School Choice – As American As Individual Liberty
Peter Greene is at it again. Previously, he argued conservatives should not support school choice. Now, he is arguing that school choice is un-American. I explained why he was wrong before and I did so again last Friday on the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s blog.
One of his main arguments is that private schools may teach objectionable content. I respond with this:
For as long as anyone can remember, there have been disagreements about what is being taught in public schools. That is because parents are compelled to send their children to public schools—if they can’t afford something different—and taxpayers are compelled to support public education through their tax dollars.
However, individuals have different values and beliefs. Of course, when parents disagree with their child’s public school they can pay for private school tuition, accept the school’s actions, or seize control and make the school change its position. Still, in all three of those scenarios, some people are being compelled to fund a school that teaches material with which they disagree.
There is simply no getting around the fact that someone’s beliefs or conscience will be compromised in the levying of taxes to support education…
Therefore, do those who oppose private school choice for this reason believe their rights are more important than others who object to content in public schools—but are compelled to support them anyway?
When the district where I taught banned Slaughterhouse-Five and Twenty Boy Summer, few progressive thinkers applauded the district for acquiescing to a parent’s wishes. They deemed the district backwards and lampooned the individual who led the effort to ban the books.
Peter Greene and other opponents of school choice programs might not mind Philadelphia’s decision to include A People’s History of the United States—a highly controversial book written by socialist Howard Zinn—in the public school curriculum, but many people do mind.
Greene does not seem interested in protecting all citizens from being compelled to fund schools that violate their beliefs, only the ones that think like he does.
Rather than compel students to attend schools that violate their convictions, school choice allows individuals to choose the school that aligns with their ideals. That is why I say, “School choice is about promoting individual liberty, and it doesn’t get more American than that.”