Most of us learned at an early age that when one side in an argument resorts to name-calling it's a tell-tale sign they've run out of legitimate defenses for their position. Yarbrough quickly resorts to this tactic when the topic of his columns involves me.
Last year, Yarbrough centered his dislike of a micro-chip bill I co-sponsored, around the "oh-so-funny" coincidence, that my first name is Chip. He never really explained to readers why he thought it a good idea for Georgians to be forcibly micro-chipped against their will, which is what the bill prohibited.
This year, he attempts to deny the value of educational freedom by starting his column with a silly reference to Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, an obvious play on my last name.
Yarbrough's readers, and all Georgians, deserve far more legitimate debate on the issue of Georgia's educational delivery system which has us ranked 47th in SAT scores and 47th in graduation rates according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The central question in this debate of educational freedom is rather simple. Are more educational opportunities and the freedom to choose them good for children? The answer is an obvious "yes!"
Yarbrough's stated position is to pour more and more money into a system where children are sent to a government-run, brick-and-mortar building based on the child's U.S. Postal mailing address. Perhaps this worked in the 1950s. It doesn't work now.
We have before us a chance to profoundly change education if we put parents in charge and open up a new world of opportunities for children. There is no single way to educate every child, which is why we need every way.
The "system" of educating children in Georgia should be a combination of traditional public schools, private schools, public charter schools, private charter schools, home school, online learning and a hybrid combination of any and all.
We then give the parents and children the freedom to match the learning environment with what works best for the individual student. Yarbrough's idea of sending every child to a "one-size-fits-all" government-run system will no longer suffice in a world where our competition, India and China, is producing seven times more engineers and scientists than the United States.
From the very formation of our nation, Americans have embraced the idea that freedom is the foundation of our success. And so it should be in education. Put children first, give them true educational freedom, and the results will astound us all.
Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) is Majority Leader in the Georgia Senate.