The Battle for School Choice Has Begun!
by Israel Teitelbaum
Despite all the talk about school choice, when you study the plans being considered you will find them to be “charity vouchers” as opposed to “educational vouchers.” The late, great economics Professor Milton Friedman, who first proposed school vouchers in his 1955 treatise “The Role of Government in Education,” lamented this problem in his final article on the subject prior to his passing, “School Vouchers Turn 50 but the Fight is Just Beginning.”
Unlike educational vouchers, which transform control of education back to parents, where it rightfully belongs, charity vouchers keep government educrats in control. Although the poor are granted improved educational opportunity, the middle class is still subject to government control, in gross violation of parents’ divine, human and civil right to provide their children with education free from government indoctrination.
Friedman described the problem. “There has been some progress toward charity vouchers but almost none toward educational vouchers. The reason, I believe, is that centralization, bureaucratization and unionization have enabled teachers’ union leaders and educational administrators to gain effective control of government elementary and secondary schools. The union leaders and educational administrators rightly regard extended parental choice through vouchers and tax-funded scholarships as the major threat to their monopolistic control. So far, they have been extremely successful in blocking any significant change in the structure of elementary and secondary education in the United States.”
The evidence that these same forces are still in control is most apparent. Despite promises of parental choice in education, we have not heard one word of support for the first universal school choice bill now before Congress, the Education Freedom Accounts Act (S.2455/H.R.4426). This is the best such bill in the country, based on the most comprehensive study of the numerous pilot programs in over 30 states. This bill will empower all District of Columbia parents to rescue their children from substandard D.C. Public Schools, and provide them with a quality education for a fraction of the cost. It will also serve as a model and trailblazer for the entire country.
Thankfully, President-elect Donald Trump has raised the school choice banner and declared war on opponents of school choice. However, an activated army of ordinary citizens is required to fight this war. Congress, and legislatures in 49 of the fifty states, have no intention of passing legislation that deprives them of control of education. Non-profits, which depend on public donations for survival, are afraid to lead this revolution, because government will deprive them of the ability to raise funds, as the IRS did to hundreds of Tea Party groups that raised the banner “Taxed Enough Already.”
A free society, where the citizenry may reside, work, travel, shop and entertain where they please, without undo government intrusion, must surely allow parents the right to provide their children with education that best fits their needs, talents and faith. Government control of education is no less damaging than control of enterprise. Just as families cannot wage wars, government cannot raise children. This explains why we have 1.4 million criminally active gang members across the country, thanks to massive dropout rates.
Universal school choice requires Americans in all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts to raise a clarion call for passage of universal school choice legislation in their state legislature, and in Congress for federal jurisdictions. When Congress (202-224-3121) and state legislators get the sustained message that Americans will stand for nothing less than universal school choice, Congress will pass the Education Freedom Accounts Act, and state legislatures will follow suit.
We can no longer afford to remain silent while children, families and all society are made to suffer in order to enrich and empower the Ruling Class. We need to respectfully insist that our public officials honor their oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Universal school choice will surely usher in a new era of domestic tranquility, prosperity, liberty and justice. ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ __
Israel Teitelbaum is cofounder of Alliance for Free Choice in Education. He can be reached at 973-820-6121 SchoolChoiceUSA@gmail.com.