Teachers

This Is the School Choice Moment. Will the GOP Screw It Up?

Republicans are in danger of squandering a promising opportunity for education reform on culture war squabbles.

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In March, Sen. Rick Scott (R–Fla.) surprised many in Washington, D.C., by releasing an 11-point plan for what the GOP would do if the party retakes power in 2022, bucking Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's preferred strategy of bashing the Democratic agenda without offering much in the way of specific alternative policies. Scott's very first priority was education. "Our kids will say the pledge of allegiance, salute the Flag, learn that America is a great country, and choose the school that best fits them," states action item one.

Much of the plan is standard red meat. But it's telling that school choice has risen to the very top of the GOP agenda, even as the surrounding action items—highly specific demands for control over curriculum and classroom culture—betray a Republican approach that is at best selectively committed to the principle of maximizing parental choices. 

Regardless, Republicans clearly recall the exact moment—halfway through the gubernatorial debate on September 28, 2021—when Terry McAuliffe uttered the sentence that effectively ended his political career and ushered education to the top of the GOP agenda. "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," the Virginia Democrat said.

A little over a month later, Republican Glenn Youngkin triumphed, preventing McAuliffe from being elected to a nonconsecutive second term and setting off a frenzied effort among Democrats to understand how they could have possibly lost in Virginia—a state that President Joe Biden had won by 10 points just one year earlier.

First came a kind of denial that Virginia voters' frustrations reflected real problems in the school system. Many progressive pundits accused Republicans of creating an issue—the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in schools—out of whole cloth. CRT, an academic theory about the pervasiveness of racism in society, may hold sway in many graduate programs, but it is hardly taking over middle schools, these pundits insisted. The issue of "education," declared MSNBC host Joy Reid on the night of the election, placing air quotes around the word, "is code for 'White parents don't like the idea of teaching about race.'"

In fact, concerned parents can point to many school curriculum battles where the fight is not whether to "teach about race," but whether to indoctrinate students into a race-totalizing framework. It's not only white parents who dislike this; in one California high school where an "ethnic studies" course was required, half the Hispanic students were failing it. According to their English teacher, the kids hated the class.

Perhaps Virginia voters would have cared less about school curriculums if COVID-19 hadn't forced so many parents into the role of supervising their kids during the virtual school day. The pandemic kept the education system closed far longer than many other institutions, and the publicly exercised political power of the teachers unions meant that most families understood the reason their favorite restaurant was open but their child's kindergarten was not.

By now it is widely acknowledged, even in liberal circles, that the public education system's pandemic-era failures drove many independent voters and moderate Democrats into the arms of the GOP in 2021. And what worked in Virginia could work elsewhere in 2022: Frustration with woke school boards and with Randi Weingarten, the single-minded head of the American Federation of Teachers, might be palpable enough for many non-Republicans to overlook their distaste for former President Donald Trump. Executing much-needed education reform could deliver the Republican Party back into the good graces of moderate suburbanites.

The right policy approach is well known to Republican politicians: For decades, free market think tanks have produced volumes on how to expand school choice so that more families can exercise greater control over their educational options. By allowing charter schools to grow and experiment, and by letting students claim the public funds invested into the system in their name and take those dollars elsewhere, such reforms contain a liberatory promise—one that solves the curriculum and closure issues without turning school board meetings into war zones.

Will Republicans approach this moment with the clarity of purpose it deserves? Or will they be distracted by a different approach—one that asks state legislatures to micromanage what is taught in classroom?

There is significant evidence that dissatisfaction with the school system tipped the governor's race to Youngkin.

In the weeks before the election, a series of controversies in Virginia's Loudoun County Public Schools, close to D.C., became national news. After a sexual assault in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School, the victim's father assailed officials at a June 22 school board meeting for not doing more to protect students. He became unruly, and police dragged him out of the meeting, bloodied and handcuffed. That incident persuaded many parents that the district was ignoring reasonable criticisms—especially after the alleged perpetrator reportedly assaulted another student at another school.

Parents also had good reason to think the school board had grown not merely indifferent to their needs, but actively hostile. A Facebook group, "Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County," attracted notoriety for compiling lists of families resisting the district's racial diversity and equity efforts; six of the nine members of the school board turned out to be involved in the group. That agenda included changes to the district's admissions policies for elite high schools. In practice, this meant deprioritizing standardized testing and GPAs, which had the effect of punishing Asian and Indian immigrant students who excelled at these metrics.

"A lot of immigrant families came here specifically for the school system," an Indian-American Loudoun County parent told the independent reporter Matt Taibbi. "When you start messing with that and say we don't have a say, that's when people who've always voted Democratic will flip on them."

Any frustrations parents had with specific school policies were magnified a thousandfold by the pandemic. For months, school closures forced parents to take responsibility for watching and managing their kids during the school day, a tall order for many working families.

When Anvil Strategies, a Democratic polling firm, asked suburban women who had switched from Biden to Youngkin to explain their vote, they decisively pointed to school closures. "They asked us to do all this work for months, and then [McAuliffe] says it's none of our business now," one respondent said.

Danny Barefoot, a Democratic political operative who observed one of Anvil's focus groups, says that school closures emerged again and again as a poisonous issue for McAuliffe. "There's no real way to look at Youngkin's performance in the Northern Virginia suburbs and not conclude there was a seismic shift," Barefoot says. "Our research showed that shift was primarily driven by voters deeply unhappy with Democrats' education policy."

Republicans clearly capitalized on the shift. In 2020, Biden won Loudoun County with 62 percent of the vote versus Trump's 37 percent. In 2022, McAuliffe only won the county 55 to 44 percent for Youngkin. Statewide, the defectors added up to a Youngkin victory.

Even before all this dissatisfaction broke out, the school choice movement had been gaining steam for several years. Corey A. DeAngelis, director of research at the American Federation for Children (AFC), keeps track of school choice bills introduced in the state legislatures. (DeAngelis was previously a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this magazine.) As of February, 30 states had at least one bill on the table that would "fund students instead of systems," he reports.

"The majority of these states have education savings account bills instead of vouchers or tax credits," DeAngelis says. "They are introducing the best type of school choice."

