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Needed: creative options

BY BRANDON DUTCHER Published: May 18, 2009
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I agree. And though this is not what Blatt had in mind, there is one creative option that would take some of the pressure off budget writers while increasing per-pupil spending in the public schools: a school choice tax credit.

Numerous studies have shown that school choice can save money. Just two months ago, in a report prepared for the Florida State Board of Education, Paul Peterson and Martin West of Harvard’s Kennedy School and Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution wrote, "There is no fiscal reason to eliminate any school choice options currently available to students and families. On the contrary, an expansion of those options would very likely yield savings to state and local taxpayers.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has repeatedly demonstrated, and will do so again in a fiscal-impact study to be published next month, how school choice saves money.

"Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,” the proverb says, "and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.” Wouldn’t it be ironic if the teacher union’s irresponsible ploy forced legislators to save money via school choice?

Dutcher is vice president for policy at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank.