect or need in terms of expanding choice and freedom, and the hope that it will be appreciably improved in the next five years is slim at best.
Often, when I insist on higher standards in school choice policy, I am told that we must voice support because it will help some children now. Few seem to consider the hundreds of thousands of children who will not be helped in decades to come, indeed may well be harmed, because of this inadequate policy. Opportunity costs must be considered. All the children yet to be born must play into our utilitarian calculus if that is the measure we use to judge public policy.
And we should not pretend that obviously inadequate programs are bold reforms; it only serves to encourage yet more inadequate policy. We should push the conversation and educate leaders and citizens about real reform. Instead, the issue of school choice will be set aside for at least four years, as politicians point to their “accomplishment” that will help so few and provide no foundation for future reform. A roadblock to real education reform has just been passed in Virginia, and it is labeled SB 131
Article printed from Cato @ Liberty: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org
URL to article: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/a-soft-surrender-to-low-expectations/
URLs in this post:
 soft surrender: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/virginia-legislature-passes-statewide-school-choice-bill-141022793.html
 to: http://jaypgreene.com/2012/03/01/virginia-lawmakers-pass-tax-credit/
 low expectations: http://view.exacttarget.com/?j=fe5c17717263077b7316&m=fef71276756301&ls=fdf511707267007a76137376&l=fec51c787365047e&s=fe0015717766057a7c1c7075&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe2817777762017a741478
 latest case: http://choicemedia.tv/2012/02/20/virginia-senate-passes-scholarship-tax-credits/
 education tax credit program: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+ful+SB131S1+pdf
 here: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/?attachment_id=45141
 more : http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/?attachment_id=45142