Education savings accounts (ESAs) have become the gold standard for the school choice movement. Whereas vouchers and tax credits divert some funds from the school system to the child—or give families tax breaks for taking advantage of different options—ESAs establish that the child rather than the school should be the primary beneficiary of public funds.

Public education is funded on a per-pupil basis: Schools receive a certain amount of money for each student. While the details vary from state to state, ESAs typically allow families to enroll their child in a school of their choice and use some or all of their per-pupil funding to help cover the tuition. They can also spend the money on other much-needed educational resources, like tutoring services.

In Arizona, for instance, the ESA program pays out about 90 percent of the per-pupil amount: about $6,400 per child per year. To qualify for the program, families must meet certain characteristics, such as having a parent in the military, being low-income, or residing in a district with a failing school.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, is currently attempting to expand the program; he has vowed to sign any school choice bill that comes across his desk. In February, the state's Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill that would make roughly 85 percent of Arizona public school students eligible for ESAs. It's expected to face greater challenges in the state House, where a few Republicans have previously sided with Democrats who are skeptical of expanding ESAs, though it's possible the pandemic has changed their thinking.

"COVID has changed everything," state Sen. Paul Boyer (R–Glendale), the bill's sponsor, said when he introduced it. "I've heard from parents across the state desperate to get their kids into a healthy educational environment."

Other states considering similarly far-reaching ESA expansions include Georgia and Wisconsin. South Dakota raised the cap on the state's tax credit program from $2 million to $3.5 million and opened up the program to children in foster care. Iowa's Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, has championed a bill that would create an ESA program in that state, though she faces opposition in the House.

A few school choice bills are specifically tied to COVID-19, with ESAs that kick in only if public schools shut down or require masks. That's true of Tennessee's bill, and it's also true of the Kids in Classes Act, a piece of national legislation sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott (R–S.C.). While the thinking behind these bills is understandable, they aren't a great approach: Rather than making ESAs contingent upon some criterion or threshold being reached, it's vastly preferable for legislators to simply extend the program to as many families as possible and let them decide whether to participate. The Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning (SCHOOL) Act, supported by Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R–Texas), takes that path: It establishes that public education funds should go to students rather than schools.

There are encouraging signs that some previously skeptical legislators on the Democratic side are embracing school choice. Georgia's H.B. 999, which would establish a fairly universal ESA program, is co-sponsored by three Republicans and three Democrats. One of those Democrats, state Rep. Patty Bentley, previously opposed school choice measures. And in North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper joined National School Choice Week for the first time this year.

When the omicron wave of COVID-19 receded in February, nearly all schools in the U.S. were fully open. While mask mandates have stuck around in some stubborn municipalities—D.C. was still requiring students to wear masks indoors as of March, and New York City kept masks for schoolchildren 5 years and younger—the overwhelming majority of schools are finally getting back to normal. As pandemic-related restrictions diminish, curriculum controversies will constitute a larger share of school issues.

These issues, unfortunately, sometimes draw Republican attention away from school choice and toward less helpful policies. Numerous state legislators, for example, have responded to concerns about CRT by proposing bans on "divisive concepts." Under Ohio's H.B. 327, for example, "No school district shall teach, instruct, or train any divisive concepts, nor shall any school district require a student to advocate for or against a specific topic or point of view to receive credit for any coursework."

Those "divisive concepts" are defined in a variety of ways, but these bills are basically aimed at the ideas now being described as CRT. (In these debates, the term CRT usually covers much more than the academic ideas advanced under the "critical race theory" banner.) The language of these bills is often so broad that it could chill any discussion of tough subjects. And one of these bills, Florida's H.B. 7, applies not just to K-12 education but to colleges and universities, where students and professors have a clear-cut First Amendment right to explore divisive concepts.

"This sort of viewpoint-based discrimination is flatly unconstitutional," notes the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Tyler Coward.

Another Florida bill—H.B. 1557, whose opponents have nicknamed it the "Don't Say Gay" bill—would forbid teaching about gender and sexuality in the classroom. One earlier version of the bill required school officials to out students to their parents if they learned the kids were gay or transgender. Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the bill into law on March 28.

It is generally a bad idea for state legislatures to micromanage what gets taught in middle school classrooms. And it's a waste of energy too. Such laws almost invariably draw Republicans into bitter court fights—and even if they survive legal scrutiny, there's no guarantee they will work as planned.

"It can take up political capital to use your time to advance these bills that don't even achieve the stated goal of banning concepts you don't like because of implementation issues," DeAngelis says. "School choice is a better option, because you can sort to schools that better align to your interests and provide competition to public schools."

Some parents don't want their kids learning "divisive concepts" related to race or sexuality. Other parents might think bills like "Don't Say Gay" go too far but do not want their kids exposed to fraught political concepts at too young an age. And many parents like things just the way they are. School choice accommodates all of those parents at once: Families would be able to take the money, choose the school whose approach they like best, and enroll their kid there. That leaves little reason to legislate what all schools must teach or what all kids must learn.

Both Youngkin and his lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears—a Jamaican immigrant and former appointee to the Virginia State Board of Education—want to increase the number of charter schools in the state and also make ESAs available to more families.

"We need to have good schools for all children in all communities, and all ZIP codes," Sears wrote in a recent column. "We need to return power to all parents. We need to give all children more opportunities."

There's every reason to believe that independents and moderate Democrats would reward governors and state legislatures all over the country for making school choice a top priority. According to recent polling from the AFC, a majority of Democratic voters support school choice. While the state level is where most of the work must be done, figures seeking national office would be well-advised to take a page from the Youngkin playbook as well.

NEXT: Brickbat: Mount Baldy

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  1. This Is the School Choice Moment. Will the GOP Screw It Up?

    Yes. Next question.

    There's very little difference between the Democrats and the mainstream Republicans (witness the bi-partisan vote on shoveling money at Ukraine via the arms industry and their revolving-door government agents) when it comes to Big Government. They only differ on what Big Government should do, not on the concept.

