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Report Card results remain discouraging

Those aligned against education reform in the United States need to explain themselves. If they can. Results out this week from the Nation’s Report Card show more dismal results among students on reading and math achievement.

Those who support reforms, including federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, need to keep up the fight for alternatives to public education, which has its benefits but also its major failings.

The Fairmont area is blessed, relatively, with good public schools and multiple parochial offerings, as well as home-schooling. But many other places across the country are not doing as well, and parents in those places need more options.

In general, states collect tax dollars, along with local districts, and the money goes into buildings and to fund classroom learning. Its a monolithic model that can work but is vulnerable to forces in society outside its control, as well as from inside, where there is constant pressure for more funding not necessarily tied to better results.

A simple alternative is to give parents a voucher that returns their tax dollars to them and allows them to send students anywhere they choose — public, private, parochial, charter, online, etc. Other options also exist, including some that reshape public education to fit modern needs.

In the end, the priority should never be the political desire to sustain and spend more on public schools. It should be freedom for families and quality education for children, in any or every form.

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