We are blessed to live in the greatest nation on earth. America is a country rich with opportunities, an offspring of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” specified by our Founders as being among our “certain inalienable rights.”

Education is one such opportunity our nation provides its citizens, enabling even those born into low- income homes to rise above such circumstances and pursue their dreams in life. However, it is evident that the goal of equal opportunity for all is not being met today because there is not equal access to a quality education.

I propose as a solution to this problem “Complete Open Enrollment.” We know that competition is the greatest incentive in the free market system, and likewise, the same is true for schools. Public schools, charter schools, private schools and even home schools should compete against each other for students. Parents should be able to pick their child’s school based not only on academics, but also on their own values. The evidence is clear that this approach produces improved quality in both public and private schools.

In this program, all schools accepting public money would be held to the same standards through annual exit exams. To prevent fraud, teachers could not give exit exams to their own students. Academic rankings of all schools would be provided to the public. Home-schooled students would be given exams by third parties and private schools would need to pass the exam or have a higher percentage passing as the public schools to remain in the program.

Schools would receive funding based on the number of students enrolled, with the public schools accepting all students in their district. Students interested in attending a school outside their district would be able to compete for open seats. Academic achievement, conduct and participation would be factors determining the selection of students for open seats, with the exclusion of race. Private schools could also use religious and morals beliefs as factors in determining which students to select. Gender could also be a factor as long as both males and females had access to a private education within the area.
Schools would be paid regularly on a per-student basis and parents who home-schooled would be reimbursed after their child passes the exit exam. Private schools and parents of the home-schooled would pay taxes on the funds received.

If this plan were implemented, the result would be better education for our children, the return of God and morality in some of our schools and increased tax revenues to the government. The resulting benefits would be a reduction in crime, the strengthening of families, and an overall improvement in the lives of Americans. In addition, we could eliminate the burdensome Federal Department of Education and stop the immoral indoctrination of our children, leaving the education standards to each of the states.

Logically, there is no reason to oppose such a plan. It has large support with all races. But you can be sure teachers unions would not like the accountability involved and Democrats who receive money from the teachers unions also would not support it.

Parents who want the best education possible for their child would support the plan and in one generation, America could become one of the world leaders in education. And, after all, isn’t that what we all want?

By Bill Marcy
Candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, Mississippi