    1. Like all the Dems' pet issues, this one can't go away for the GOP. They need to fund-raise off it.

      1. Getting paid every month online from home more than $12k by doing very simple and easy job in part time. (yhu30) Last month i have got paid $11547 from this easy home based online job.
        .
        This is where i started..........☛ https://yourjobs85.blogspot.com/

    2. The Dems have already screwed up the public education issue horribly, and will find out just how bad at the midterms.

    3. Just like the Republicans screwed up the Libertarian Moment, right?

    4. Sure the alternative, independent schools run just like the Foster Care System. No accreditation just hire anybody then give kickbacks to the parents who send their children there. Wow & business republicans support this !

  2. "In fact, concerned parents can point to many school curriculum battles where the fight is not whether to "teach about race," but whether to indoctrinate students into a race-totalizing framework."

    And the "race-totalizing framework" is downstream of academic concepts like Critical Race Theory and the work of other dubious social science "Studies" departments. This is an aspect of the culture war which seems to be largely disparaged as illegitimate, at least when non-Proggies resist.

    1. Skin color is the most important thing

  3. Saying The Pledge and saluting the flag are stupid, but if the choice is between stupid and evil, I prefer stupid.

    School choice should absolutely be the goal, but even if Republicans focused solely on that, it’s a long term battle that will be resisted at every step by the party supported by Reason because open borders Uber alles. And while that battle is occurring, children are being indoctrinated in evil ideologies TODAY, and that also needs to be fought against.

    Regardless of whether the kids in this story get a choice of schools in the future, having a sexual harassment charge on their record will fuck them for the rest of their lives.

    https://nypost.com/2022/05/14/kiel-wisconsin-school-charges-kids-for-using-wrong-pronouns/

    1. That article must be Disinformation, only Republicans do culture war squabbles.

    2. And here's some more culture war squabbling that's totally not happening right now:

      https://www.foxnews.com/us/fairfax-schools-rules-suspend-students-malicious-misgendering

      1. Republicans need to stop pouncing and just let progressives ruin children’s lives for wrongthink.

        1. This is definitely the learned libertarian position.

        2. That is the boiled down argument from the left wingers that post here.

          1. how many times do they have to tell you they're not lefties?

    3. And here's some school bureaucrats proudly displaying their disdain for the citizens they serve through culture war squabbling apolitical education policy.

        1. It's the UK. They have a long history of (some) parents granting their children pronouns. You may've heard that, here in the US, we founded a more democratic federal republic. Your parents can still give you your name, but the public at large gets to pick your pronouns for you.

          1. It's the UK.

            The Daily Mail has a US-centric version. These teachers are in the US.

    4. The way to win is not to play.
      Don't send your kids to their schools.

  4. Robby, I think you're arguing in good faith. But, I think at least a couple of points here make you sound like an apologist for a corrupt status quo:

    1. ESAs hardly seem like a "gold standard" for school choice. They're more of a palatable compromise with the teachers' unions because they amount, in practice, to the schools still getting the same funding (you even contrast them with strategies that "divert money from public schools") regardless of whether students take advantage of the ESAs. That diversion of money should be exactly the point of school choice. A market in which some suppliers get funded regardless of demand for their services is a broken market. The entire idea of competition is to not only help the kids able to escape into private alternatives, but to force reform and improvement on the public schools to continue to receive funding. ESAs that don't divert funding are like saying you'll fully fund the post office no matter how many of their customers defect to UPS or Fedex.
    2. Right now, school choice still accounts for a very small portion of education. By your own account, the vast majority of what is out there is only applied to marginal cases (military families, the poor, students in schools the educational establishment itself acknowledges are failing). And any expansion faces virulent opposition from an extremely entrenched and powerful lobby - the teachers' unions. So, in practice, for the vast majority of parents, your advice that they should shut up about curricula and focus on school choice translates to "they should just shut up about curricula". In practice, that means letting the schools continue to teach their kids that they should hate themselves or their neighbors because of the color of their skin and that "genderqueer" (whatever the hell that is) is super cool in hopes that maybe their grandkids might have the option of going to a school that doesn't teach that. Oh, and of course, those same schools wouldn't teach that wanting a different education is somehow wrong.
    3. In discussing Florida's anti-grooming bill, you omitted three pretty important words - for little children. "Another Florida bill...would forbid teaching about gender and sexuality in the classroom for little children. You might disagree with the content of the bill, but that's no reason to misrepresent what it says. And ignoring the fact that the restriction in question only applies to kids under third grade is kind of important, don't you think?

    1. “You might disagree with the content of the bill, but that's no reason to misrepresent what it says. And ignoring the fact that the restriction in question only applies to kids under third grade is kind of important, don't you think?”

      Reason has decided to be disingenuous about this bill every time they cover it. It’s a shame, but Robbie’s been turned to the dark side regarding following The Narrative.

    2. So, in practice, for the vast majority of parents, your advice that they should shut up about curricula and focus on school choice translates to "they should just shut up about curricula".

      No, it means that parents should focus on school choice instead of trying to micromanage curricula, because the concept of school choice, and the concept of a one-size-fits-all uniform "correct" curriculum for all students, are mutually exclusive.

      Successful school choice necessarily requires that people will have to tolerate that other parents' kids will be taught a curriculum that they may not necessarily agree with.

      In practice, that means letting the schools continue to teach their kids that they should hate themselves or their neighbors because of the color of their skin and that "genderqueer" (whatever the hell that is) is super cool in hopes that maybe their grandkids might have the option of going to a school that doesn't teach that.

      Yup, it does mean letting schools continue to teach that curriculum - for the parents who specifically choose that school. It also means letting schools teach the curriculum that you prefer for YOUR kids.

      If you cannot bring yourself to the point of saying "I don't like that genderqueer nonsense, but if *they* want to send their kids to that school that's fine I just want no part of it", then school choice will fail.

      1. "Yup, it does mean letting schools continue to teach that curriculum - for the parents who specifically choose that school. It also means letting schools teach the curriculum that you prefer for YOUR kids."

        Sure, and when we get to the world of perfect school choice that can be a conversation.

        But we dont live in that world, and there are lots of parents who dont currently have school choice for a variety of reasons. Telling them to sit down and shut up because in a perfect world they could choose a school that matches their ideology is a cold comfort when their kids, right now, are actually stuck in the one school in the district their kids have to go to.

