School Choice

Choose Your Own Education

When it comes to education policy, Sen. Ted Cruz is adamantly pro-choice.

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Ted Cruz
Reason TV

When it comes to education policy, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) is adamantly pro-choice. In an interview at the National School Choice Week conference in Houston, the first-term senator spoke with Reason TV's Todd Krainin about failing schools, helping kids, and why both Democrats and Republicans are blowing it on education reform (click here for the video, or see it below).

Q: Where is the school choice movement now?

A: One of the great strengths of the movement is that it's no longer theoretical. We are seeing school choice programs bloom all over the country, seeing actual evidence that school choice works, that it expands the educational opportunities for kids who are struggling. The data are now quite compelling that the kids who exercise options to go to different educational opportunities-their outcomes are better, their math scores are better, their reading scores are better, their college entrance is better. But fantastically, the public schools are being strengthened by public choice as well.

Q: We look at places like Houston as a great success story for choice, but really we're only talking about 20 percent of kids who have that kind of opportunity.

A: There is a political failure here. Democrats, a great many of them, are almost unalterably opposed to school choice programs because the teachers unions are opposed to them. The teachers unions are such an important political army for the Democratic Party that very few Democratic politicians have the courage to embrace choice if it means risking the wrath of the teachers unions. On the Republican side, unfortunately, there's far too much apathy. There are far too many Republicans representing suburban districts where, frankly, the education systems are pretty good, where their attitude is: "Gosh, what's all the fuss about? The kids in my district have great educational opportunities." So you have a dynamic where [there are] two parties, neither one of which is stepping up in a big way to champion choice.

Q: I've heard a lot about charters, but I hear very little about vouchers. What's happening?

A: I am a tremendous fan, when it comes to school choice, of all of the above: of charters, of tax credits, and of scholarships and vouchers. I think we need to do everything we can to empower low-income kids.

Q: Critics would say it's not the schools that are failing; it's the fact that we have so much poverty in America. They say all the tinkering with school choice isn't going to make much difference.

A: But the evidence has completely disproven that. We've seen-in school choice programs that have gone into incredibly low-income neighborhoods, incredibly low-income areas-kids that in other schools are left with no hope and opportunity who are succeeding and thriving.

Q: It's no secret that the Republicans have a little bit of a minority problem. What's the best, most effective way to reach out to minority voters? Do you think school choice is an option for Republicans?

A: If Republicans want to do better among minority voters, among Hispanic voters, among African-American voters, we need to champion opportunity every minute of every day. And there is no more transformative policy than school choice. Republicans should be going into minority neighborhoods and saying, "We are fighting for your children, to give your kids a better hope, a better opportunity, because every one of your kids deserves a fair shot at the American dream." And you know what? I'd be thrilled if Democrats came into those districts and did the exact same thing.

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  1. Here is what Alan Dershowitz, a very liberal law professor at Harvard, has to say about Ted Cruz.

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas): “Off-the-charts brilliant. And you know, liberals make the terrible mistake, including some of my friends and colleagues, of thinking that all conservatives are dumb. And I think one of the reasons that conservatives have been beating liberals in the courts and in public debates is because we underestimate them. Never underestimate Ted Cruz. He is off-the-chart brilliant. I don’t agree with his politics.”

    Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz ranks Sen. Ted Cruz among the school’s smartest students, adding that the Canada-born Texan can run for president in 2016.

    Cruz was a “terrific student,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller. “He was always very active in class, presenting a libertarian point of view. He didn’t strike me as a social conservative, more of a libertarian.”

    1. I know someone who has know Cruz personally for 15 years and has worked with him at times.

      He says Cruz is the real deal and nothing about his public persona is phony.

      He describes him as a man of principles.

  2. If I’m a Hillary supporter, this guy is the only Republican who has me even slightly worried about 2016.

    1. I think Rand should also worry the Hillary supporters. He can kill her on foreign policy.

      1. My opinion on Rand’s presidential chances is much less optimistic than the average Reasoner’s.

        If I supported Hillary, I’d obviously be salivating for the chance to run against Jeb Bush. But Rand might be my second choice: just paint him as a plagiarist with “extreme” views and a crazy father.

        1. He’d paint Hillary as a war-monger and surveillance enablist. That being said, I think Amash might be better than either Rand or Cruz. No baggage and minority cred.

