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School Choice: What Is It and Who Cares?
Groundswell political movement or the latest scam out of Austin?
Texas Republicans are focusing a great deal of their collective political energy into passing what they are calling “school choice” in this year’s 88th regular legislative session.
What is school choice? Nobody even knows. At the start of the 88th session, Dade Phelan said in an interview we covered that school choice has no definition, and it means something different to every person. It could mean literally anything.
Since the discovery of this term’s universal ambiguity, savvy politicians in Republican-controlled states across America are tripping over themselves to get in on the action to own the libs by doing school choice harder than anyone.
Here is a definition from a site whose entire mission is about “school choice.” They say it means whatever education is “the best” before quickly changing the subject.
So from a political perspective this is a gold mine, because a state legislature could pass anything and then claim victory in delivering the very best education ever.
Are you having premonitions yet?
If you think this perfect grift opportunity is going to slide by Texas Republicans, well I hate to even say it, but you’re a couple sandwiches shy of a picnic, hun.
So this is a thing they are doing, and they seem very intent on doing the thing, and after said thing is done to you, they will smile ear to ear about the thing they just did.
What even is this?
The Republican Party of Texas platform defines school choice as a free-for-all taxpayer money bonanza where everyone with children shall receive a check “without strings attached.”
School Choice: Texas families shall be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, and the funding shall follow the student without strings attached. We also support tax credits and exemptions for education and choice within the public school system.
Obviously no one in the Texas legislature is talking about this kind of “school choice.”
The Texas Tribune says we already have school choice!
In a world where one political party wants to teach children that your penis is a social construct, but they still might want to chop it off anyway—both parties seem to agree on one thing: school choice!
It’s all very confusing and who even cares?
Texas politicians make a living off of Texas’ good reputation. But when you take a look at any issue in isolation, Texas doesn’t lead at all. This issue is no different.
A number of states have already passed this kind of stuff.
It’s worth reiterating that “school choice” is a generic reference to reforms in public education—this according to the Texas Speaker of the House.
He is, of course, correct.
How far behind is Texas? Well it’s hard to say when the metric you are looking at has no meaning.
Brian Harrison says he’s doing “universal school choice” and 30 other states have “education freedom.”
If you try and research how many states have “school choice” you will get random answers.
I still don’t understand what the point of school choice is supposed to be.
I hear arguments about the free market, and how competition will help improve the performance of the system. Since they are talking about competition for public tax dollars provided to people for free, the public is not going to value the money in the same way they value their hard-earned money. So right off the bat, the same market forces are not in play.
The other argument you hear is that this will help blacks and Mexicans or whatever. “I’m going to use political power to help blacks and Mexicans” is a Democrat talking point, so apparently Republicans are trying to it do better? I have no idea what this even means and it’s not explained with any detail the mechanisms at play here. Furthermore, why are we trying to neuter the incentive for parents take their school boards back, away from from communists, and regain control of public education in Texas?
Ultimately, I guess the best case scenario for generic “school choice” looks like the US Postal Service competing with UPS and FedEx.
The USPS school will be for parents who want their kids to be libtards. (Many libtards, I assume, are good people.) The UPS school will be for fat people because they’ll make them run around a lot (the students may also be exclusively brown.)
Finally, the FedEx school will be for right-wingers. They can even have a logo of a giant rightward pointing arrow so everyone knows what they stand for.
I assume this whole school choice thing is just about money— some stand to lose and some stand to gain. Nobody is really talking about who these winners and losers will be, besides teachers unions who may be hurt temporarily. Instead, we see conservative media shilling this idiotic “school choice means anything and we need it” hoax without explaining how it will solve the real problems everyone is dealing with right now.
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