        And that school is likely to have proportionately lower math and literacy scores while simultaneously spending all their time telling kids about their implicit bias and racism.

        Its always painfully obvious you dont, and wont ever, have kids

        1. Do you want school choice? Or do you want to 'win'?

          If you had the power right now to impose your preferred curriculum on every school, would you do it?

          Given today's polarized world, we will never get to school choice if either tribe thinks there's a chance for a "final victory" of imposing their preferred vision on everyone. Because why would they?
          Each team thinks that their preferred curriculum is not just right for their kids, but right for ALL kids. Adults from all sides need to step back and realize that there is not one correct curriculum for everyone.

          1. In your hypothetical I and parents "like me" are pushing for the handmaid tale faith based conservative something something and this is a false premise.

            I, and parents like me, want the left wing indoctrination out and am happy to leave out any religion or whatever else. I want it replaced with kids actually graduating at an appropriate math level and literate (of which we are drastically far behind).

            And the premise that because I want school choice I should shut up and sit on my hands and take it from the lefties who are trying to indoctrinate my kid because in a perfect world I could choose another perfectly matched school, is frankly silly.

            1. I use the two extremes of an aggressively religious curriculum and an aggressively "CRT" curriculum just as metaphors for the range of all of the possible curricular choices out there.

              Some parents want religious schools. Some parents want "preppy" schools. Some parents want schools focused on the arts. Some parents want schools focused on STEM. Some parents want schools focused on a broadly liberal education. Some parents want schools focused on "anti-racism". And then there are some who think, like you, who want a curriculum that teaches "just the basics". There is an entire panoply of choices out there.

              And no I don't think you should just sit on your hands. I think you should fight the battle that is actually worth fighting. NOT to try to impose a unitary curriculum on everyone, but to open up the range of choices for everyone.

              1. Except, for parents of school-aged children, the "battle that is actually worth fighting" is the curriculum that is being shoved down their kids' throats. Playing the long game is great for those with no vested interest in the present, but it doesn't help with the current indoctrination. You don't seem to want to address this.

                1. It doesn't have to be the "long game". See below.

                  1. But it is. You just want to pretend otherwise.

                    1. Also, let's just embrace the magical power of "Both".

                      Let's destroy the State School Monopoly.

                      And while we wait on that, let's also prohibit the teaching of Marxist Dogma.

            2. “In your hypothetical I and parents "like me" are pushing for the handmaid tale faith based conservative something something and this is a false premise.”

              That’s exactly what he’s doing. And it’s exactly what he’ll keep doing. He lives in a world of Philosophy 101 and sophistry. Best to remind him he’s Lying Jeffy and keep it moving.

            3. the premise that because I want school choice I should shut up and sit on my hands and take it from the lefties who are trying to indoctrinate my kid because in a perfect world I could choose another perfectly matched school, is frankly silly.

              Wormtoungue's advice is to never oppose evil lest you provoke it.

          2. “Do you want school choice? Or do you want to 'win'?”

            This just shows that Lying Jeffy refuses to listen to the arguments people are actually making, and will just ascribe his caricature of what he thinks people really believe.

      2. The radical individualist relies on “experts”.

      3. School choice will fail because curriculum has to judged and held accountable to some degree if the taxpayer is paying. Otherwise it will mean a parent/guardian can send their kids to a liquor store and call it school.
        The only real question imo is how we can manage and hold that spending accountable.
        Completely agree though that success requires a mind shift before anything good happens

        1. School choice will fail because curriculum has to judged and held accountable to some degree if the taxpayer is paying.

          I agree that there has to be a level of accountability, but I don't agree that this accountability will necessarily mean that school choice will fail. The way I envision it, accountability can occur both in auditing the finances of a school (does the money actually go to educating kids?), as well as assessment of the student learning of the students periodically in a curriculum-neutral manner. There are already standardized tests for kids in 4th, 8th and 12th grades. So, do something like that, but with the proviso that in the aggregate students have to score at a certain percentile in order to continue to receive funds. Or, make the funds conditional on the percentile rankings. Or some type of accountability mechanism like that. Which already exist in a number of states in which there is a redistribution of funds from the state to local school districts. This is not an insurmountable problem, it just requires some thought in how to implement it correctly.

        2. Ah the classic retort: if we let people have choices, they might choose wrong!

        3. The kids might learn more at the liquor store!

      4. Yup, it does mean letting schools continue to teach that curriculum - for the parents who specifically choose that school.

        And, given that school choice is not the existing standard, for every parent who doesn't choose that school because parents don't have effective choice on their kids' school. But, I suspect you already knew that. Because as much as I believe Robby is arguing in good faith, I'm pretty sure you're not. Both R Mac and me raised similar points with this regard and you choose to ignore both to hold out a non-option (universal school choice in the short-term) to say that parents objecting to woke curricula are wrong for doing so.

        1. I have R Mac on perma-ignore so I don't give a shit what he says about anything.

          I am not saying it is wrong for you to object to curricula you don't like. I am saying it is wrong to object to curricula that you don't like, by trying to impose YOUR OWN curriculum on everyone else, who will then, in turn, ALSO object to the curriculum YOU are forcing down their throats. This is a battle that cannot be won.

          non-option (universal school choice in the short-term)

          Why is this a non-option? If the people currently outraged over "woke curriculum" spent half as much time demanding school choice as they did protesting at school board meetings, then school choice would be a reality in short order. How long did it take for DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to pass his "Don't Say Gay" law? He did that because he's pandering to the Team Red base because he wants to be elected president in 2024. These things can happen quickly if there is enough support, and very loud support, for it. There is no shortage of venal politicians wanting to suck up to constituents.

          1. “How long did it take for DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to pass his "Don't Say Gay" law?”

            Some people just can’t help themselves.

          2. "How long did it take for DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to pass his "Don't Say Gay" law"

            I'm not aware of legislation of that name. Do you have a link?

            1. Would it surprise you if I told you Jeffy’s just lying?

          3. If the people currently outraged over "woke curriculum" spent half as much time demanding school choice as they did protesting at school board meetings, then school choice would be a reality in short order.

            Because completely restructuring the American education system is a trivial goal relative to changing school curricula. Do you have any f**king idea how idiotic that sounds?

