School Choice: A Teacher Speaks

April 1, 2013 / 12:05 pm • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier

Kids marching in line at school.

Kids marching in line at school.

Allow dollars to follow the child. A Texas teacher makes her case for school choice:

Texas has increased education spending 95% with a 19% increase in school age population while test scores are flat.

I’m coming to believe test scores are less important. A child should be able to read, do simple math, and write by the age ten–5th grade (and that’s me just being arbitrary). With the innovations in education and the ability to tailor education to a kid, the money should be freed up. There are just so many ways a kid can be educated now.

My kids are in public school and all of them could probably be in environments better suited to their needs. Children develop in uneven ways.

It’s strange to think, but the one-room school house actually catered to kids better in some ways. A slow learner could be paired with kids coming along. A quick learner could accelerate as quickly as he wanted.

Our current educational system is just not responsive to the individual. Freeing up money and allowing kids to thrive in environments suited to them would be a step in the right direction.

  • Of course, the conservative case against school choice, which is after all simply another form of coercive wealth redistribution, is that it enables government regulations and standards to follow government funding which turns them into adjuncts of the state. Institutions will defend government when individuals tied to them depend on the state for their incomes. This is why school choice tends to pervert the character and mission of otherwise sound educational institutions over time.

    Conservatives used to argue for the complete privatization of educational funding because they recognized the natural right of families to control the education of their children–a right that superseded any claim of government. Conservatives don’t make such arguments today because (i) they like government more than they did in the past and (ii), especially in education, school funding and the redistribution it entails have become a source of jobs and influence for them.

    Abolish compulsory education laws and allow families to secede from schools they don’t like, but don’t provide “choice” welfare to them if they do so. In other words, don’t expand the number of families on the government teat. Only then will we see true market alternatives to education absent the state control.