School reform matters especially in Atlanta. The city may or may not be in the midst of a return-to-the-city movement. Certainly, condos and apartments are going up everywhere. But until the problem of a laggardly school system is cured, people with children won’t return, unless they have alternatives. Atlanta’s revival will be limited to the childless and to retiring baby boomers. I think that means, of course, some program of vouchers or tax credits that encourages new schools to be created by the private sector or by groups of educators starting their own.
It’s always necessary to try to improve the existing school system for parents who will always prefer to let government do it, who will choose to be uninvolved and are perfectly happy to hand Jimmy over at age 5 and check him back out at age 18, hoping he’s educated enough to get out of the house. The question for conservatives, though, is whether that’s enough. Can the model designed for a farm economy be fixed so that it serves most everybody? And if you’re open to reform, what’s the boldest reform you’d support?