            But, I'll tell you what, how about we implement Scott's entire proposal - saluting the flag, Pledge of Allegiance, American Greatness, no CRT, no gender identity theory - and, since moving to school choice is just a trivial change that any community can move to, you progressives can demand school choice to get away from that? I'll be happy to continue supporting school choice, as I'm sure a lot of libertarians and conservatives will be happy to. That sounds like a win-win to me, a great opportunity to achieve a school choice consensus. Since you're such a committed supporter of school choice, I'm sure you're down with that, right?

            1. Because completely restructuring the American education system is a trivial goal relative to changing school curricula. Do you have any f**king idea how idiotic that sounds?

              Not the ENTIRE American education system. That isn't what's required. Just the education system in your state or even in your local area.

              But, I'll tell you what, how about we implement Scott's entire proposal - saluting the flag, Pledge of Allegiance, American Greatness, no CRT, no gender identity theory - and, since moving to school choice is just a trivial change that any community can move to, you progressives can demand school choice to get away from that? I'll be happy to continue supporting school choice, as I'm sure a lot of libertarians and conservatives will be happy to.

              Even if what you proposed actually did come to pass, maybe a handful of libertarians and conservatives would continue to support school choice on principle, but the vast majority would not. Why would they? They won! If they supported school choice at that point, from their point of view, they would be complicit in "progressive indoctrination of kids" by permitting them to run their own schools. They wouldn't support it then just like a lot of people don't support school choice now - they would be giving up their power to try to dictate the curriculum to everyone.

              THAT is why you don't try to fight these battles. Because there is no way to get to the ultimate goal of school choice by perpetually fighting over the curriculum within the public school system itself.

          4. ""Don't Say Gay" law"

            Can you elaborate? There was a parental rights law passed, involving not teaching sex or gender weirdness to extremely inappropriately young children (Ages 5-9).

            I dont recall any bill being passed that you are referencing.

            1. When the law was passed, I had several discussions in these forums, with the law's supporters, about what they thought teachers should teach kids if the subject of same-sex relationships came up. And the answer was either: tell a white lie, ignore it, or change the subject. In other words, don't say gay. The description is accurate even if the people you don't like are the ones using it. In fact that is the reason you play these little games right here, because you KNOW it is accurate and you don't want to validate it.

              1. This is deeply disingenuous. My answer was if any question around the gender of relationships came up, change the subject. That includes "don't say heterosexual". If some kid says "Why do most parents have a boy and a girl parent" it is entirely appropriate to say "Ask your parents" and move on.

                The idea that this is at all controversial is RIDICULOUS. The same tactic would be expected if a child asked, "Teacher, what is God?" Nobody would bat an eye if the teacher said to talk with parents about it because that isn't a subject for school.

                And you know for a fact we pointed you to numerous *actual* course material being taught to kindergartners that portrayed as *fact* that children who identify as girls are ACTUALLY girls, even if they have boy parts. They aren't just mentioning that gay couples exist. They are pushing a very strict interpretation of gender (among other things) on kids.

          5. "Why is this a non-option? If the people currently outraged over "woke curriculum" spent half as much time demanding school choice as they did protesting at school board meetings, then school choice would be a reality in short order. "

            Let's just unpack this for a second.

            Chemjeff- a person who is not a parent, and has demonstrated exactly zero knowledge of the school systems, and can't even be bothered to read the criticisms that people have put up here numerous times- asserts this without evidence.

            I have a 10th Grader. She has 2 years left in the school system. Even if tomorrow, 100% school choice were implemented in California, she would be in college before "alternative choices" were up and running.

            In the meanwhile, here are the lessons I had to confront with her this year alone:
            * Because she is a "passing white" hispanic, she has white privilege and a party to systemic racism.
            * Her big chemistry project for the semester was to identify an environmental problem, read three science papers dealing with potential remedies, and then create a presentation for how the government should remedy that problem.
            * She was given a list of potential activists to do a biography on. Every single one was deep deep left.

            But school choice *isn't* going to be implemented over night. Because people that he gives a pass to daily won't let it be implemented without endless knock down drag out fights, and endless court cases. So while we wait on that fight to complete, Parents have every right to determine what curriculum their kids will learn, even if it is the shitty zero-sum, one size fits all, public consensus curriculum that the left has foisted on us.

    3. I doubt he is arguing in good faith.
      If that were true he would use the given (and accurate) name of the bill, and not the heterophobic slur preferred by the fascists.
      The title of the bill is "An act relating to parental rights in education".
      An internal search for "gay" returns 0/0.

      1. You must not be in Florida. Everyone knows the evil governor just made it illegal to say g** in Florida. Because he is a fascist dictator who can just make it illegal to be g** by the stroke of a pen.

        In fact, I am pretty sure they are rounding all the g*** up as we speak. I know this because I watch CNN and listen to NPR.

        1. In Florida the movement must be to make it illegal to say "goy".

  5. Yes yes yes, we need school choice, we need it now more urgently than ever.

    But school choice can only work in an atmosphere of tolerance. Team Blue will have to tolerate curricula that they wouldn't normally agree with - in particular, faith-based curricula - and Team Red will have to tolerate curricula that they wouldn't normally agree with - in particular, supposed "CRT"-based curricula.

    1. Call me crazy, but teaching race essentialism and that things associated with one race in particular are inherently bad seems to something that should not be taught in any school.

      1. I mean unless your goal is absolutely to create a society centered around race essentialism and racial class status in an effort to "take power" away from whiteness.

        But that would be very...marxist

      2. They are hell-bent on re-creating a racist society. What possible reason or incentive could you offer that would dissuade them from teaching kids to be racist?

        1. How about individualism? The obverse of that is collectivism, including racial collectivism. Anti-libertarians all over The Kleptocracy are getting skilled at asking folks to sacrifice individual rights to the fancied positive "rights" of non-individuals. By dinning this at high volume and throughput a sort of Gresham's Law operates so that bad collectivized claims drive out good individual rights.

      3. "Call me crazy, but teaching racist sexist myths from a book of fairy tales presented as the unquestionable truth seems to be something that should not be taught in any school." That is what Team Blue might say in regards to a faith-based curriculum. Are they right? Should they get to veto faith-based curricula based on this rationale?

