School Choice Battle Rages On - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

School Choice Battle Rages On

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All over this country there are battles being fought over school funding.

Many parents want to take that tax money to a school of their own choosing.

This is "National School Choice Week".

So those who favor that process are out campaigning nationwide.

We spoke with the President of that group by satellite, from a tour stop, in Topeka, KS.

Andrew Campanella says it makes sense to have schools compete and there are a lot of ways to set-up the choices.

Some policies offer open enrollment at a list of public schools, but it varies widely from state to state.

Some parents can also choose from charter, magnet or private schools.

He says the key, is for parents select the best choice for their child.

The money can be moved around in various ways.

The states can deliver vouchers to the schools, or tax credits can take the form of backpack funding.

The cash follows the child, to whatever school they attend.

Campanella says Oklahoma's scholarship program for handicapped kids, allows them to take their funding to the schools that offer the best special education classes.

But Unfortunately it was held up by public school challenges.

He says it's encouraging that the courts seem to be backing school choice.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that public funds are legal in private schools, but there are still legal issue to be resolved state to state.

Campanella says choice improves public schools, because the great ones draw kids and the others schools want to improve.

He also says education isn't about buildings, it's about the kids.

"If we can keep the focus on parents and children, and what's good for them, we can win."

Campanella also says many studies show, that school choice works.

When many inner-city kids in Washington D.C. were given choices, the graduation rate climbed to 91%.

That's 30% higher than the school they left behind.

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