Monday, November 06, 2000

Nonprofit Group Aims to Give Children A Better Chance: Choice for Schools, Aid for Education Report

Nonprofit Group Aims to Give Children A Better Chance: Choice for Schools
By Pamela Appea
Aid for Education Report, Nonprofit News
November 6, 2000
Copyright 2000 by Community Development Publications

The Campaign for America’s Children wants to put parents in charge of their children’s education and reform the U.S. school system by breaking the school monopoly.

Competition will help improve the U.S. school system, says Theodore Forstmann, the group’s chairman and CEO.

The group argues federal, state and local governments control almost 90% of American education, making it “one of the largest and most successful monopolies in our history.” And the campaign links the school monopoly with poor test scores and academic achievement in grades K-12.

As part of a recent “freedom and choice” campaign, one of the campaign’s full-page newspaper ads says, “Eighty years of rising spending. Eighty years of disappointing results. The problem isn’t our kids, our teachers, or parents. It’s the system.”

The campaign for America’s Children plans to fund studies where learning education scholars will host seminars and debates on education issues with the goal of raising awareness on school-choice issues.

Demand for an alternative to poor schooling is staggering, the group says. Roughly 1.25 million children applied for 40,000 Children’s Scholarship Fund—a private New York City-based foundation—partial scholarships in 1999.

Further, Forstmann, who runs the foundation, awarded $160 million in scholarships through the Children’s Scholarship Fund to 40,000 children in 48 states.

Private schools are not “necessarily” more expensive, the campaign says. While the public schools spend an average of $7,000 per student, per year, the average private school spends almost 40% less per student, or $4,700 per year.

The organization has no specific agenda, a spokesman for the group tells AFE. The goal is to awaken people to the issue of school choice and to have them look at choice with a more open mind, he says.

Info: Campaign for America’s Children, 767 Fifth Ave. N.Y. N.Y. 10153; 212/752-3310.