Let me start by saying I am a conservative Libertarian who is pro capitalism. Choice and a free market seem to work really well in the economic sector. So well that initially I was very pro school choice. You can read here how I was a never public school mom who now has four kids in my local public school. Once I really started digging into he subject I realized school choice programs are a terrible idea thatt will KILL our education system
- Its not a free market because public schools have so many more mandates and requirements that cost a small fortune to comply with. Take transportation for example. Neither the private school or the charter school my kids’ attended offered transportation to anything. Even at the charter school the cost of renting a bus for a field trip was passed on to parents. Think about it, that is like saying Wendy’s has $100,000,000 more dollars of regulations they have to comply with that McDonald’s does not. McDonald’s would be able o use that extra money to make their food better or lower prices. It wouldn’t be very long before Wendy’s went out of business no matter how good their food.
- Education is a common public good , not a product. The better educated our population is the better off we all are. This is why everyone pays taxes for schools no mater where their kids’ go to school, or even if they have grown kids, or kids at all. We all benefit from, and are responsible for, quality education. Can you imagine what would happen if people got to choose to spend their road money only on the roads they used? We’d end up with a few super nice awesome roads that everyone would want to use. And mostly crappy roads full of potholes. People that lived in rural areas would be screwed because they wouldn’t have the combined money to fund their roads, but would live too far to enjoy the nice awesome roads. Same with the poor neighborhoods.
- We will largely give up our collective representation in the public school system. School Boards are elected by, and responsible to, the people. This means you have a say in how schools are run, and what your child is learning. If you are dissatisfied you have an elected governing body to voice your grievance, and demand change. Private schools, and charter schools have governing bodies, but they are not elected by the people.
- It isn’t as big of o choice as you’d think. If you are dissatisfied with one public or charter school you can just pick another one right? Wrong. Many charter schools and private schools are at capacity with long waiting lists and huge lotteries every year. Finding another one that has openings will be difficult especially if you want to change mid year. Not to mention changing schools is a luxury poor families who don’t have their own transportation don’t have. Lastly, private and charter schools do not adequately serve most students with disabilities, or ESL students. I have both kids with disabilities, and immigrant ESL children. We have been to a private school, a charter school, and now a public school. The public school is the only place that I could get the services my kids needed.
- Mixing public funding with private religious schools is a terrible idea. Think about it, once a private school accepts public money they will have to meet certain requirements. It is giving the government permission to tell you what you can teach, and what kids of families you have to let into your school. Don’t like common core? Don’t want to teach evolution? Once you accept public money you may have to.
I know our school system is badly broken, but school choice is a solution in sheep’s clothing. It seems like it would work when you first hear about it, but once you look a little closer you realize it will be the death of our public education system. The only people who benefit from school choice are those middle class or above families hat can self-transport, the “normal” kids without disabilities or a need for ESL services, and he corporations making money off charter schools. Just say no to school choice reform and call your senator and tell them to say “no” too by rejecting DeVos as Secretary of Education