Paul Stam: School choice, vouchers popular

April 30, 2013 

Wide support for school choice

Since I have been attacked by name in a recent editorial and letters, let me set the record straight.

I wish I could claim school choice as my idea (“Stam’s crusade,” April 20 editorial). It was initiated around 1955 by Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winner in economics. The Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation is now the main instigator of school choice legislation across the nation. In many parts of the world, governments fulfill their obligation to fund education by supporting either private schools or parents who send their children to private schools. Nations where this is a widespread practice include Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

While school choice is part of the Republican platform, statewide polls over the past eight months have demonstrated that it is equally or even more popular among Democrats and African-Americans. A poll released by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, performed by Survey USA, found that 67 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of African-Americans support “the state providing scholarship grants of around $4,000 a year to help families pay for tuition and other educational expenses at a school of their choice.” The Democratic leaders who reject this proposal demonstrate how far out of touch they are with those they claim to lead.

The claim that this drains money from public resources is curious. It drains costs from the public schools as fast as it drains resources. The end result is that traditional public schools will have slightly less money and slightly fewer students but will still receive approximately the same amount in per-pupil funding as before.

State Rep. Paul Stam

Apex

The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 37. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.

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