Saturday, January 7, 2006

One Choice Among Choices

Over at Where's Your Brain?, yesterday's little diatribe was on the misnamed School Choice issue. The argument for that blog's author and several others as well goes like this: Republicans (more so diehard conservatives) want to offer parents the opportunity to place their children in any school they want and have taxpayers fund it. Liberals, on the other hand, oppose this concept. Ergo
There has always been this very false perception that liberals are the champions for the poor, yet time and time again the facts prove otherwise. The facts continue to prove that it is the conservatives that are the true helpers for those in need. Republicans as a whole want freedom of choice in education; Democrats do not want freedom of choice. School vouchers provide that choice and Democrats hate the concept.
Let's deconstruct this argument to discern if it's true or not.

The supporters of the educational voucher program do, in fact, favor providing people with a choice, but in only ONE aspect. The only time that choice is an issue is when it comes to parents and students having the opportunity to choose a school.

They do not believe that taxpayers should be offered any choice in the matter. What if I don't want to fund a school that teaches apartheid or injects God into every issue? Do I as a taxpayer have a choice of which schools my tax dollars will support? Not on your life. In this instance, conservatives are staunchly against freedom of choice.

They also don't believe that members of the community should have a say in how a private is run or managed or the curriculum taught. What if members of the community want foreign languages such as Spanish to be taught and private school administrators are against the idea? Should the community have the power to impel Spanish classes? Not on your life. In this instance, conservatives again are against a community's freedom of choice.

What if teachers at a private school decide they want to form a union? Should they be allowed to? Heavens no. Again, conservatives are against providing teachers with freedom of choice.

Finally, should a private school be mandated to accept any student who has the requisite funds to attend? Well, of course not! Private schools have standards! If such a mandate existed, private schools would be no different than public schools. So, while proponents of school vouchers do favor providing families with the opportunity to apply to any school of their choosing, it is up to the schools themselves to decide if that opportunity will become a reality.

As you can see, the choice argument collapses upon itself. It really has next to nothing to do with providing people with greater options.


  1. I respectfully disagree, and deconstruct your logic here. A shame blogger doesn't trackback.

    In summary, you agreed with "Republicans (more so diehard conservatives) want to offer parents the opportunity to place their children in any school they want and have taxpayers fund it. Liberals, on the other hand, oppose this concept." even though you did express your feelings about vouchers.

  2. I favor taxpayer dollars to be spent on public, not private, schools. I thought that inference was readily evident, but I guess not. I'll visit your link later today.

  3. Your preference for public education did come through quite clearly. But IMO you failed to falsify the proposition that vouchers expand choices for the poor, as expressed in the quote from the original article.

  4. I reject the premise that school vouchers are about giving people more choices. I feel that its really about giving people who already send their kids to private school for religious or classist reasons a tax rebate because they don't feel like they should be paying for schools for other people.


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