by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In the September issue of the Phi Delta Kappan, Joan Richardson argues that the recent PDK poll indicates that Republicans are winning the education debate.
When the editor looks at the PDK/Gallup Poll numbers, she sees an American public that largely has been won over by reform ideas first generated by Republicans a few decades ago — ideas they have steadily nurtured ever since. This year, we learned that Americans favor charter schools (70%), favor allowing parents to choose a child’s school (74%), believe unionization is bad for public school education (47%), and that natural talent is more important than college training (70%). Any way you slice it, those ideas have been part of the Republican reform agenda.
Of course, I would hesitate to credit “Republicans” for these changes in public opinion. There are plenty of Republican politicians that thwart efforts to expand school choice or approve legislation that increases union influence. Rather, state-based organizations like the John Locke Foundation and national groups like the Friedman Foundation have worked for decades to nurture and champion these so-called “Republican” reform ideas.
Republicans do politics; we take care of ideas.