Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants children — especially minority and poor children — to have more choices in education. He wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers, so students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood and property lines.
"I'm talking about opening up all of the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, wherever," said Paul, a Tea Party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate. "Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I'm really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind."
President Barack Obama and Democrats oppose vouchers, saying public money should not be used for private schools.
Paul is scheduled to host four fellow Republican senators — fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Lee of Utah and Tim Scott of South Carolina — at a school choice forum Tuesday to try to draw support for GOP legislation to update No Child Left Behind, a federal education law that expired in 2007. They plan to discuss charters and vouchers with representatives from high-performing public charter schools in D.C. and several Catholic schools that educate poor students through the D.C. school voucher program Congress created.
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