          1. What baggage does the hispanic minority Cruz have ?

        2. If he gets the nomination it’s over. The GOP will hold their nose and vote for Paul, because they’re too committed to team politics to vote their conscience.

          just paint him as a plagiarist with “extreme” views and a crazy father.

          That goes as far as painting Hillary as a thief and liar for her illegal business deal, i.e. not very far at all IMO.

  3. My view of Cruz has improved substantially.

  4. A: If Republicans want to do better among minority voters, among Hispanic voters, among African-American voters, we need to champion opportunity every minute of every day. And there is no more transformative policy than school choice. Republicans should be going into minority neighborhoods and saying, “We are fighting for your children, to give your kids a better hope, a better opportunity, because every one of your kids deserves a fair shot at the American dream.” And you know what? I’d be thrilled if Democrats came into those districts and did the exact same thing.

    What a radically partisan monster.

  5. kids who exercise options to go to different educational opportunities-their outcomes are better, their math scores are better, their reading scores are better, their college entrance is better

    Utilitarianism is for cowards.

    1. And people who want to actually make progress at the political level.

    2. Utilitarianism is for cowards.

      Yes, but I would qualify this with utilitarianism is for moral cowards. Utilitarianism is abjectly immoral.

  6. I’d like to think that Alberta’s education reforms in 1994 put it way ahead of the continent and acted as the beachhead for much of the current charter progress.

    http://oldfraser.lexi.net/publ…..osetti.pdf

  7. Of course the people who exercise choice see better results – there’s selection bias at work. Smarter people have their smarter kids leave.

    1. That is the pat response of education monopoly and it’s sycophants and completely ignores the reality that people are individuals with different aptitudes and learning styles such that a variety of options will leave everyone better off. In short, that one size does not fit all.

      1. Of course the people who exercise choice see better results – there’s selection bias at work. Smarter people have their smarter kids leave.

        True. There’s always going to be dregs in society. But the current school system, especially in the inner cities, is designed to turn out dregs. That’s its intended purpose.

        1. It seems to have adapted well to the very unintelligent students, then.

          1. You’re putting the cart before the horse there. This is the fourth or fifth generation of centralized government schooling. It’s not designed to produce independent thinkers or self-motivating types. It was designed to produce people who would serve as industrial workers or as administrators in a bureaucratized world. Being a clerk in big government or a big corporation is pretty much the same deal. That’s what they train for, that’s what they produce.

            I work in education. The teachers and administrators make a concerted effort to stamp out individual expression, to punish self-defense, to redirect entrepreneurial impulses into collectivist directions.

            They banned Pokemon cards when I was a kid, because of what we did with them. We traded them. There was a thriving market. It had to be crushed, because a thriving market is anathema to the people running the school system. It puts dangerous thoughts in the heads of the kids.

  8. of the movement is that it’s no longer theoretical. We are seeing

  9. I saw a recent report where DeVos likened school choice to a parent choosing clothing for their child. That, like equating it with ride services, shows how completely out of touch she is with the realities of “real life”.

    In real life, choices are quite limited by a number of factors. One factor is income. If a family has little income, they have few choices in life. Their choices on where to purchase clothing for their children are limited to the stores in their locale, specifically to the area they can access with limited transportation. Often, their choices are limited to thrift stores rather than the local Wal-Mart, even, because the limited funding available goes further at the thrift store than a retail store, even a low cost store. Parents with higher incomes have more choices overall. In terms of buying clothing for their children, they can choose to shop at a local thrift store, but that is not their only option. They can also choose higher end department stores or exclusive boutiques. As paper writing service writers state, those choices are not in the reach of all families, even if you hand out vouchers that partially cover the cost of them. How is a lower income family going to even get to the so-called choice with limited transportation options? …………………………….

  10. ……………………………. Which brings us to the Uber, Lyft, Taxi choices: really? You think lower income folks are using any of these transportation options? How about the bus? How about walking? Most lower income families look at using any transportation besides the city bus as a luxury that cannot be afforded. Again, to equate choice in education to transportation options shows how genuinely out of touch DeVos is from the real world faced by so many people in our country.

    School choice is a myth. It is not something that is available to the vast majority of our nation’s population and those who truly benefit from choice options are those of middle class and higher socioeconomic statuses.

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