Op/Ed By Ayesha Kreutz –
School choice provides a way for equal access to a quality education, and, for citizens who have agreed upon laws in which taxpayers contribute to overall public education funding, if that is the case, doesn’t it only make sense that parents should have the broadest educational options available?
Education, and thus school choice, is an issue near and dear to my heart. Why? Because outside of Jesus and family, education is a prime indicator of a free people. Frederick Douglass said “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” It was true then, and it is true now.
Teaching our kids to read, and critically think independently is giving them the power to be whatever they want to be, achieve justice, and change society for the better. That is the power of true education.
Now, do not get me wrong, I am not a proponent of forced, state-mandated, or “compulsory” education. In fact, I believe that, without a doubt, it is a parent’s right, responsibility, and duty to educate his or her child. But, since this is the system we have right now, it is where school choice comes in.
How a family chooses to educate its child is its own business: whether it be in a public school, charter school, home-school, private school, or some other form. However, unfortunately, as I look around, I see teachers’ unions and government school protectionists standing in the way of parental choice, blocking innovation, and demonizing competition. School choice programs are optional ways to free poor urban and rural children from failing schools.
What we have been doing for the past few decades is not working, and it would be wise for us to again adjust the system. Though, personally, I think it is an abject failure and should be completely dismantled and rebuilt – but that is an entirely different article.
Anyway, changing our voting patterns, and voting for choices that allow parents to choose the best path for our children would be a good start. We love them, and we love them more than any government system ever could. It is a fallacy to suggest that the majority of parents are ignorant losers who have no interest in their child’s education or well-being. Yet, it is this very idea the jack-booted government-school protectorate not so subtly foists upon the general population. Loving our children should not be equated with voluntarily subjecting our children to these greedy tax-collecting government bureaucrats in charge of indoctrinating children in the dark ways of the secular world on our dime.
The beauty of school choice is three-fold. First, it puts the parents in charge, instead of the state – as it should be. Second, it gives opportunities to families with limited means a voice. Third, it makes each educational option a better one by causing the do-nothing educational-fiefdom bureaucrats to step up their game to compete for the privilege of educating our children.
Actually, that leads to one of the best aspects of school choice – hope. When you know there is a better opportunity out there for your child, it creates hope in you, and in your child. This, in-turn, results in most people trying harder. Knowing there is a way out of poverty through an education system that actually works makes education more valuable.
Just imagine knowing that someone is competing for your kid, competing to give him or her the best education. Wouldn’t that only stoke your fire, to be involved in your kids’ academics, to make sure they are doing their work, to make sure they are doing the best they can, so they do well enough to be chosen for the school of your choice? Even if your child is not picked the first time, or at all, the family time and education they have gotten is already better, simply because you are more involved, and you pushed them. It is a win-win.
School choice is simply allowing your tax monies that the government takes from you, whether you like it or not, to follow your child and to be used for the educational choices you make.
That is not only reasonable, but beneficial, wouldn’t you say? Consider that the city of Rochester gets approximately $22,000 a year, per kid. That is more than most local private schools – double – in many cases. Now, imagine if that $22,000 could be used to get your child into an Allendale (if that is what you wanted), and all you had to do was come up with the other $2,000, or it could be covered by one of their in-house scholarships?
In many cases, if the money followed the child, sending your child to a private school, such as Finney, or a montessori school, would be saving you, me, and every other tax payer money.
I’m a firm believer in empowering parents; yet, I watch the system and teachers’ unions oppose our voice at the collective bargaining table, telling us that they are the experts and know best, while all the while our schools continue to fail us. Our children suffer the consequences of their social engineering and bad experiments, decisions for which government bureaucracies suffer nothing.
I know it can be discouraging, but I am here to say, stick to your guns. Stay the course, and fight for school choice, no matter how hard the government jack boots push back. We shall not be silenced.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)