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Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is running as GOP candidate for president, wants to take money away from the schools that need it and give it to the schools that don't.

His target is the Title I program, which provides $7.7 billion to the neediest schools to educate the poor children in this country. Bush's plan would require these schools to test the students on basic academics each year. If no progress is shown after three years, the money would be taken away from the schools.

The confiscated Title I money would be matched with other federal education money and placed in education accounts -- about $1,500 a year for each affected student.

The parents then get to choose how to spend the money -- for example, keep it and their children in the existing school, use it to secure the services of a tutor, or send the kids to private schools. . . .

On the face of it, this looks like a good idea. But a private school recovers its costs through charging tuition and other fees. How are poor people going to be able to pay for this if they're barely getting by? . . .

It would be more sensible to develop new programs at the at-risk schools that actually work -- and provide funding for them. . . .

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