Viola Davis stands up for school choice

Actress Viola Davis is great as a teacher/parent in “Won’t Back Down,” the potent movie about parental empowerment that’s hitting theaters Friday. But as a spokeswoman for school choice, she’s even better in real life. Here’s what she said the other night on “The Tonight Show,” to huge applause, after Jay Leno asked her why the movie is being called controversial:

I am a parent. And as a parent, I have a child and I know that the only way she’s going to get a part of the American Dream is through education. And so if that great education is a public school, I’m going to send my kid to the public school. If that great education is a charter school, I’m going to send my kid to a charter school. If it’s a private school, I’ll send her to a private school.

I think that it’s about wanting do what’s best for your kid.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at


True education reform will only happen when parents, communities, and all citizens stand firm for the kids! American students – a.k.a. “America” – is on a very slippery slope when compared academically to our international counterparts. Our K-12 system has failed us too often and the proof is in those international comparisons. January 28- Feb 1, 2013 is National School Choice Week. Check out school options in your community, identify one that is measurably excellent, and support it!!

The United States was founded, formed and grew to international prominence with virtually no government involvement in schooling. Before the advent of government-controlled schools, literacy was high (91-97% in the North, 81% in the South), private and community schools proliferated. For the first 150 years of America’s settlement and the first 50 to 75 years of the nation’s existence, government schooling as it is known today did not exist. Early America was arguably the freest civil society that has ever existed.
This freedom extended to education, which meant that parents were responsible for, and had complete control of, their children’s schooling. There were no accrediting agencies, no regulatory boards, and no teacher certification requirements. Parents could choose whatever kind of school or education they wanted for their children.
In Pennsylvania since 2000, enrollment has declined by 26,960 while schools have hired 32,937 more staff members. Most of these new employees pay dues to the PSEA labor union, which runs one of the largest political action committees in the state and heavily funds political campaigns.
Pennsylvania’s education spending increased from $4 billion in 1980 to over $25 billion in 2009 – a 133% increase in per-pupil spending, from $6,171 to $14,420 (in 2010 dollars).
If you choose to control your own child’s education (like the first Americans) and incorporate God into education you forfeit nearly $15,000 every year (Approx $180,000 per child over 12 years before compounding interest).
Can government schools teach why abortion is wrong? Is it any wander we have a population who does not understand?
Can it get worse?
In Ontario’s Roman Catholic schools are no longer allowed to teach that abortion is wrong. For the whole story see:
Is true school Choice the answer? Why can’t parents take their $15,000 per year to the school they choose? Can education compete like it did in the beginning? Education benefits all of society particularly when morality is allowed to be part of it. The schools can accept all comers if they want government $ (otherwise they can do without government $). This may be the single most important issue underlying all of society’s problems. Only the rich can afford education that they choose. Is our society losing it’s roots?

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