Wintry-Day Thoughts on School Choice (but with a motive in mind…HB2068 to be heard in House K-12 Budget on Tuesday)

“Money following the child = the government following the child.”

If you see the words “school choice,” you may as well put the word “fake” in front of it.

“School choice” has long been the planned mechanism to ensnare private schools and to bring them into the fold – in order to force them to teach the very ideologies that many parents want to escape. Parents, don’t fall for it! It is called “school choice,” but this term is a trap! (and by design)

Publicly funding private schools is dangerous, for they have no elected school boards, therefore no citizen representation to ensure public monies are spent teaching what the public, as a whole in in favor of. This also explains the danger of another type of “choice”: charter schools — for they, too, use public monies without representation of the public (publicly-elected school boards, for example).

To put it simply, money following the child is really the government following the child, for when government subsidizes a program, it (the government) has the obligation to regulate it. This is not choice!

So, “school choice” wants to take a designated amount of money that the state presently provides to the public school a child attends and “give” that amount of money to the parents to “choose” which school will receive that designated money.

The assumption is that schools will have to “compete” for parents to choose to send their child to their school.

Presently, the state monies going to the schools, require the schools to implement all manner of curriculum, reporting, and programming requirements. By moving the “place” as to where the monies are directed, the state requirements will move as well, landing on each specific child.

It won’t matter “where” a child goes to school.  Everything will be directly tied to each child.  Each “place” of education, be it a school or parent, will be required to meet all the state requirements.

And, what about equity issues?  Presently, there is an exhaustive list of risk categories that schools screen for and receive additional funding for.  Wouldn’t, therefore, each child receive a different allocation of state monies, based on his varying risk designations?  Wouldn’t it also be possible that children “achieving” or “exhibiting” certain aptitudes or competencies will be allocated a different level of state monies?

Would schools then not compete to acquire the children with higher allocations of state monies?

Also, a school that parents believe to be excellent doesn’t automatically have the capacity to “receive” every child whose parent would “choose” that school to send her child to.  What will be the process/criteria to determine which schools take which kids?  Do we not think that the state has to have a “stake” in this process?

The “money following the child” does not result in a mushrooming of private schools that are responsive and accountable to parents.  There will very likely be a mushrooming of schools competing for as much government funding as they can garner.  The schools/parents will be encumbered with meeting all the state curriculum, reporting, and other programming requirements.

Children become even more a piece of capital, a human resource, an asset/investment of the government.  The “interest” of the state in the child is even more specifically “personalized” to each child.

Money can only be responsible to the person who earned it and from which it comes.  Yes, individual taxpayer taxes fund the government.  But, the government is also funded by business/corporation taxes, and all number of taxes paid by people who do not have kids or kids in school.

The funding of local schools needs to be from local sources, directly.  This means local community taxes directly fund its local schools.  This includes any fundraising by local schools.

If the people of a community do not think their local school is “good,” then they would vote for lower taxes to support it.  Lower taxes would also allow parents to retain more of their personal income to CHOOSE to use it to send their child to a truly private school.  As well, grandparents – also the beneficiaries of lower taxes – could contribute to their grandchild’s education.  Local businesses could also directly support the schools of the area.

Lower taxes for everyone would allow for all persons to fund those things unique to and characteristic of those who reside in the area.

Again, history supports this.  As the source of direct education funding has continuously left parents and local communities, the excellence has continued to decline.

Here is a link to the House K-12 Budget committee: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/committees/ctte_h_k12_education_budget_1/

On that page, you will see the link to HB2068, if you’re so inclined.

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