Scholars, Policy-Makers Urge Choice as the Way to Education Reform. (Noteworthy News)

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WASHINGTON

While not endorsing school vouchers as the sole answer to education reform in failing urban school systems, educators and policy-makers at a libertarian think tank forum on the Brown v. Board decision said vouchers should represent a key component of such reform.

"Vouchers do help to push the movement forward," declared the former Democratic congressman of New York Floyd 'Flake during his keynote talk last month at the "Educational Freedom and Urban America: Brown v. Board After Half a Century" conference at the Cato Institute in Washington.

While Flake, a noted education activist, and president of Wilberforce University in Ohio, stressed that the bulk of education reform efforts should target public schools, other conference speakers placed more emphasis on educational choice as leading the way to improved education for urban-based minority schoolchildren. During the conference, school choice for low-income students was defined as having the opportunity to attend special public charter schools; private schools through the use of publicly-funded vouchers; home school arrangements; public schools in nearby school districts; or the neighborhood public schools.

"Educational choice is the cornerstone to any broad strategy of reform," said Dr. Howard Fuller, director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "It is clear to me that we have to have a multifaceted strategy to give our children a quality education."

Fuller, a former Milwaukee superintendent of schools and a leader in the school choice movement, said he advocates "parental choice" for low--and middle-income families. …