        Consider a very traditional faith-based curriculum - women are subservient to men, gays are going to hell, etc. Is that a legitimate curriculum in your view?

        School choice will never work if either team starts from the premise of "sure, I'm in favor of 'school choice', but only for the curricula that *I* approve of". Everyone has to be able to tolerate curricula that they wouldn't support themselves. Just like, in a free society, everyone has to be able to tolerate choices that they wouldn't make themselves.

        The only invalid curricula should be ones that don't actually work, i.e., students don't learn anything. And that can be measured with independent, curriculum-neutral testing.

        1. Skin color is the most important thing

        2. "School choice will never work if either team starts from the premise of "sure, I'm in favor of 'school choice', but only for the curricula that *I* approve of"."

          The problem with this "if we all just stopped fighting each other, things would be perfect, so stop throwing punches" attitude only works as long as you are dealing with people interested in the same goal (getting ideology out and just teaching).

          In real life, we have one person trying to go about their business, and another person harassing them. Sometimes the bully needs to get punched in the face

          1. (getting ideology out and just teaching)

            But that's not my goal per se, and that isn't the specific goal of school choice generally. My goal is to permit whatever ideology, or lack thereof, in the curricula of whatever parents choose. So that you can have your "non-ideological" curriculum, while your super-woke neighbor can have their aggressively "anti-racist" curriculum, and we can live in harmony with each other instead of each of you trying to force the other to accept a curriculum choice that is not welcome.

            I am saying you should pick the correct battle to fight. The real enemy here is not your woke neighbor who simply wants to raise his/her children in a different way. The real enemy is the establishment itself which prohibits both you and your neighbor from enjoying your own separate choices.

  6. The only reason the government school monopoly is afraid of school choice is that most people would choose otherwise. Because public schools mostly suck.

    The Catholic diocese in my city had looked at a proposed school voucher program and estimated that they would have to increase school capacity by 60% to meet demand if implemented.

    1. Probably because public schools are somehow expected to deal with all society's ills. Poor public schools have more to do with socioeconomic conditions than any kind of "good teaching, bad teaching" conundrum.

      Fix the root causes and public schools would probably be great.

      1. And it is the Left that has largely been advocates for expanding tge scope of schools from education to a catch-all social program, and are annoyed when anyone escapes the system.

      2. "Probably because public schools are somehow expected to deal with all society's ills. "

        Trust me, the only people that want it that way are:

        left wing crazies
        lazy uninvolved parents

      3. “Probably “

      4. LOl

      5. Insanity Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

        https://www.cato.org/commentary/americas-most-costly-educational-failure

  7. I guess we found the exception to Betteridge's Law of Headlines.

  8. ""Our kids will say the pledge of allegiance, salute the Flag, learn that America is a great country, and choose the school that best fits them," states action item one."

    Oh nothing like forced speech, whitewashing of American history, and leaving kids behind. This definitely sounds like Republican policy.

    1. “Preferred pronouns”, anyone?

    2. Pledge of allegiance. It was written by a socialist. To promote nationalism. And thus, a national socialist pledge.

      1. That is literally true. His brother's sequel to "Looking Backward" was "Equality," in which involuntary servitude is prophesied to be abolished by deporting all who refuse servitude for the good of the many. Equality, like the Nationalsocialist platform it inspired, literally oozes Positive Christianity. Howells' "A Traveler from Altruria" helped inject a slice of the communist manifesto into our Constitution. All this was accomplished with spoiler votes aggregating less than 4% of the average vote total.

    3. Versus blackwashing. Stop it with the BS.

    4. A generation of Freierian-based education has resulted in 40% of incoming freshmen having to take remedial classes. It's gotten so bad that some colleges are eliminating those entirely because the incoming student body is functionally illiterate, but they sure can bitch about how "the system" needs to be changed, and all these colleges want now are political activists in training.

    5. Imagine being so fundamentally stupid that you think history is being whitewashed because someone doesn’t think we should try to collectively guilt an entire race of people for the actions of a few.

      1. When you add to that...

        - the amount of people and races (and skin tones) included in "white" is extremely high, to the point it is almost meaningless...like using "brown" to include everything from indian, Samoan, Philippines, Sunnis, and native americans and then placing collective past guilt on ALL of them for what 1 specific group of brown people did in 1 specific time in history. It is ludicrous

        - A large amount of everyone painted with this brush of "white supremacy" at this point likely have roots in this country long after slavery and the civil war was over. Im sorry, my family came to this country poor with a shitty life in the 1900's. You can get right fucked telling me I am responsible for the worlds ills.

        - So many immigrants absolutely love and crave capitalism, and dont want to be pandered to in the way these white elites insist

        When you take all that into consideration, its pretty obvious the goal is a marxist "us" vs "them" proletariat vs bourgeoisie fight. And they are succeeding.

        1. It’s astonishingly unsubtle.

          And you’re absolutely right that they’re succeeding. Just read any of our left leaning commenters posts.

  9. The examples you give of Republicans supposedly micromanaging school affairs at the state level don't read like that to me. They read like broad mandates for the government schools to not function as propaganda outlets, and I don't see anything anti-choice about them, unless you think students want to choose to be propagandized to! (Isn't the nature of propaganda such that if you ask for it, it's not propaganda?)

    1. Just shut up and eat your Soylent Green.

    2. Whether a school is functioning as a propaganda outlet or teaching the unquestionable truth is a matter of personal perspective. Ask a single classroom’s worth of parents which one applies to their kid’s school and you’re likely to get the full spectrum of responses. Stopping schools from spreading propaganda first requires that you define the term. Good luck finding a single consensus that pleases everybody. The point here is that parents should be allowed to send their kids to the progressive propaganda factory of it aligns with their personal values, so long as they have the equally viable option to do the opposite. Real freedom means people will make choices you wouldn’t make yourself and you just have to live with it in order to preserve your own freedom.

      1. You don't need to define the term, just to identify the particular propaganda content currently being pushed, and cut it off as this bill would. This is not about some fine points about which parents would likely disagree, but about far out-there stuff that's recently come to light as being inflicted by an elite on an unsuspecting populace.

