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Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Opponents of School Choice Cry Foul in Wisconsin

The Report Card 6-9-15

(Editor: Administrators of public schools and teacher’s unions hate choice. They want to have monopoly control over all public education, as they once did. But once upon a time, before the teacher’s unions and before the founding of the Department of Education in 1978, U.S. public schools were excellent. Now schools are spending record amounts of money and kids are learning less than ever. No wonder choice is gaining ground in Wisconsin and everywhere else).


By Lloyd Brown


Of all the lame arguments against school choice, the lamest must be “diversion.”

Yet, once again, it was trotted out by the Associated Press, reporting in Wisconsin:

“A Republican-approved expansion of the private-school voucher program could divert an additional $600 million to $800 million from public schools over the next decade …”

First, the most obvious flaw: What is being diverted is students, not money. The state’s duty is to educate students, not to fund government schools.

Vouchers enable poor students to have the same opportunities as more affluent students, who can afford public school. When wealthier people send their children to private schools, is the money they pay the private school “diverted” from the public schools?

Furthermore, since public schools are paid on a per-student basis, what the opponents of school choice are arguing is that public schools should be paid to educate students who don’t attend the schools.

This displays colossal ignorance.

They also conveniently overlook an important fact. Parents who send their children to private schools continue to pay for the public schools, via property taxes and sales taxes. So, they pay for the education of their own children and everyone else’s children.

Also, because vouchers are typically far less than the cost of a public school, Florida families are spared millions of dollars in unnecessary expense. That is money they can use for retirement, health care or other basic needs.


Liberals constantly regurgitate the senseless argument used in this letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel: “It is important to know if Florida, which is the third-largest state in population, has risen to the level where we should be in the top ranks for education spending.”


In other words, it doesn’t matter whether we are educating kids as long as we are spending more money than other states.

The AP story also went into the other lame arguments:

Private schools don’t have testing. Not true.

There is no evidence that private schools are better. Not true.

People choose what is best for them and vote with their dollars and their feet. There is no reason they shouldn’t buy education the same way they buy smartphones and automobiles.

To their credit, a number of liberals who are capable of elementary logic and have some compassion for children are supporting school choice.

But entrenched special interests — because of greed, a shocking disregard for the welfare of poor and minority children, or both — continue to oppose choice. They often are aided by media malpractice and reporters who don’t know the difference between diversion and division.

One indication of the fact that the special interests are swimming against the tide is that there are now 56 school-choice programs in 28 states — led by Nevada, which now has universal school choice.

Education should not be a jobs program or a fundraising device for liberal politicians. In the 21st century, education is going to be delivered in public and private schools, at home and online. Big Education should join the rest of the world in embracing progress.


Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as a policy analyst for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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