John Stossel's 'Stupid in America'

The governor announced his plan last year and many parents cheered the idea, but school boards, teachers unions and politicians objected. PTAs even sent kids home with a letter saying, "Contact your legislator. How can we spend state money on something that hasn't been proven?"

A lot of people say education tax credits and vouchers are a terrible idea, that they'll drain money from public schools and give it to private ones.

Last week's Florida court ruling against vouchers came after teacher Ruth Holmes Cameron and advocacy groups brought a suit to block the program.

"To say that competition is going to improve education? It's just not gonna work. You know competition is not for children. It's not for human beings. It's not for public education. It never has been, it never will be," Holmes said.

Why not? Would you keep going back to a restaurant that served you a bad meal? Or a barber that gave you a bad haircut? What if the government assigned you to "your" grocery store. The store wouldn't have to compete for your business, and it would soon sell spoiled milk or stock only high profit items. Real estate agencies would sell houses advertising "neighborhood with a good grocery store." That's insane, and yet that's what America does with public schools.

Chavous, who has worked to get more school choice in Washington, D.C., said, "Choice to me is the only way. I believe that we can force the system from an external vantage point to change itself. It will never change itself from within. ... Unless there is some competition infused in the equation, unless that occurs, then they know they have a captive monopoly that they can continue to dominate."

Competition inspires people to do what we didn't think we could do. If people got to choose their kids' school, education options would be endless. There could soon be technology schools, science schools, virtual schools where you learn at home on your computer, sports schools, music schools, schools that go all year, schools with uniforms, schools that open early and keep kids later, and, who knows what else. If there were competition, all kinds of new ideas would bloom.

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