Keith West, the current 7th District school board representative (and who is not standing for re-election), is a new board member of the advocacy organization School Choice Virginia, joining representatives of “church schools, the Virginia Catholic Conference, home schoolers and the Family Foundation of Virginia“. SCV supports legislation that would offer tax credits to individuals and organizations that make contributions “for scholarships to allow students to transfer out of their school district to public, parochial or private schools”. The RTD supports the idea; here is a counter response by 4th district school board candidate Bert Berlin.
Below is West’s response when prompted to explain the appeal of this group, his take on the Family Foundation of Virginia, and how school competition could be helpful to already struggling public schools:
First off, I don’t know anything about the Family Foundation of Virginia. I was contacted by delegate Chris Saxman, a longtime advocate for school choice, and asked to be on the board. It’s a nonpartisan group. Another member is head of Democrats for School Choice.
My entire position is that the public schools aren’t going to reform themselves. There is not a single urban school system in this country delivering the education needed by the students. As some point we’re going to have to quit doing the same ole thing hoping it will work, and try something different. School choice won’t lead us to educational utopia, but what it will do is provide competition to the public schools and give justice to disadvantaged students forced to go to schools not doing the job.
School choice started nearly two decades ago as a cause of the right. That is quickly changing as urban dwellers are realizing that their clinging to government operated schools are doing little good.