Many of the potential Republican presidential candidates at CPAC disagree on everything from social issues to foreign policy. There are many disagreements on the size and scope of the Federal government.
However, there is one issue that Republicans are largely united on and that is school choice.In fact, many of the Republicans likely to run have strong records on this issue.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was a national pioneer on the topic as governor. Bush as governor created a scholarship program for low income students and proposed a voucher program. Bush in his CPAC speech also reiterated his support for school choice.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been a strong supporter of charter schools. Christie has also proposed a school voucher program in the past.
Our own Bobby Jindal is presiding over what is probably the nation’s boldest school choice experiment with high charter school enrollment in New Orleans and a voucher program. Jindal and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have teamed up to attack the Obama administration for opposing school choice.
The school choice issue has been a top priority of social conservatives such as Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Even the Senators, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are supporters of school choice. Homeschoolers have always been a key part of the Paul coalition.
For conservatives, bringing free markets into education to compete with the state-run schooling model, is a no brainer. Free market competition improves outcomes and leads to more innovation every day in products and services. Why would education be any different?
What has made it easier for Republicans to come out for school choice is that there are many successful experiments such as in New Orleans and Washington, DC where test scores have increased. There are also many types of schooling for parents to choose which option is best for their child. Plus, teacher’s unions have become the great Republians boogeyman and they hate school choice.
At least in one arena of policy, Republicans are united to roll back the size and scope of government.