As the Lenten season draws to a close, the Kentucky legislature has managed to find one more way to sit on the sidelines while the rest of the country passes by before Easter Sunday.
Yesterday, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed Gov. Bobby Jindal’s school voucher expansion by a vote of 60-42. This comes just one day after the Louisiana Senate passed the motion 24-15. The voucher program – modeled after the innovative free market ideas of Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman – will fund students forced to attend one of New Orlean’s failing public schools to be educated at a private school instead. These sorts of schools are regulated by the invisible hand of the marketplace, and that’s why they work for students.
Louisiana’s school voucher program will be second in scope only to neighboring Indiana – and the Bayou State will be one of only 18 states to enact private school choice legislation. Suffice to say, Kentucky is not one of those 18 other states. In fact, Kentucky is one of only a handful of states in the nation to have zero functional school choice legislation of any kind. In Kentucky, if the school to which an underprivileged kid is assigned is at the bottom of the barrel, the chances of getting out are slim to none unless Mom and Dad want to sell the house.
Meanwhile, underprivileged kids in Louisiana have what those in Kentucky don’t – a fair chance for a high-quality education.
With the 100th birthday of Milton Friedman rapidly approaching on July 31st, Kentucky parents should keep in mind one of his most brilliant humanitarian ideas – the school voucher program. Like in Louisiana, the voucher program could open up possibilities for thousands of underprivileged kids in the Bluegrass State.
But for now, Kentucky continues to sit on the sidelines and watch as Louisiana zooms on by.