Texas Gov. George W. Bush offered a new idea on educational accountability that is at least worth discussing.
Bush's proposal goes well beyond the tired idea of offering vouchers to any parent who wants them. That approach favors wealthier families who can bridge the difference between the amount of the voucher and the cost of a private school.
Bush instead would tie federal support for schools to their performance. If a school receiving Title I money showed improved student achievement on test scores, it would continue to get the money.
But if students showed no progress over three years, the school would lose the money. The federal government would match the Title I money with other federal education money and give it to the state, which would set up an education account of about $1,500 a year for each affected student. Parents could keep the money and their child in the original school, or they could use it for a private school or tutoring.
This focuses attention where it needs to be: poor performing schools in low-economic areas. A good school can help people rise above their circumstances; a bad one sentences them to another generation of poverty. Giving those schools an incentive to improve simply makes sense. Continuing to fund failure is foolish. . . .