WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is frequently mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, is leaving no doubt about his position on K-12 education policy, school choice rules the day.
As the Washington Post summed it up, Paul “wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers, so that students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood or property lines.”
Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky, reportedly hosted several other Republican senators at a school choice forum this week. The agenda included discussions about charter schools and private school vouchers. Also scheduled to attend were representatives of some of the nation’s most successful charter schools and Catholic schools that accept government vouchers in Washington, D.C.
He has also been giving interviews detailing his support for broad school choice policies, and how they can positively impact American students, particularly those from lower-income minority communities.
“I’m talking about opening up all the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, whatever,” Paul was quoted as saying. “Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I’m really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind.”
Paul noted that President Obama sends his daughters to Sidwell Friends, a prestigious private school in the District of Columbia. He believes all children should be able to have such advantages, regardless of their address or socio-economic status.
He says too many minority students are stuck in sub-standard public schools with miserable academic records.
“The people being hurt aren’t the rich kids in the suburbs,” Paul said in a recent interview. “It’s poor black and brown kids in the inner city.”
Paul defended the use of government vouchers for private school tuition, and rejected the idea that government funds are being used to support religious education.
“They’re not using government money,” Paul said. “It’s our money. We’re getting back some of the money taken from us. I think when you have choice, people choose the better product. I think it’s presumptuous of anyone to question parental authority (when choosing a school).”
By Steve Gunn at EAGnews.org