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"Public Policy Leadership in the Virginia Tradition"

Education Reform Initiative

      Despite the fact that funding for K-12 public education in Virginia has grown ten times faster than enrollment since the early 1980s, it becomes increasingly obvious that government schools are failing. Ignoring the evidence that shows little correlation between resources allocated to education and the resulting quality of that education, the political establishment consistently responds to declining standards by throwing more and more dollars at symptoms.

      At the Virginia Institute we address the challenges in elementary and secondary education with policy recommendations that are based upon the following three premises. First, no matter how much money is allocated to government schools, public education will not improve until it is exposed to the discipline of competition (school choice). Second, the responsibility of deciding what school best meets the needs of an individual child is for the parents of that child. Third, as control of local schools was increasingly federalized during the last century, fewer and fewer schools met the needs of the local market/community. We must return to the original concept of local control of local schools.

      Regarding government-provided higher education, the past several decades have witnessed a weakening of the core curriculum, ever more questionable admissions practices, and the ruinous effects of ever-increasing funding for public colleges and universities on private colleges and universities. The Virginia Institute proposes a gradual restructuring of public higher education that will expose the system to the discipline of the market thus requiring it to compete on a more equitable basis.

The Public Education Tax Credit: Expanding Educational Opportunity in Virginia
By Lindsey M. Burke
August 2013 (PDF format)  

Public Education Tax Credits for Virginia: The Way Forward on School Choice
By Adam B. Schaeffer, Ph.D.
August 2009 (PDF format)  

The Universal Tuition Tax Credit: Achieving Excellence in Education without a Tax Increase
By Carlisle E. Moody, Jr., Ph.D. and Jerry Ellig, Ph.D.
September 1999

Imposing Market Discipline on Public Colleges and Universities
By Robert B. Archibald, Ph.D. and Michael J. BeVier, J.D.
October 1998

Virginia Institute for Public Policy
P.O. Box 1123  •  Abingdon, VA  •  24212
(540) 245-1776