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Reason Foundation

Caine Monroy: The New Poster Child for School Choice in America

Lisa Snell
April 19, 2012, 1:29pm

The New York Times chronicles the compelling story of Caine Monroy an inspiration to kids and adults alike:

On an industrial street lined with auto repair shops, there are few signs that this is the home of an Internet sensation. But slow down at the end of the block, just off the freeway in eastern Los Angeles, where a 9-year-old boy has created a makeshift arcade in his father's auto parts store with balls, cardboard boxes and tape.

A few days ago, few people had heard of Caine Monroy, who worked for hours last summer in the store making simple games out of discarded boxes from the junkyard. Now, eager children, television crews and curious supporters stop by almost incessantly, captivated by an 11-minute film featuring Caine that has been viewed more than five million times on the Internet in the last 10 days. His college fund has ballooned to more than $170,000, driven by donations to a Web site created by the filmmaker.

Caine Monroy could also be the new poster child for school choice in America. While his story gives us all hope about what is still possible in America with entrepreneurial spirit, there is also a school choice angle--in that now Caine and his father can afford a private school or tutor to help Caine who struggles with reading. How many other kids like Caine Monroy are bright kids out there in our world and are going to schools that are not meeting their basic academic needs? Most will not be saved by a viral video.


Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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