A fight for good education for all, why does it have to be a fight?
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Two decades ago, while George H.W. Bush was still president, Republican governors like Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin began in earnest their long-brewing war on underperforming public schools.
Their idea — considered novel to many parents at the time though pushed by conservatives like economist Milton Friedman since 1955 — was to give parents legal permission, in the form of school vouchers, to send their children to the private secular and parochial schools of their choice.
The “school choice” movement caught fire in the 1990s and began to rack up results in both school districts and the courts, which upheld the legality of such solutions.
But under a different Bush presidency, the movement yielded to the No Child Left Behind legislation created when George W. Bush reached across the aisle to the liberal icon Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to craft an effort to salvage public schools rather than let parents abandon them. The effort caught the media’s fancy but eventually deflated when parents and teachers soured on its chronic testing requirements.