• WisPolitics


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

 6:15 PM 

Rand Paul: School vouchers integral to future of education

Declaring no one in Washington, D.C., "knows a damn thing about education," GOP U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he sees Wisconsin's voucher program and those like it as an integral part of the future.

Paul, R-Ky., told a school choice roundtable hosted by Hispanics for School Choice and the LIBRE Initiative at St. Anthony's school in Milwaukee that various online education efforts demonstrate how technology could help the best teachers reach a wider audience.

He said changes in classroom format and function aren't a threat to the role of traditional teachers.

"We need to convince teachers that we're on their side; it's not a Republican and Democrat thing," Paul said. "Teachers will be allowed to develop new types of teaching, and the ones that are successful, we'll expand upon that. ... It's more power to teachers, not less."

The possible 2016 presidential contender criticized federal oversight of education, saying each school district and state has differing needs.

"Another word for school choice is innovation ... you don't want rigidity from Washington telling you that you can't flip the class and maybe watch a video at home and then come to class for help with your homework," Paul said. "That won't happen if the controls are so rigid that they don't allow innovation."

St. Anthony's President Zeus Rodriguez said flexibility helped his private Catholic school meet the needs of students as enrollment grew over the last decade.

"It's not so much about what other people are doing; we need that flexibility to succeed with the children," Rodriguez said.

Paul expressed support for the use of public money for private and religious schools, drawing a comparison between the G.I. Bill, which can be applied toward tuition at accredited faith-based institutions, and vouchers for use at schools like St. Anthony's.

"My point is: it's not the public's money," Paul said. "I let you have some of it through taxes, but it's my money."

Calling problems with crime and violence in the nation a "crisis of faith," Paul said he would like to give parents the option of having religion play a role in education. He said government should strive to provide education that "works for everyone."

"We're talking about something fundamentally American, and that's choice," Paul said. "Nobody in Washington knows a damn thing about education."

- By Samantha Nash
For WisPolitics.com


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