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Teaching Profession

Obama is “Open” to Vouchers

By Michele McNeil — February 14, 2008 1 min read

Yesterday, I asked if Democrat Barack Obama would stand up to teachers’ unions and embrace policies that they would oppose.

Well, it seems he’s doing just that.

In an eyebrow-raising statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Illinois senator said he’s a skeptic of vouchers, but that he might be open to them if studies show that’s “what’s best for kids.” (UPDATE: Watch the video here.)

The entire passage is worth repeating, since even an “openness” toward vouchers is a major departure for a Democratic presidential candidate:

Obama said he has been a strong supporter of charter schools "as a way to foster competition in the public school system." He pronounced himself a skeptic of private school vouchers, saying: "My view is you're not going to generate the supply of high-quality schools to meet the demand." Obama said he was surprised to learn from Gov. Jim Doyle that "there was no assessment process" for the Milwaukee program but indicated he might be open to supporting voucher programs if studies show they work. "If there was any argument for vouchers, it was 'Let's see if the experiment works,' " Obama said. "And if it does, whatever my preconception, you do what's best for kids."

I’m sure that as you read this, the folks at the pro-voucher Friedman Foundation and the Alliance for School Choice are assembling a binder full of studies to send Obama.