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Local Buzz Growing Around Douglas County School Choice Reform Proposals

Update, 11/9: Douglas County’s choice proposals have been noticed east of the border (the Colorado border, that is). A blogger at Kansas Education notes:

…why are so many private schools religious ones? The answer. As a parent, you’re probably already paying taxes to support a school district to which you can send your child. What’s going to motivate you to pay tuition on top of that? Religious faith is one compelling reason.

Let parents take some of the money spent on behalf of their child to a private school, and you’ve expanded the range of choices for those parents. Isn’t that a good thing? Most Americans like having more choices rather than fewer.

Update, PM: A great resource I overlooked is this Douglas County Choice Task Force FAQ sheet (PDF). Find out why the task force exists, what it’s been up to and what’s coming next.

I’d like to think it was my Friday blog post about Douglas County’s private school choice proposal that fired up everyone. While I may be just a little tyke, I’m not that naive! Anyway, let the discussion (and the good times) roll….

On Saturday the Denver Post’s Jeremy Meyer followed up with a second straight front-page piece, more favorably balanced than the first. It also shed some more light on the discussion, including some informed national perspective:

Douglas County could be the first wealthy, high-performing district to introduce vouchers, said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute.

“It’s unusual,” he said. “If families in Douglas County right now find themselves being asked to send their children to public schools that are promoting values and norms they find offensive, if we allow them a way to be satisfied with their kids’ education, it strikes me as an eminently sensible way to approach the problem.”

Good to see the venerable Rick Hess weigh in. Still, some will declare that Douglas County’s choice proposal is a sign that the sky is falling. Fortunately not the major voices on the state’s largest newspaper. Denver Post columnist Vince Carroll dispels the anti-choice mythology, while the editorial board welcomes the debate and says: “Why not talk about vouchers?”

Some major Denver radio hosts are saying “Why not?,” too. Dan Caplis spent a lot of time talking it up on Friday, and Mike Rosen is discussing it this morning. As much as I like to, though, I can’t claim the credit for all the attention it’s getting.