Rural superintendents have been blocking the expansion of school choice in Texas by whispering in their state legislators’ ears that doing so might jeopardize jobs in the local public schools. But it is unclear why rural legislators should heed these concerns given that rural educators may be undermining the values of their constituents and donating to their political opponents.
we win this war with school choice. https://t.co/iXMewD5Cxk— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) December 12, 2022
In other words, the goal for these folks is not choice. It's to replace the current public school system with a private one that's aligned with the Proper Values, to wipe out any and all school systems that teach The Wrong Values.
There are folks in the choice world who believe that choice is in and of itself a virtue. There are people who believe we should have woke schools and conservative schools etc etc etc. But these are not those people.
I have long argued that people do not really want choice, that they just want to get what they want.
We are seeing repeatedly that choice is not what some folks who nominally support choice actually want. Choicers have campaigned against LGBTQ charters. Patron choice saint Ron DeSantis is not in Florida fighting for every parents' right to have whatever school they want, but to Stop WOKE and CRT wherever it appears. The Libertarians of Croydon, NH, actually trashed a functioning school choice system because they wanted lower taxes. We are seeing repeatedly that choice-loving folks like Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education don't want choice for everybody--they just want schools to reflect their values. The book banners do not campaign for libraries where everyone can get the books they want, but libraries where people can only get the books the banners approve of.
Hell, we've now got an entire legal theory that argues that the Framers didn't really want liberty and democracy--they wanted a government that was based on the Right Values.
I will say, again, that this is not all school choice fans. Education policy makes strange bedfellows (remember back when that wacky Common Core united people who love public education and people who hate it). But right now this is a big chunk of the school choice crowd clamoring for an end to schools that teach things they don't approve of. We don't really need choice, reads the subtext. We just need one system that teaches the things we want it to teach.
This is not a system that would serve anyone but a select few. It's not democratically owned and operated public education in a pluralistic society, and it's not actual school choice, either. It's just another version of the conservative-ish christianist call to "take back our schools" and make them all ours again (and keep us from having to pay taxes to fund schools for Those People). This is not a system that would uphold any of the ideals of American education.