This issue is where conservatives make inroads with new voters. It doesn’t require giving up any of your beliefs. It’s compassionate by virtue of being conservative, not the other way around. And, it works. It actually helps people.
Many Democrats refuse to recognize its power, stuck in the thrall of teachers unions that manage to embody the exact caricature they have of cartoonishly evil conservatives by preventing mostly poor, minority students from getting access to better schools and better lives. And, the beauty of this issue is that in embracing this cause, Republicans don’t have to be the only ones carrying the message, stepping on their own feet as their wont to do. There are a ton of eloquent, passionate kids and parents who are willing to tell their stories better than a politician ever could.
Many of them did at thousands of rallies across the country for School Choice Week. At one of those rallies, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke alongside Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, for whom I will offer a rare atta girl. Reason was there.
With those caveats, the results were substantial. Twelve years after 8th grade—i.e., by age 23-25, when most college-bound students have graduated—college students who attended charters were earning $4,400 more than college students who didn’t attend charters. Among non-college students, the charter kids were earning $3,800 more than non-charter kids.
As always, take this with a grain of salt. It’s one small study, and the methodology is so-so. But the effects are large, and suggest that experimentation with charter schools can produce valuable results.
If you’re never allowed to experiment, you never get any better.