National School Choice Week
While the dominating headlines have been about Barack Obama's State of the Union address, I would be remiss if this week should pass without acknowledging the fact that it is National School Choice Week. In my mind, education is one of the five big issues that conservatives should rally behind, along with energy, securing our borders, a healthcare alternative and the Penny Plan to get government spending under control. This is why education is a part of my Conservative Solutions Caucus, which you can read here. Luckily there are some conservatives in Washington who agree. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are focusing on education. But this isn't just about improving government schools, which have held a failed monopoly over education for decades, but about improving access and choice for parents and students. Charter schools, voucher programs, and homeschooling are all options that could compete with what's become "traditional education" in your zip code-assigned government school.
We're Failing Our Students
As of right now, America's government education system is failing our students. While we spend $12,000 per student per year, we are declining in terms of academic achievement when compared to countries worldwide. The approach we've taken over the last few decades of increased government spending and more government involvement in education hasn't resulted in greater educational achievement. So why do we continue to do what we are doing? Because we are dumb and we've lacked the leadership to challenge the status quo. Studies have shown that school choice does, in fact, lead to greater academic achievement. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has a piece in National Review on this issue, citing success stories of charter schools, voucher programs, and scholarships throughout our nation. Unleashing the power of competition within our education system will only raise the level of quality, as it does with any other product or service that exists within a truly free market society.
ObamaCare: More Bad News
The bad news about ObamaCare continues to pour in. While Obama tried to make light of the situation during his State of the Union address, there are millions of Americans who have lost their coverage or have been impacted negatively in some why by his healthcare law. For example, we still have plenty of cause for concern about our privacy and the security of our personal information. According to the National Review, “At least 43 convicted criminals are working as ObamaCare navigators in California, including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes. Although some of the offenses are decades old, and although convicted criminals account for only 1 percent of the 3,729 certified enrollment counselors in the state, Californians still have good cause to be concerned about their privacy.” Forgery, burglary, domestic abuse, child abuse, welfare fraud, battery, theft and evading a police officer are among the offenses committed by people who are now handling private, sensitive healthcare information. I’d say this is all the more reason to repeal ObamaCare and give America real solutions for healthcare, as well as growing our economy and creating wealth.