Via Betsy’s Page comes word of a chance for South Carolinians to get a bit more choice regarding schooling. In the report, Brendan Miniter give the example of a school operating on a shoe-string budget with low-paid teachers and just 42 students, but that is outperforming the local public school on SAT scores by 46%.

The idea that the public school system should be reformed from within has had plenty of time to be tried. It’s not working. one member of South Carolina’s state House has been there and done that.

Two years ago similar reforms were defeated in the state House by seven votes. But school-choice supporters picked up several seats in the last election, one of which is now held by Curtis Brantley, an African-American from rural Jasper County who picked off an incumbent in a Democratic primary last year. “It’s time,” he told me recently while sitting in his sparsely furnished office, “to try something new.”

As a former public school official who, as he tells it, was forced into retirement after trying to reform the school system from the inside, Mr. Brantley is now becoming a powerful voice for reform in Columbia. And he was only too happy to organize buses for school-choice supporters from his district to attend the rally [at the state Capitol].

I wouldn’t call it “something new”, exactly. We’ve had school choice in higher education for a good long time, and it has resulted in one of the best systems in the world, while at the same time not deal a death blow to state schools. It can be done, it has been done, but those with a vested interest in the status quo (and those politicians beholden to them) simply won’t let it happen, if they can help it.

As time goes by, they may not be able to help it.

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