Smart Girl Nation | February 2011
Smart Girl Politics Action is proud to present our February Edition of Smart Girl Nation. The magazine is part of our commitment to sharing the voices and opinions of Conservative women. This month's edition focuses on our outreach to attendees of CPAC and our commitment to the issue of Education.
I was sadly not too surprised when the Democrat members of the com- mittee tried everything to make it sound like this organization was bad for Ohio. Most of the questions centered around making sure that the union process of certification remained intact, and that the colleges of education within the state were not being demeaned through the introduc- tion of another organization that was being viewed as a threat by some on the left. You would think the response would maybe be, “Wow! We want these kids to thrive and have more opportunity, and this sounds like a wonderful way to give them just that. Let’s work together to make this hap- pen!” That would be expecting non- partisan thought process, though, and we all know that rarely happens when it comes to a union-run program like our public schools. Unions also argue that school choice will take away dollars from the public schools, but they forget that the child is removed, as well! Depending on the state, the school could potentially have more money for each child re- maining in the school. If one agrees that children should have opportunities for a better educa- tion, the discussion turns to deciding whether charter schools or vouchers are the best option. In a 2005 study by KidsOhio.org, parents said they switched to charter schools primar- ily because of the discipline, safety, dress, individual attention, academic needs and quality of education. Of the parents interviewed, 58% stated that their child’s performance im- proved since enrolling in a charter school. Only one out of three of these households has an annual income of $50,000 or more in this survey. This should point clearly to those on the left who claim to be for the underprivileged and less fortunate that they are keeping generations of families pushed down by not allow- ing them the choice and freedom to choose another school. Education can open so many new doors and pathways for students, and they do not get that if they are attending the same failing school system through which their family members had to suffer. This also should lead all voters to reexamine which political party it is that truly supports the efforts of the middle class, and the ability for anyone to work his/her way up through society to be as successful as his/her God given talents can provide. It is very difficult to argue that the left does this, particularly on the issue of education. Charter schools are funded through public dollars, but operated privately. Vouchers are just like what you re- ceive if you are given a voucher for an airline ticket – there is a specific dollar amount tied to that voucher. Part of the discussion is whether tax dollars should go to a religious educa- tion for a family selecting a charter school for their children. Former President George W. Bush was asked in 2000 whether he believed this was a problem. His response was, “No. I don’t at all. What I have trouble with is people accepting failure, with people turning a blind eye to the fact that schools are not teaching children. And I also have trouble with the fed- eral government mandating schools systems to behave one way or the other. The best way to encourage ex- cellence is to free people to innovate. The federal government should not mandate choice and charters.” There have also been proposals for federal education dollars to become portable if a school system fails for a certain number of years, for home rule edu- cation districts that are freed of state mandates, and even President Rea- gan’s idea of providing a tax credit to families for private school tuition is back on the forefront. Reagan sought policies that “insure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.” According to The Center for Educa- tion Reform (“CER”), spending on K-12 public education has grown from $162 billion in 1982 to $543 billion in the 2009-2010 school year. Yet, we have not improved our aca- demics in our schools when com- paring test scores from decades ago (according to CER). Clearly, pouring more money into an already broken system is not working. Whether we provide tuition vouchers, scholar- ships, charter school options, public school choice or deductions and tax credits for tuition, it is necessary for us to provide these opportunities to the children who would otherwise be sentenced to spend their formative years in a failing or underperforming school. The bottom line is this: if we want our children to compete, we have to give them the best opportunity to receive an excellent education and to succeed. We cannot allow the unions to determine where our children go to school and whether they remain in a failing school. If the left believes that we have the capacity to choose whether to end a life before it is born, certainly we have the right to choose what to do with that life, its education and our tax dollars. Moreover, the objective should be providing the best education for each child. Sara Marie Brenner is an elected official and business owner in Powell, Ohio. For more information, visit www.SaraMarie- Brenner.com. Smart Girl Nation | February 2011 17