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RNC Plays Host to School Choice Debate

If any of you missed Thursday night’s MSNBC live coverage of the Republican National Convention, you missed one of the more entertaining clashes of talking heads in recent memory. After Frantz Placide, an African-American man who made it out of a horrible situation at his traditional public school, credited Jeb Bush’s opportunity scholarship program, Jeb Bush came back to ¬†podium and spoke about school choice for 10 more minutes. In the end, he recommended Mitt Romney for the Office of President based off Romney’s plans to expand school choice nationwide.

Now, if you’re reading this, hopefully you agree with everything so far. Hopefully, you understand that Placide made it out alive with the help of one of the first (and still one of the best) statewide school choice platforms in the country. Hopefully, you know that Jeb Bush is totally responsible for this. Hopefully, you also know that school choice is one of the most important issues in America today, and a candidate’s stance on it is critical.

One thing you might not understand, however, is why anyone would disagree with something as altruistic as school choice…enter Al Sharpton.

Once the speech part was over, MSNBC panned to 6 taking heads: Rachel Maddow, the host, Chris Matthews, the color anchor, and 4 other people in smaller squares who are largely forgettable save one pesky face among them. After Matthews applauded the work of Jeb Bush regarding Florida education, the Rev. Al Sharpton launched into a diatribe on how school choice legislation leaves other children behind. Hmmm..we seem to recall an equally controversial piece of legislation dealing with this, which has lost favor with educators over the years. Funny that it was the one thing on which he and his nemesis, George W. Bush, could agree. Not one to give ground, Matthews responded that competition breeds opportunity. Sharpton’s face tightened and he claimed we should “raise the whole system up.”

With what, a bailout? To see all those faces sneering at one another was reminiscent¬†of the emotions hanging on the health care debate 2 years ago. Education is a hot button issue now, and we here at American School Choice only have this to say: “It’s about time!”

Just a day ago, in fact, none other than Condoleeza Rice said that “education is the civil rights issue of our time,” echoing Romney’s words from May. Buzzwords and catch phrases are scuttling around the RNC, searching for a way to reach the popular masses, but this one has a lot of momentum behind it. Not only are there plenty of quantifiable data pointing to America’s educational woes, but the school choice issue is something that speaks to millions of families on a very personal level. Have you ever seen a voucher draft? It’s the most beautiful and heartbreaking things to witness.

The lines drawn across education are actually very similar to the lines drawn across race in America’s mid-20th Century. Why? It actually does not boil down to race this time, although race is a central issue within the school choice debate (just ask anyone in Teach for America). Nope, American education boils down to something deceptively organic and easy to miss: Class.

American education today is a form of class warfare, and we are on the cusp of the Great Revolution. The fact that a few talking heads spent their remaining air time arguing over it means nothing more than they like to hear themselves talk, but it does highlight the fact that the education issue has taken primacy over things like health care, social security, oil prices, and a bunch of other thing that don’t really touch the most important demographic for our future. Simply put, education is the basis for class structure, and only a few people recognize this despite overwhelming evidence that we are approaching a cliff…

Get your act together America, the education bubble is about to burst. Vote for the candidate that will best represent school choice in America. Tonight, that candidate was in Florida.


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