School Choice Movement Needs to Broaden the Coalition

A must-read article by Howard Rich*, chairman of the Parents in Charge Foundation, ran this weekend in the Wall Street Journal.  It explains why pursuing targeted voucher plans is a bad long-term strategy:

Broader choice plans equal broader support. You don’t have to take
Grassroots 101 to know that successful coalitions are based on
addition, not subtraction. Yet in many instances school choice
supporters have been conditioned to believe that confining the
parameters of parental choice will lead to a broader base of public
support. The opposite is true. As employee stock options and personal
savings accounts have shown, nothing motivates individuals quite like
becoming personally invested in an issue.

Supporters of school choice cannot afford to leave a single ally on
the sidelines – for Christian school parents, home school parents,
parents with special-needs children or parents who for whatever reason
aren’t satisfied with the public school they are zoned for, universal
choice plans offer a much broader base of grassroots support than more
narrowly-drawn proposals.

Rich should be commended for spearheading a new strategy in South Carolina that expands the school choice coalition and makes long-term success more likely.

Educational freedom for all is good policy and good politics.

* Howard Rich is also a Cato Institute Board member.