        1. Exactly. Don’t talk to little kids about sex, and don’t separate kids by race is a good start.

    3. Education is what it's called before the war. Once hostilities begin, conditioning, propaganda and brainwashing are the new speak.

  10. Well hell. As long as the rugrats salute the flag, say the pledge of allegiance, goose-step their way to the cafeteria and learn how to make America great again, then there is no downside to federal control of education.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Wow. That was spectacularly stupid.

      Well done!

    2. Isn't that what Feerless Leeder Trump told the football players to do--"or be suspended without pay." THAT worked pretty well on the voters, right?

  11. America's public education system is failing, has failed as test scores continue to drop compared to the rest of the western world and even worse against countries like Japan and China, making America's public education system a laughing stock.
    Public education is nothing more than radical gender and left wing politics that have nothing to do with preparing young people for a productive future. Instead they convince young people they can rely on the state for everything.
    The only option is for Americans to leave the public schools in favor of private/charter versions and even home schooling.
    After the public schools close down for lack of participants, they can be used to house homeless.
    Otherwise, consider the continuance of such as a waste of public lands.

    1. Strange, my kid goes to a public school and it seems like all her homework is math and reading. Maybe, just maybe, hyperbolic generalities are a useless form of discourse and part of the problem here. Also, why do people act like kids can ONLY learn about the world at school? YOU as a parent can help them better understand the nuance they’re not getting from their lefty teacher. Get off the sidelines and into the game you whiners.

      1. They did, and you faggots put them on terrorist watch lists

  12. I love Robby. He is that horse who walked right up to the water, splashed his face all around in the water.... But dares not drink.

    1. he knows drinking would make the other horses in the "cool barn" not eat oats with him

  13. Yes, the GOP will screw it up. Because they are more interested in the Kulturwar than in actual school choice.

    It's the authoritarian belief that children must all be taught the exact same thing in exactly the same way. And also because children are the proxies for adults culture warfare. For the authoritarian Left, schools are about promoting their current bugaboos: anti-racism, neo-segregation, CRT, identity politics and restrooms, anti-capitalism, etc. They are utterly and absolutely wrong about this.

    But the authoritarian Right isn't much better. They still want state-wide restrictions on content. National restrictions if they can get it. Don't say gay literally means teachers can't say gay. Under the delusional belief that children can be taught teh gey. The intense antagonism over Disney is Disney disagree. Disney HAS NO SCHOOLS! Yet they are being attacked over this issue merely because they disagree with a particular law. Not that they are violating the law (they have no schools, remember) but merely because they disagree. In addition, their opposition (rightly so) to the 1619 project is edging over into the whitewashing [sic] of history. And so you have politicians imposing state-wide curriculum mandates. Ugh. Some even imposing the mandates and restrictions on private schools. Double ugh.

    The solution is ... wait for it ... SCHOOL CHOICE! That doesn't mean more public charter schools. It means full parental choice. So charter schools yes, as a baby's first step, but we need to get beyond that. Up to and including tuition vouchers and educational tax credits. Get to the point where public schools can be abolished.

    Don't like that your public school is teaching 1619? Take your children to another school! This is what Republicans should be fighting for! Get rid of the legal impediments to true choice in education.

    p.s. And before people object that teacher training has been taken over by the CRT/AR/1619 crowd, again, fix the legal system that gave them control over teacher training. There is a private Christian college near me that is notable for it's excellence in teacher education. It's graduates go on to public schools. So it can be done. Again the solution is getting teacher credentialing out of national and state government hands. Which means less power to public schools. School choice is still the answer.

    1. "Don't say gay literally means teachers can't say gay"

      What flavor kool aid did you get?

      1. Brandy is a progressive.

        1. And a liar.

    2. Yes, the GOP will screw it up. Because they are more interested in the Kulturwar than in actual school choice.

      The two are inexplicably linked, and it was the GOP punting on the culture war for a generation that got us to this point.

      The left wouldn't be screeching about this if they thought the right wasn't a threat to their monopoly here.

    3. Yes, Republicans want restrictions like not tracking seven year olds about gay sex.

      1. If you can't read Heather Has Two Mommies to a kid without teaching them about gay sex, that's on you, not the book.

        1. Huh? I thought that was The Book Of Mormon... Didn't Mark Twain ask Utah kiddies how many mommies they have?

    4. How do you abolish public schools if the public is paying for every child to be schooled?

      1. What a mystery!

  14. So why be against school choice? There is absolutely nothing public that is better than private and monopolies never ever provide the best services.

    1. Because there are a million different Karens out there who have no qualms trying to dictate to everyone how best to raise their kids.

      1. Karens like collectivistjeff child groomer

      2. So it’s not teacher’s unions and their political power? Lying Jeffy in a nutshell.

      3. So was that pro choice? Because unless you can afford to pay for public schools and private schools you are at the mercy of the Karens.

        1. I am referring to why school choice isn't more popular among the public. Because quite a few of them realize that if we actually had real school choice, they would lose their power to dictate to everyone else the curriculum that everyone's kids should suffer under.

          1. That's pretty much it. There is nothing people like more than telling other people what to do.

            I'm old enough, and from a rural enough part of the country, to remember when people ran for school board so they could help manage the local schools. Stuff like funding and funding priorities and stuff like that. I'm also old enough to remember when this started to change. People running to impose their ideas on everyone else. Too much sex education, gotta run for school board. Too little sex education, gotta run for school board. Etc.

            1. Confession via projection, as usual

            2. Parents don’t want more sex ed; teachers unions are trying to impose that.

              1. ^ exactly this.

                This is less a matter of "I want to spread MY views" and more a matter of "keep your fucking views to yourself and teach my kid math"

                They are living in some imaginary both sides world where the opposing side is just as bad as the NEA and teachers unions.

                1. Lefty Jeffy has convinced himself that all the parents in northern Virginia that threw a fit when they saw what was being taught are theocrats from the ‘80s.

                  1. Because his raging hate boner will never let him see anything but blinding rage for anything that conservatives say or do.

          2. And yet, in a forum where everyone is for school choice, you argue against them anyway.

            1. And conveniently, this argument comes when school choice specifically is on the opposing side of the DNC and left wingers.

