Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice
By Sol Stern
Contributing editor, City Journal,
and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow
Sol Stern’s Breaking Free explores the growing demand for school choice among poor families in the inner city. Stern describes the dramatic successes and occasional failures of this “new civil rights movement” in three key cities: Milwaukee, Cleveland, and New York.
Filled with timely insights and human drama, Breaking Free vividly describes how cash-starved Catholic schools in the South Bronx are performing small educational miracles every day with children the public schools have given up on. In Milwaukee and Cleveland, Stern finds that the voucher program has rescued large numbers of poor minority children from violent, chaotic and failing public schools and allowed them to attend parochial and private schools where high expectations often result in high achievement.
Drawing on personal observation and intimate conversations with parents, students and educators, Breaking Free is the first book to transform school choice from an abstract policy issue into a question of basic personal freedom, and indeed, for minority children at the bottom of the social ladder, into a question of survival. Equal access to the American Dream through quality education is, Sol Stern convinces us, the unfinished business before us.
Sol Stern has written for the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and City Journal. His articles on schools helped persuade former New York mayor, Rudolph Giuliani to support vouchers for poor children. Mr. Stern is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and lives with his family in New York City.