House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in a speech at the Brookings Institution today, said that greater school choice is "the surest way" to end the cycle of poverty:
"School choice is the surest way to break this vicious cycle of poverty and we must act fast before it is too late for too many. The fact is, the federal government's approach to fixing our schools has been too slow, too sporadic and too ineffective."
[. . .]
"It is my personal goal that in 10 years, every child in America will have education opportunity through school choice no matter where they live."
In addition to touting the House-passed education bill as well an expansion of charter schools and voucher programs. Leader Cantor also took New York City's extremely liberal new mayor, Bill de Blasio, to task for his threats to restrict charter schools:
"This move could devastate the growth of education opportunity in such a competitive real estate market like New York City. Just think, how many families will have their choices taken away if Mayor de Blasio pursues these policies? Mayor de Blasio should abandon this plan and allow New York's charter schools to continue to flourish."
Cantor even suggested that the House would hold hearings, if de Blasio moved against charter schools in New York City:
"Our committees in the House will remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure no one from the government stands in the schoolhouse door between any child and a good education."
Leader Cantor also called upon the Senate to take up the Student Success Act, a House-passed overhaul of the No Child Left Behind law that removes many federal mandates and returns more power over education policy to the states. That legislation, includes an amendment proposed by Cantor that would permit states to use federal funding earmarked for low-income families to fund charter schools.
In his speech, Cantor also supported the Louisiana Scholarship Program, a school voucher initiative championed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal that was the subject of a lawsuit by the Obama/Holder Justice Department over claims that it impeded desegregation efforts.
You can watch Cantor's speech begining at the 11:45 mark of the following video:
Cantor's speech coincided with the release of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings release of the results of its third annual Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI). The EECI is an analysis of school choice and competition in the nation's hundred or so largest school districts. The Brookings institute hopes the EECI will help create public awareness of the differences among districts in support of school choice and recognize leaders among school districts in the design and implementation of choice and competition systems.