The Case for School Choice
- By Alliance Defending Freedom
- Posted Jan 24, 2013
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By Matthew Sharp, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel
Imagine that out of every paycheck you receive, $100 was taken out as a “Doctor Tax.” That $100 was given to the doctor—who we’ll call Dr. Smith–whose office was nearest to your house. That tax gives you certain privileges with Dr. Smith. You can visit him anytime you want, and it doesn’t cost you anything above that $100 per paycheck. Things are great at first. You go in for your regular check-ups. He helps you when you get the flu.
But then, you start noticing that the wait times at his office are getting longer and longer. One day, you wait nearly 3 hours to see Dr. Smith. His bedside manner is getting worse too. And when you injure your knee playing tennis, Dr. Smith says he can’t help because he doesn’t specialize in joint injuries. You could go see another doctor, but you would have to pay the new doctor out of your own pocket, while Dr. Smith would continue to get your $100 per paycheck—regardless of whether you use Dr. Smith or not.
Most of us would balk at such an arrangement. And rightly so, because we value the ability to pick and choose the best doctor to meet our needs and not be penalized if we decide to switch.
So why are we not similarly bothered by our nation’s education system? Each of us pays a portion of our paychecks to support our local government-run schools. But if those schools are doing poorly, or if our children would best be served by a school that specializes in certain teaching techniques, we are left with few realistic options. We could put our children in private school or homeschool, but that is an unrealistic option for many families—especially since they must continue paying taxes to support the government-run schools. And many states even restrict a child’s ability to transfer to a better government-run school.
School choice offers a solution to this serious problem. It provides a means whereby every family—regardless of their income—can have a meaningful choice in deciding how to raise and educate their children.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to make the case for school choice—explaining what it is and why it works. We are going to look at the history of our education system to see how we got where we are at. And we are going to examine why school choice is something every Christian should support.
Author: Alliance Defending Freedom