| September 20, 2012

Educational freedom marches on

With enrollment surging, the Tulsa World reports, Town & Country School is expanding.

Town & Country, a private, first-through-12th-grade school that focuses on students with learning disabilities, attention disorders, autism and Asperger's syndrome, bought the former Tulsa Public Schools Fulton Teaching and Learning Academy building, 8906 E. 34th St., for $1.5 million after it was declared surplus property and put on the market as part of the Project Schoolhouse initiative. …

Reasons for the dramatic increase [in enrollment] are the recent acceptance of children with Asperger's syndrome, as well as the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program, which uses public education funds to help send special-needs children to private schools.

[School director Loretta] Keller said the scholarship program has had a “huge impact” on Town & Country, and the school has seen a 30 percent increase in enrollment since the law was passed in 2010.

Taking note of that $1.5 million purchase, The Oklahoman observed that, “rather than harming public education, the scholarship law is expanding opportunity for children who need help the most, and its ripple effect is boosting funds for Tulsa public school students. This is a win-win scenario that's a cause for celebration, not for litigation.”

Oklahoma’s not the only state where school-choice policies are rejuvenating private-sector schools. Similar stories have appeared this year in The Wall Street Journal (“Vouchers Breathe New Life Into Shrinking Catholic Schools”) and in WORLD magazine, which reported that “new voucher and tax credit programs in several states are helping Christian students and schools turn corners.”

People who are surprised by all this may not be aware just how much public education is changing in this country. Increasingly, “public education” is coming to mean “educating the public”—regardless of where that education takes place.

For example, are you aware that more than half of Indiana’s student population is eligible for school vouchers? Same with Louisiana—more than half of their students now qualify for vouchers. In Florida, 43 out of every 100 students participate in some sort of school choice—they’ve chosen something other than their bureaucratically assigned (based on geography) public school.

Educational freedom marches on.

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