Millennial parents are right to support school choice

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This November, Arizona voters will decide whether the state's parents should get to choose what education is best for their children. Arizona has long been working to give parents this choice. In 2011, it became the first state to implement Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for select families, to help them attain academic excellence. Just last year, the Grand Canyon State became the first state to make ESAs available to all families. This year, however, Arizona voters will be voting on a ballot referendum to decide whether the ESA expansion will continue.

Millennials could play a significant role in making that decision. Not only are millennials a considerable voting bloc, they are also becoming parents. When it comes to their children's education, Millennials know what they want: school choice.

And they have good reason.

With ESAs, parents can decide to enroll their children in online classes, private school, community college, or homeschool—whatever they feel is best—without fearing that they will be unable to afford these choices. When a parent withdraws a child from public school, ESAs allow parents to use a government-issued debit card to use the child's public, per-pupil funding to cover authorized educational costs such as tuition for online classes, private schools or community colleges, or homeschool curricula.

Other forms of school choice offer similar benefits. Charter schools for example, are established by independent innovators but receive public funding in return for reporting and accountability requirements. Similarly, voucher programs allow parents to use a portion of their child's public per-pupil funding to help cover the cost of tuition at a preferred private school.

These programs are truly improving student performance.

These programs are truly improving student performance.

In Milwaukee, school choice students are more likely to enroll in college and remain in college than their public school peers, according to a study by the Urban Institute. Students in Florida's program are more likely to enroll in college than their peers by almost 15 percent, according to the Urban Institute, and in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Education found that school choice vouchers improved reading levels by an equivalent of 3.1 months of learning when compared to public school reading levels.

Unlike the school choice programs in Milwaukee, Florida, and DC, which are available only to qualifying disadvantaged and minority students, New Orleans' program is available to everyone. Since the program's birth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, average student performance improved by 15 points, according to the Education Research Alliance, and African-American students are now outperforming their peers in statewide assessments and graduation rates, according to New Schools for New Orleans.

School choice is also improving academic performance abroad. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests 15-year olds around the world in science, mathematics, and reading every three years. According to data from PISA 2015 and EdChoice, 70 percent of the countries that outperformed the United States in reading offer school choice programs. The same is true for 65 percent of countries who outperformed the U.S. in science, and for 57 percent of countries who outperformed us in mathematics.

It's no surprise, then, that school choice programs are popular in the U.S. A 2017 Beck Research survey found that 68 percent of Americans support school choice programs.

Support among millennials is even more robust. The Beck survey found that three-quarters of millennials favored school choice.

Critics, however, condemn choice programs for reducing academic performance and for promoting segregation.

Some studies find that school choice programs reduce academic performance because they do not offer real choice. The The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) studied 72 countries and concluded that regulatory barriers preventing schools from offering different perspectives, curricula, or teaching styles, render choice meaningless.

The Education Research Alliance study in New Orleans echoed these findings, noting that school leaders there believed a critical reason for their success was the system's flexibility, especially in personnel management, allowing leaders to hire and fire teachers as they felt best, free from state constraints and union contracts.

Absent the flexibility underpinning school choice, we should not expect to see its advantages.

Absent the flexibility underpinning school choice, we should not expect to see its advantages.

As for segregation, the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution found that school choice programs are more likely to be located in areas with greater need. Therefore, the appearance of segregation is no surprise. Brookings suggested a better measure of segregation is to compare changes in community demographics over time to changes in school demographics. Using this measure, Brookings found no meaningful relationship between segregation and school choice.

Even in New Orleans' universal school choice systems, where critics claimed that selective schools would pick high-achieving students and leave disadvantaged and minority students behind, Brookings found no increases in segregation, and 71 percent of students, including disadvantaged and minority students, were accepted into their first choice schools.

Millennial parents can expand on these developments. They care deeply about diversity. In employment, they look for companies that practice diversity, and they shop with brands that reflect their values, even when cheaper or more convenient brands are available. As schools compete for our dollars they will be rewarded for reflecting our values, driving them and their competitors to similarly pursue diversity and excellence.

