Condoleezza Rice appears to have notched positive reviews for her speech at last night’s Republican National Convention, at least within her own party. While her remarks were, not suprisingly, heavy on foreign policy, she also used the big stage to tout school choice. It wasn’t her first pass at the topic.
Rice, who served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in George W. Bush’s administration, kept her discussion of education pretty brief and pretty broad. She said that historically, if you were an American student you knew that the “greatest ally in controlling your response to your circumstances has been a quality education.”
Yet today, she said, the picture is often quite different. "[W]hen I can look at your zip code and I can tell whether you’re going to get a good education, can I honestly say it does not matter where you came from, it matters where you are going?” Rice asked.
In addition to raising academic standards, “we need to give parents greater choice,” she said, “particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.”
Last month Rice sounded similiar themes at a function in honor of the late Milton Friedman, Godfather of free-market economics and private-school vouchers. Rice was a top administrator at Stanford University when Friedman was a senior fellow there.
At that forum, she also likened choice to a civil right, and praised the “belief that free markets and free people will own the future,” according to an account posted by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
Rice has publicly ventured into the education arena on other occasions, such as when she co-chaired a panel that examined the importance of education to U.S. national security.
Some Republicans have speculated that Rice could be a future GOP presidential candidate. If so, some pieces of her education platform seem fairly well defined.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.