Admit it Liberals, You Hate (School) Choice

I think it’s really sad that some people only want to fund public education for some kids in only certain public schools, but not other public schools or any other workable educational options.

Why the discrimination people?

My Facebook friend, Nate Spencer says it’s about “money and power. Those other schools don’t tend to be NEA shops. Kids first indeed.”

I keep thinking that “money and power” are becoming old saws of late, Nate. Do you suppose there are other reasons? The “power” part I get… but I think it’s about the overall power that is derived from keeping a monopoly alive so that it feeds the millions of people that feed off of it. Only this monopoly doesn’t make a few greedy capitalist industrialists powerful, but rather several unions, contractors, suppliers, bureaucracies, workers, etc. etc. etc.

The Government Education Complex (read more about it on this blog: The Government Education Complex Defined) is the monopoly that uses taxpayer dollars (money taken by force) to keep itself alive via a political construct called districts. School districts are like mini fiefdoms, that require funding, not directly from the community they serve, but from the state and the federal governments, so that they can perpetuate themselves.

Over a century ago it was decided that taking our money by force through taxation in order to pay for the schooling of other people’s children is a good thing. It has been ingrained in our psyche that only public schooling is something worthwhile, and worthy of paying for with our tax dollars. But unfortunately for the Education Complex, along came a few different models of learning that happen to work better than the old factory school (districts) model and parents are now making choices, rather than abdicating their choice to the one and only government school closest to them. (Or in some cases, a non-local school that the government buses their children to because they determined some diversity quotas must be met.)

NOW… it’s suddenly not the right thing to pay for educating ALL children. NOW we should only pay for the kids who attend DISTRICT public schools. Not just ANY public school. Charters, and other options, you see, threaten the monopoly (and let’s face it.. the unions too; but that’s becoming an old saw as well.)

I guess all I want at this point in the debate is a little intellectual and moral honesty. If you are a Liberal and you believe Public Charter schools are all bad and shouldn’t exist because they are “pulling, stripping, stealing” money away from the district public schools, then pretty-please agree to the following… at least in principle:

1) Public School funding is really about funding “certain” children and not all children. IF you want to choose to go to a public school — ANY SCHOOL — that isn’t unionized or operates in a manner other than in a politically controlled district using master contracts that citizens can’t approve personally, you should have to pay for it yourself, just like all the other “rich” people who pay for private schooling. Your tax dollars can’t go to private schools or non-district schools. It hurts our old district schooling system too much and it hurts the children left in the poorly performing schools when you take your money and children out of the system. These systems must be fixed, no matter what the cost; even if it cheats some children out of a decent education.

2) Yes, yes, yes… I agree that charter schools are really public schools. I’ve been using the “charter schools aren’t public schools” and “charters get to pick and choose their students” lie because it furthers my agenda, which again, is the following: MY district school deserves taxpayer money before OTHER public schools and other educational choices receive money. The end justifies the means.

3) I realize that poor and “at-risk” children also might have parents who want to take advantage of charters or even vouchers. I feel for them. I really do. I’m a Liberal after all. We really really feel for these kids. That said, I have to admit that even though these options might in fact help these poor and disadvantaged students, it might actually hurt MY school district, therefore I can not support even poor and disadvantaged children receiving taxpayer support for THEIR choice to leave their assigned school district. It puts too many other kids at risk. And besides, how can we be sure the parents of poor and at-risk kids know what they’re doing? They can’t possibly know what’s best for their child’s education. They aren’t the professionals.

4) I’m still for choice!! I just have to look out for MY CHOICES first. You know what I mean? Therefore, I will work hard with my political friends and lobbyists in the statehouse, paid for with donations from my union dues, do make sure that all workable educational choice and reform ideas are aborted before they become viable law. I will, though, in the spirit of intellectual honesty, stop blaming Bush and NCLB for all of the problems we have today with our public school districts, especially with the prospect that Obama’s Race to the Top plan will be NCLB on crack!!

SEE!! That wasn’t so hard, was it? You really can be a pro choice Liberal and at the same time, deny ‘certain’ children their right to a good education of their parents’ choice. And people will probably still like you.

Admit these things, my liberal friends, public school district apologists and opponents in playful and philosophical discourse and I bet we can start to have more honest conversations about the future of education reform.

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