Teachers’ Unions donated literally millions of dollars to Hillary Clinton over the years, but just since she lost doesn’t mean their influence was lost, as they’ve also given millions to the campaigns of democrats from around the country. So it should be no surprise that when Trump picked Betsy DeVos, a school choice advocate, as Education Secretary, democrats vehemently opposed her.
Following the money is simple, but a little more complex than just unions donating to democrats. Teachers’ Unions get their money from dues paid by members of the union, mostly public school teachers. Public schools are paid for by tax payers, often through property taxes. School choice would mean some of that tax money goes to non-union members, which means the union doesn’t get any of it. So, in order to block school choice, unions pay for the campaigns of democrats who attempt to vilify the notion that parents be allowed to choose the school their child attends.
Why is the idea that parents have a choice in which school their child attends such a threat to public schools? Ironically, the fact that unions fight against choice proves that they are afraid that if parents can choose, they’ll take their money elsewhere. The fear of competition only comes from those who are unsure of the quality of their product. If public schools were so great, then parents would continue to send their children there.
There are a few other arguments against school choice that are more substantive, however. Let’s knock out a few common points against school choice.
“Parents Don’t Know Which School is Best. They’ll Make the Wrong Choice.”
This is a hilarious notion. Public schools have been in America for decades, and hence, are responsible for the education of whole generations. If parents are too dumb to know which school their child should attend, then there’s a problem. Why are these parents so dumb? Who educated them? Claiming parents aren’t equipped to make wise decisions about education proves that public education has been delivering a crappy product for a long time.
“Government Shouldn’t Fund Private Schools, Especially If They’re Religious. Separation of Church and State.”
To debunk this, we need only remember that it isn’t government that is funding these schools, but parents through their tax dollars. Either through a voucher program, or some sort of tax credit, it isn’t government “giving” money to private schools – it’s the consumer. Also – while separation of church and state was a principle that our founders believed in, it isn’t part of the Constitution. It’s merely a principle.
“Without Public Schools, Many Students Wouldn’t Have Access to Quality Education.”
Allowing parents to choose doesn’t mean that public options disappear. In fact, they only would suffer if enough parents chose to send their children elsewhere, which would force public schools to up their game in order to keep and grow their customer base. This would mean a higher quality education for the students who remain in public schools. Competition in education would mean a better product for the children who attend public schools.
This idea of school choice is something that has been tossed around for a long time, and teachers’ unions understandably feel threatened by having an advocate of vouchers, charter schools, and freedom to have a choice in education, as Secretary of Education.
However, after taking a step back, school choice isn’t a threat to students. It isn’t a threat to parents. It isn’t a threat to quality education. It isn’t even a threat to good teachers. It’s a threat to teachers’ unions, which is why they spend boatloads of money trying to limit a parent’s ability to send their child where they choose.