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"Public Policy Leadership in the Virginia Tradition"

The Virginia Institute for Public Policy is an independent, nonpartisan, education and research organization committed to the goals of individual opportunity and economic growth. Through research, policy recommendations, and symposia, the Institute works ahead of the political process to lay the intellectual foundation for a society dedicated to individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited government.

Virginia Institute president, John Taylor, presenting a paper at The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education conference, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation.

Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 22-25

The Virginia Institute for Public Policy

The Public Education Tax Credit:
Expanding Educational Opportunity in Virginia

by Lindsey M. Burke

Calling for an aggressive expansion of Virginia’s school choice program, The Public Education Tax Credit identifies the challenges we face with K-12 education in the Commonwealth, as well as the solution.

From the report:

  • “From 1970 to 2009, total inflation-adjusted education spending in Virginia increased significantly, from $700 million to $13.5 billion.”
  • “Just 39 percent of fourth-graders and 36 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading. In fact, since 1998, 8th grade reading scores have remained flat.”
  • “According to the Institute for Education Sciences, 46 percent of Virginia fourth-graders are proficient in math; just 40 percent of 8th graders have achieved proficiency.”

The problem with K-12 education in Virginia is not a lack of funding, but a lack of accountability that one can expect from a monopoly service provider.

Markets are efficient. They reward success and punish failure in pretty short order. Competition requires entrepreneurs, employers, and employees to perform.

Monopolies, due to a lack of competition, produce poor quality products and services with unsustainable associated costs. In recent years, how many times have we heard that no matter what the performance level, government employees can’t be fired? In such a scenario, how long does it take for unionized government employees to become contemptuous of their “customers” (i.e., parents and taxpayers)?

School choice creates an environment in which entrepreneurs will always be working overtime to best each other by keeping parents happy with the educational progress of their children. Download your copy of The Public Education Tax Credit: Expanding Educational Opportunity in Virginia today!

Lindsey M. Burke is an adjunct scholar with the Virginia Institute for Public Policy and the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Her work and commentary have been cited or appeared in national magazines such as The Atlantic, Time, and Newsweek; newspapers such as The Boston Herald, The Star-Ledger, The Washington Examiner, and The Washington Times; and digital venues such as The Daily Caller and National Review Online.

She has spoken on education reform issues across the country and internationally, and has appeared on CNN, the Fox News Channel, as well as numerous national or regional radio and television programs.

Virginia Institute for Public Policy
282 Bald Rock Road  •  Verona, VA  •  24482
(540) 245-1776  •  JTaylor@VirginiaInstitute.org