School Choice & Charters

Charters & Choice News Roundup: Happy 25th Birthday to School Vouchers

By Arianna Prothero — November 21, 2014 1 min read
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This week in the Charters & Choice news roundup, we’re saying happy birthday school vouchers! (Although, admittedly, probably not everyone is celebrating.)

This school year is the 25th anniversary of one of the country’s first voucher initiatives: the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. All week long, Milwaukee Public Radio has been airing a series of stories looking at the program’s history, performance, and impact on the city’s school district. You can check out its series here.

Meanwhile, an op-ed by The Washington Post’s George F. Will defending the legality of the voucher program has been making the rounds on Twitter:

Finally, people have been remembering ‘The Mother of School Choice,’ Annette Polly Williams, the state legislator credited with creating the voucher program. She passed away Nov. 9 at age 77. I spoke with Howard Fuller, her friend and colleague, about Williams’ contributions:

I do not think there would be a modern day parent choice movement without Polly Williams. When Polly took the stand that she took in 1988, as hard as the discussion was about parent choice today, in '88 being a black Democrat saying 'I support vouchers,' that was an unbelievably brave stand." You can read the full Q&A here.

Ever wanted to ask a homeschooling parent why they do it? Well, now is not quite your chance, but you can listen to others ask Ben Hewitt, an un-schooling dad who recently authored a book on the subject, on this radio call-in show from WBUR Boston. It will be 20 minutes of your time well-spent.

And now for the kicker...

Jaden and Willow Smith, the starlet-offspring of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, wax poetic on education in an interview with The New York Times.

JADEN: Here's the deal: School is not authentic because it ends. It's not true, it's not real. Our learning will never end. The school that we go to every single morning, we will continue to go to. WILLOW: I went to school for one year. It was the best experience but the worst experience. The best experience because I was, like, "Oh, now I know why kids are so depressed." But it was the worst experience because I was depressed.

If you see a good story you think should be included in the Charters & Choice weekly news roundup, tweet it to me @ChartersNChoice.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.