“Saving Our Schools” or Maintaining the Status Quo?

Rachel Sheffield /

If you happened to be in Washington, D.C., last weekend, you may have run into the “Save Our Schools Rally”—perhaps more accurately titled “Maintain the Status Quo in Education Rally.”

The folks over at Reason TV were on hand to talk with participants of the rally and created this short video (language warning) that highlights the left’s misunderstanding of the problems in America’s education system today.

For example, Matt Damon, who spoke at the rally, scoffs at the idea of providing incentives to high-performing teachers or firing poorly performing teachers. Yet great teachers should be rewarded and encouraged in their efforts. Likewise, schools should not be required to keep teachers who fail to live up to expectations. However, the types of policies so often supported by those on the left protect underperforming teachers, and that does nothing to help children or to professionalize the teaching field.

According to another participant at the rally, the answer to improved schools is “billions” more in education spending. Perhaps what she doesn’t realize is that for decades, the United States has been pouring billions into education, with little to no improvement in student achievement. However, this fact seems to elude politicians who, like this demonstrator, act on the belief that throwing endless amounts of money into a failing school system will somehow fix it.

Instead of maintaining the same failed policies of previous decades, policymakers must look to reforms that empower parents and students, such as school choice. Not only does choice allow families to make the decisions about a child’s education, but it incentivizes schools to improve.

Thankfully, unlike those who marched on Washington last weekend, states across the nation are marching forward to implement choice in education, so much so that 2011 has been dubbed the “Year of School Choice.” Rather than maintain a failed status quo, these new policies give students greater opportunity for the best education possible.

To learn more about the exciting school choice advances across the country in 2011, visit Heritage’s Choices in Education page.