John McCain Plugs School Choice, but Hard Work Happens on the Ground

Yesterday I told you about the Democrats’ national education platform. So what about the other side? I had to go to bed while it was still going on, but my mom and dad said that Republican presidential candidate John McCain gave an important speech last night. He talked about education:

Education — education is the civil rights issue of this century.

Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need…

We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.

Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parent — when it fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them.

Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have the choice, and their children will have that opportunity.

Sen. Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students.

And when I’m president, they will.

While I think he should give Barack Obama a little (not a lot, just a little) more credit for taking on teachers unions and promoting education reform, I wholeheartedly agree with what John McCain said about education. With the emphasis on choice for parents, I almost could have been the one to have helped him write that part of the speech.

There are some things someone like John McCain could do from the White House to help promote school choice, but the real work happens on the ground. An example of this kind of grassroots effort can be found right here in Colorado, where my friends in the Education Policy Center have created the first-of-its-kind School Choice for Kids website. I can’t mention it enough.