Millennials certainly don't have all of the answers, but with school choice they do see an opportunity to do better for their children than the status quo did for us. Now it's up to voters and our politicians to help us take it.

Kristiana Bolzman is a writer for Young Voices, and works at a free market think tank in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be found on Twitter @KristianaBolzmn.

Confirming Kavanaugh: Welcome to the #MeToo era

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Welcome to the #MeToo era of Supreme Court justice confirmation.

Last Thursday, Senator Dianne Feinstein disclosed the existence of a secret letter, written by an anonymous woman alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school in the 1980s.

Yesterday, there was a major twist in this story that everyone who follows Leftist strategy should've seen coming: the anonymous woman suddenly revealed herself to be Christine Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California. She's a registered Democrat and has donated to political organizations. But she pinky-swears that it has nothing to do with her coming forward with this story just one week before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh.

RELATED: THIS is the man plotting to stand in Brett Kavanaugh's way of the Supreme Court

Christine Ford spilled the exclusive beans to The Washington Post because they believe that "Democracy dies in darkness." And of course, if there's anything that Kavanaugh hopes to accomplish on the Supreme Court, it's murdering democracy.

Ford told The Post that during a high school party, a drunk Brett Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming.

She said:

I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.

There is no indication that she reported such a harrowing attack to the police.

Kavanaugh unequivocally denies the accusations. The White House released a letter signed by 65 women who say they knew Kavanaugh in high school and vouch for his character. But it won't matter. The Democrats will get their circus this week and Kamala Harris and Cory "Spartacus" Booker will get their chance to remind everyone to vote for them for president in 2020 because only Democrats like women.

It's virtually impossible to prove or disprove her claim. But the political timing of the story drains its credibility.

Christine Ford might be telling the absolute truth about this incident with Kavanaugh. She might also be making up the whole thing for politics sake. Problem is, it's virtually impossible to prove or disprove her claim. But the political timing of the story drains its credibility. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the federal bench by the Senate in 2006. Where was Ford's dramatic story then?

Last year this worked to de-rail Roy Moore's senate campaign, so why not try the same tactic with Kavanaugh? Especially since it perfectly serves the Left's narrative that Kavanaugh plans to destroy women's rights.

Truth doesn't stand a chance when it's up against this kind of hysteria.

Unprecedented: You'll never believe who just snubbed Obama

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Somewhere, in some dark newsroom, an age-old editor is levitating, eyes glowing like radioactive soil. Because an unprecedented event has taken place, right in front of our eyes, a puzzling miracle, something never before seen in journalism: The Associated Press criticized Barack Obama.

Yes, friends, you read that right. The AP guard has turned against their wizard leader. The army has mutinied against their commander... you get the point. The AP has always loved Obama, like they have a crush on him. It's more of an obsession, really.

RELATED: The AP's love affair with Antifa is partisanship cloaked as news

They've always stored up their animus and directed it at one person: President Trump—well, Trump and everyone around him—going so far as to mock First Lady Melania's hat on one occasion. They blatantly insulted her fashion and appearance, all the while championing social justice, immigration and women's rights, but that's another conversation for another day.

Even the article's title is salty: "AP FACT CHECK: Obama doesn't always tell the straight story." We'd all just gotten used to headlines like "AP FACT CHECK: Trump ruins America" or "AP FACT CHECK: Reality star embarrasses country again" or "AP FACT CHECK: Orange man bad."

Here's the opening line of the article:

Former President Barack Obama's recent denunciation of President Donald Trump's treatment of the press overlooks the aggressive steps the Justice Department took to keep information from the public during his administration. Obama also made a problematic claim that Republican "sabotage" has cost 3 million people their health insurance.

Then they break down all the lies Obama has committed. It's truly unbelievable.

OBAMA: "It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say that we don't threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don't like. I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down or call them enemies of the people." — rally Friday at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

THE FACTS: Trump may use extraordinary rhetoric to undermine trust in the press, but Obama arguably went farther — using extraordinary actions to block the flow of information to the public.

Did they just say that Obama went farther than Trump? In undermining the press?

They actually said Obama's rhetoric to the press was worse than Trump's.