          3. If by Karen you mean teachers unions….

  15. Americans already have school choice, likely to a fault (nonsense-teaching schools are accredited, for example).

    Americans who choose non-public schools should be required to fund that choice (much as if someone prefers not to use public streets the taxpayers do not purchase the helicopter, and if an American elects not to use public water, the public doesn't pay for the Perrier).

    Carry on, clingers.

    1. Dumb as crap as usual. Schools and roads/utilities bad comparison.

      Gas taxes (the users pay it) pay for roads and if you want to live off grid you don't pay utilities. The dumbest of the species normally fades away thank God.

  16. There can be no peace with leftists.
    They will not live and let live.
    Kill or be killed.

  17. "In March, Sen. Rick Scott (R–Fla.) surprised many in Washington, D.C., by releasing an 11-point plan for what the GOP would do if the party retakes power in 2022, bucking Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's preferred strategy of bashing the Democratic agenda without offering much in the way of specific alternative policies."

    Robbie starts off with a lie. Rick Scott's plan is Rick Scott's plan.
    Nowhere on his landing page does he even imply it is a Republican plan. It is his. Period.

  18. Deciding what crackpot theories your kids are exposed to in school is not a "culture war squabble".

    1. Especially since everyone is in total agreement about the what is and isn’t a “crackpot theory”. Never mind the hyperbolic news coverage, the political grandstanding, the contentious school board meetings, CRT obsession on both sides. Nothing to see here folks, certainly nothing that resembles squabbling. This is a simple matter.

      1. I'd call "everything bad that goes wrong is whitey's fault" and "if you don't feel comfortable in your body then you're transgender" to be crackpot theories, but I realize the mentally ill might have a different take on this.

    2. I think CRT is wrong, but I don't have an issue with it being taught as a theory or framework alongside other theories at an appropriate academic age. What I object to isn't the theory, but the *praxis*, where curricula and educational activities are designed around the theory as if it it sound and true.

      1. CRT isn't being taught as theory, it's being implemented as brainwashing

        1. Having kids list out the ways they have "oppressor" characteristics and privilege walks seem to be...not teaching a college legal theory class...

        2. Citation needed.

          1. It’s been presented here dozens of times shithead.

            1. Suck my balls is all the citation Tony deserves.

        3. That's why I said praxis was the issue. It's not the teaching of the theory, it's that it's being implemented as an educational practice.

  19. Will the School Choice moment last as long as The Libertarian Moment?

  20. What an absolute shitshow you have created. If we have universal education, it means taxpayers will be paying to educate poor children. Setting up a system where parents can choose to have their kids sent to any school in the country, as if parents have that kind of time and inclination, will only make it more expensive.

    But every fucking things libertarians do is a scam to make money for some asshole who couldn't hack it in the existing private sector and so needs to suck the teat of public funds. You have never ever explained how this system is any less public.

    The fact that Republicans are frantically trying to indoctrinate children with the Buffalo shooter manifesto lest they grow up to vote Democratic is perhaps a separate issue, but you're all burning in hell together.

    1. Note Tony is arguing a governmentally administered system will be cheaper than one responsive to customers. Sometimes the Wormtongues slip up and accidentally reveal they aren't libertarians, just left wingers posing.

      1. Tony has never pretended to be anything other than a sniveling, hate filled, envious leftist.

    2. Woops. Tony must be having a presbyophrenic moment, thinking he's posting on National Socialist Review. The part about his fellow collectivist Republicans is not so farfetched, but the the part about libertarians is standard communist prophesying in which A "will be" Y and the resulting Z "will only" someday make "it" more expensive. This is textbook communist anarchist wheezing about how folks "would surely" do X and Y if only murder were legalized and the State abolished as in Comancheria days.

  21. Democrats are going to filibuster any federal school choice legislation.

  22. "If we have universal education...will only make it more expensive."

    "scam to make money for some asshole who couldn't hack it in the existing private sector and so needs to suck the teat of public funds."

    Well lookie here, the resident socialist left winger is catching the vapors over govt spending money and useless bureaucrats sucking at the govt teet. That's funny because normally you are for any amount of govt expansion and overreach. Hmm... what changed...

    Spare us the fainting couch routine. You and the other left wing crazies are freaking out because drag queen story hour, gender pronouns, CRT, and the indoctrination factories you have had an absolute stranglehold on are getting a light shined on them and the public is rejecting it.

    So now all of a sudden you develop a sense of fiscal responsibility? GTFO with that weak sauce, it was honestly hilarious to hear that come from you

    1. My politics are more responsible fiscally and in every other way. Mostly I want brainwashed morons who watch Tucker Carlson to get their racist claws off of public schools. Libertarians who want to steal money from children's educations to put in the pockets of the Koch brother are hardly any better.

      1. Why again cant we pay for every kid to have schooling, as you say above?

        Are you saying the govt should stop taxing me under the current system where I am paying for all kids to go to school? I mean, OK you win, ill stop paying school taxes.

      2. Mussolini and The Pope needed Tony's advice back when the Lateran Treaty made prayer mandatory and hung cadavers on swastikas on walls in Italian government schools in 1929. Time is sooo unkind to religious and lay socialists...

  23. I do find at amusing when libertarians get all self-righteous about the GOP screwing things up as if the Libertarian Party isn't the biggest joke on the planet. Maybe just a little humility is in order.

    1. When have Libertarians ever screwed things up?

    2. Ha ha ha ha Mute User woopsie... I'm gonna MISS that nationalsocialist Trumpanzee.

    3. The LP has nothing to do with the GOP being a bunch of screwups on all issues at all times. The GOP isn't even trying.

  24. Acronyms being the dopiate of the asses, it's hard to get excited about memorizing them. Any day now expect some bright Leninist to stumble on Christian Replacement Theory as every bit as CRT as Critical Racialcollectivist Theory. With that handy equivocation stirred in, the dogfight between racial collectivists, religious collectivists, national collectivists and social collectivists ought to get even more vicious than it is now.

  25. Issue: Exists.
    GOP: Screws it up.

    Every. Fukkin. Time.
    There's a reason they're the stupid party.

    (Just like there's a reason the Democrats are the evil party.)

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