French novelist Victor Hugo once remarked that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. In Michigan, the time has come to allow parents to choose the schools their children attend.

The power of ideas ended slavery, put a stop to segregation, and brought down the Berlin Wall. Now it is transforming the way Americans view education. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., calls parental school choice the most compelling civil rights issue of the decade.

Choice is a winning issue for Michigan politicians. Democrats embracing choice could be champions of the poor, who can’t afford to send their children to any school but the one the government assigns them to. And Republicans who support choice could expand their constituencies by attracting new minority voters.

School choice is not just a dream. Voucher and tax credit plans in Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are helping students achieve higher test scores. Their parents report higher satisfaction with their children’s education.

More than 65 percent of Michigan citizens favor school choice. Political leaders who harness this powerful idea will do themselves, and our children, a great service.

For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.