Two years ago, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge tried unsuccessfully to get lawmakers to fund a tuition-voucher program to give parents a choice in where they send their children to school. Now lawmakers are trying to rev up the idea of school choice again, by adding more flavors to the public-school menu.
This time around, the blue-plate special is something called charter schools, which are are publicly-funded schools that run under a charter that frees them from many state regulations.
For example, a charter school set up to specialize in a math and science curriculum wouldn't have to take every student. Instead, students could be required to make a certain score on a specialized entrance test.
Now we have supported the idea of specialized academic schools in the past, including the math-science high school promoted by former Maryland Gov. William D. Schaefer. Too often in a regular public-school setting, those students who try to excel academically are not respected, or worse, ridiculed by their peers.