This is a great story
. Not only does it appear Utah may get school vouchers, it shows how the blogosphere was used by a state representative
and a reporter
who went outside the paper to create a different way of reporting. The result was
[a] debate was more philosophical and substantive than demagogic. "The debate was of the highest caliber that I've seen in my 13 years here," said Speaker Greg Curtis. "I find it fascinating that not a single person spread the myth that [choice] would be harmful to public education."
John Fund also notes that leadership matters and cowing before electoral pressure doesn't pay.
Unions representing teachers and other government employees took notice of his apostasy and vowed to punish it. Last year, they mounted a concerted effort to defeat him. They came close; Mr. Curtis won re-election last November by only 20 votes. But far from being intimidated, the speaker realized that the best way he could survive politically was if he passed choice and made people realize it worked.
Rob Bishop is a former speaker of the Utah House who also worked as a high school teacher for 28 years before being elected to Congress as a Republican in 2002. He told me Mr. Curtis is demonstrating all the qualities of leadership voters say they want but don't always demand. "He understood he was on the right side of history," he says. After all, Mr. Bishop notes, that "choice in education is already all around us."
Maybe Utah could send a little of that leadership this-a-way
Labels: economics, education, vouchers