MADISON WOULD BE PROUD
I've had the chance to give a number of commencement addresses during the past decade, and as you might imagine for an advocate of school choice I've spoken at graduations for every schooling option available in our state.
On Saturday I had the honor of speaking to the graduates of James Madison Preparatory Academy in Tempe -- all 14 of them - along with about 200 friends and family. I was amazed to observe a public charter school where the Principal spoke at length about the virtues of each of the 14 graduates. Where students learn Latin and the Federalist Papers. Where every student participates in sports, in drama, in student clubs. Where the school day and school year go longer than other schools, and the results of quality teaching show up through outstanding test scores. Oh, and there are daily chores and a strict honor code. And as a public charter school, it is free.
A small, academically rigorous school is not for everyone. But it is the perfect environment for some kids, and it was clear that the 2007 graduates had prospered in that place.
I also had a chance to show them my James Madison doll. Actually, it's an action figure. My wife and I found him on the backshelf of a toy store years ago, and I said, "Hey, there's the Father of the Constitution. I've got to have that dude."
Beneath his stern-looking plastic exterior, I'm pretty sure he was smiling about the freedom and schooling options available to Arizona parents and their kids.