Conservatives are masters at using distortion and subterfuge to sell people on things they would never buy if properly labeled. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arena of âschool choiceâ -- a conservative euphemism for "gutting public education from the inside out."
According to its major proponents, like the late Milton âPinochet es mi amigoâ Friedman, âschool choice gives parents the freedom to choose their childrenâs education, while encouraging healthy competition among schools to better serve families' needs.â Sounds lovely! But, it turns out, there are plenty of well-documented problems with school choice, especially when it comes to the school voucher system, which provides families with public funds to send their children to private -- often religious -- schools.
Voucher programs in particular have been proven to be largely ineffective; they weaken the public school system, and fail to address inequality, which may be why their supporters, like the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity and Dick Morris, love them. Through their concerted efforts, vouchers are on the rise: In 2013, 15 states started or expanded their voucher programs.
Though supported with public funds, private schools engaged in voucher programs lack the accountability and oversight applicable to public schools, so theyâre not subject to the whole separation of church and state thing that forms the backbone of of American democracy. Given that, it seems fair to wonder: What kinds of lessons are our tax dollars supporting at these schools spared the scrutiny of Big Government and the burdens of the Constitution?