Opinions / Op-eds

Championing Educational Freedom: A Call to Prioritize School Choice in the Legislative Agenda for Enhanced Quality and Competition

This week, communities throughout the nation celebrated the enormous potential of school choice. Now, more than ever, students and families hunger for alternatives to the public school system. With a plethora of educational options available today, our government should champion and empower families to discover the best fit for their children, rather than confining them to an outdated system.

Defenders of the status quo invest significant resources, a lot of time, energy, and money, to resist efforts to give families more options. Teachers unions and the state education bureaucracy have joined forces with outspoken progressives who fear free thinking independent young people who grow up outside of their control.

As Republicans, we believe that the family is more important than the state. We believe that parents know best how to educate their children and have an inalienable right to impart their values to the next generation. 

Our position on education, as outlined in Article III of the Idaho Republican Platform, underscores the belief that children are a gift from God, and stewarding and disciplining those children into being Godly and productive citizens is the paramount responsibility of fathers and mothers.

Christ Troupis Book

The Idaho State Constitution says in Article IX, Section 1, that “The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”

Notice that this doesn’t say the government must indoctrinate students, or force anti-American or anti-family curricula down our students’ throats. It merely says we must provide a public school system that serves all students.

Article III, Section 3 of the Platform reinforces this goal through the mechanism of school choice:

We believe in improving the quality of education for every child by maximizing parental choice. This will be accomplished through money following students to their parent’s school of choice. We support all educational environments desired by parents including public charter schools, public virtual charter schools, homeschools, schooling at home, microschools, learning pods, co-ops, private and parochial schools, and accountable public-school systems.

Right now, school choice requires extra money to pay tuition, extra time to homeschool, or a public school district that is willing to be flexible. The anti-school choice lobby is spending a lot of money and political capital to keep it that way. While there are many great teachers and administrators within the public school system, there are also many who believe they know better than parents, and that children belong to them, not to you.

I urge the Legislature to make school choice a priority this session. Not only will it give families more options, it will induce competition in the current system, which we as Republicans and believers in the free market know will lead to quality improvements for all.

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3 replies on “Championing Educational Freedom: A Call to Prioritize School Choice in the Legislative Agenda for Enhanced Quality and Competition”

School choice sounds good on the surface. My family CHOSE to forgo the public system and it was a wonderful and successful experience. Yes, it can be a sacrifice but we gladly did it and WITHOUT government oversight. I guarantee you that IF school choice is “allowed” in Idaho in this fashion, the government WILL eventually DEMAND the right to oversee the curriculum of any of those non-public schools because….it is “their money” after all. A BETTER option would be to let those WITHOUT any students enrolled in the public system REMOVE that portion of their taxes from their annual bill therefore requiring those WITH students in the system pay for the education of their children. Unlike fire, law enforcement, courts or other government agencies that ALL of us NEED, or may need in an emergency, why should we have to pay for something we do not and will never use? Do not give me the argument that the public schools benefit us all. They are proving to be failures in this respect. Instead, make the parents and those who CHOOSE to donate to the public system pay for the privilege. THAT would be a better CHOICE for all of us.

How is it their money when we, the TAXPAYERS are taxed every year to some so-called “school fund” whether you have kids in school or not and whether or not you ever had any kids? We pay $8000 a year in property taxes and it claims that HALF o f that 8k goes to schools.

“Public” schools seems to be a misnomer. More accurately these are government schools and are designed and operated to promote government ideologies rather than benefit the citizens. See: N E A Trojan Horse in American Education.

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