Overall, this is a great thing—a sign that the AP might even be regaining its ability to do actual journalism. But, man, it is still a shock. They actually said Obama's rhetoric to the press was worse than Trump's. Good heavens, this must be the last day on earth!

Although, I can say that it's not, because, if it were, the New York Times would be reporting all about it: "Trump causes apocalypse, is racist," endorsed by the whole editorial board, all foaming at the mouths like they're possessed by demons—or worse, deranged Antifa protestors who slept through their noon session of yoga.

By now, thanks to the incessant fear-mongering by Democrats, you're probably aware that American women will lose all their rights if Brett Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court justice. Technically, there's not any truth to that idea whatsoever of course, but it hasn't stopped the hysterics.

Now, this anti-Kavanaugh hysteria has inspired Democrats in Maine to get creative. Because one of their senators, sort-of-Republican Susan Collins, is considered a potential deciding vote in Kavanaugh's confirmation, they are threatening to donate $1 million to her 2020 Democratic opponent, unless Collins votes "no" on Kavanaugh.

RELATED: PROGRESSIVE PANIC: No, Kavanaugh is not 'a death sentence for thousands of women in the U.S.'

Using a crowd-funding site called Crowdpac, two groups called "Maine People's Alliance" and "Mainers for Accountable Leadership" posted a listing that says:

The people of Maine are asking you to be a hero, Senator Collins… If you fail to stand up for the people of Maine and for Americans across the country, every dollar donated to this campaign will go to your eventual Democratic opponent in 2020. We will get you out of office.

The project has already received pledges from 37,000 people, totaling over a million dollars. In a weird way, they're basically attempting to buy her vote. In some circles, this is known as bribery. Senator Collins released a statement calling it extortion, and then one of the groups behind this effort called her response, "politics at its worst."

The Maine groups' twist is that if Collins votes "no" on Kavanaugh, they supposedly won't collect the pledges from their 37,000 donors. But they're still using the pledged money to try to induce Collins to vote the way they want, they're just not offering the money directly to Collins like your typical, old-fashioned bribe.

Like many poorly conceived schemes in our social media age, Maine Democrats didn't really think this one through.

Like many poorly conceived schemes in our social media age, Maine Democrats didn't really think this one through. Because bribery is a federal crime. And just because this is a kind of hipster, inverse bribe, several legal experts think it's still technically a bribe.

Could these groups be shooting themselves in the foot with this strategy? What if, by trying to force Collins to vote no on Kavanaugh, they inadvertently cause her to vote yes, simply to avoid looking like she was influenced by their scare tactic?

And just when you thought politics couldn't get any weirder.

It's bad enough that bigoted scientists have assumed the gender of Hurricane Florence, now President Trump is stepping in to make the hurricane more powerful.

Remember a time when sentences like that one would be laughed at? Not anymore. Yes, a massive storm is about to make landfall on the East coast and The Washington Post is blaming President Trump for the hurricane. For a hurricane.

RELATED: Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the East Coast and YOU have to be the first responders

And this is not an op-ed. This is straight from the editorial board of the Washington Post.

"When it comes to extreme weather," they write, "Mr. Trump is complicit. He plays down humans' role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks. It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change. But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth's systems to produce disasters."

Meanwhile, Obama is hailing angelic rainbows down from Heaven, LGBTQ only of course, and sheltering woke transgender infants from tornados in Nebraska. Linda Sarsour and Colin Kaepernick only need to wave their hands and earthquakes will stop.

The Washington Post editorial again:

With depressingly ironic timing, the Trump administration announced Tuesday a plan to roll back federal rules on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is the main component in natural gas. Drillers and transporters of the fuel were supposed to be more careful about letting it waft into the atmosphere, which is nothing more than rank resource waste that also harms the environment. The Trump administration has now attacked all three pillars of President Barack Obama's climate-change plan.

The piece concludes:

The president has cemented the GOP's legacy as one of reaction and reality denial. Sadly, few in his party appear to care.

In other news, the Russians have meddled with a tsunami in Southeast Asia, which will have catastrophic effects on the mid-term elections here in America.