The Enemies of Choice

Last Thursday, the Texas Senate passed a school voucher bill that would allow parents to use government school funds for private and parochial schools. The Chronicle called the bill a “version of so-called ‘school choice’ legislation,” implying that the issue isn’t really about choice. But it is about choice, and defenders of government schools are opposed to giving parents and students choices.

Opponents of the bill claim that private schools won’t be held accountable because they don’t have to release standardized test scores like government schools do. Such claims ignore the fact that parents can hold schools accountable by moving their children to another school. But few parents can afford to do that today.

Government officials and educational bureaucrats don’t want parents having choices. Government schools have a captive clientele, and school choice will likely result in a large number of parents abandoning the failing government schools.

Sen. Jose Menendez of San Antonio said,

On the surface, this sounds wonderful, but I don’t think in practice this works as well as it sounds. I don’t believe that this system, when we’re far from perfecting our public school system – I don’t think this is the answer.

Menendez doesn’t think school choice will work. But that conclusion depends upon one’s goal. School choice will certainly work for those fortunate enough to get into the program–they will have a freedom that they don’t currently enjoy.

School choice is ultimately about freedom–the freedom to choose which school will be best for one’s children. Government schools deny that freedom to most Texans, and opponents of school choice want to keep it that way.

Interestingly, many conservatives support school choice, but oppose a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Conversely, most Leftists support a woman’s right to choose, but oppose a parent’s right to choose his children’s education. Both groups are hypocrites.

Every individual has a moral right to act on his own judgment, so long as he respects the rights of others to do the same. Each of us has a moral right to choose our values and the means by which we will attain them. Contrary to what Leftists and conservatives believe, our right to choose is not limited to select issues. It applies to all issues.

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