School Choice

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
--Ayn Rand

You are not government property, and neither are your children. As parents, the education of our children is one of the most valuable items we can provide. Our current system has created a government monopoly on our educational system, but only for some. Like with most things our government controls, if you have enough money, you are provided more choices (most of the time, better choices). Society has started to run down the path of shaming people for sending their children to good schools. Why? I want my children to have the best education to suit their needs.

In the 2017-18 school year, Iowa spent $12,734 per student, this number increases by approximately 2% every year. The state of Iowa is not a producer of money. This money needs to be collectively pooled through involuntary taxation and redistributed to schools. You may think, “It is for the children! No amount is too much when it comes to their education!” We must remember one thing, everything the government controls is automatically more-costly and less efficient. Our children only get one childhood. No one would say, “I would like my children to get a pricey education that is less effective.” That is what we are asking for when we continue to take educational choices from the hands of parents. I fully support being pro-teacher, however I believe it should come secondary to being pro-student and pro-parent.

How do we solve this problem? I believe there are many ways to change our current situation in a dynamic way where everyone comes out the winner. I am not advocating against public schools. I am recommending that we make our current system more competitive, more agile, more effective, and less costly. We do this by treating our schools as though they are businesses and encouraging competition in the market. It is difficult to think of schools as a business, but they are a very essential business that provides a very valuable product; the molding of your child’s brain, thought process, and character. By allowing our school market to provide more choices and solutions, we force public schools to become more effective and less costly.

On a small scale, this model has been proven effective in the Cedar Rapids area. There is a growing community of homeschooling families who opt to utilize the public school system for certain classes, sports, music, and theater programs. These districts receive partial funding for these students. Some districts are offering better innovation and services, so many families open enroll out of their home districts, leaving them to attempt to adjust to meet the needs of the families. That is how competition works, and that is what will make our system provide for all.

By allowing parents to allocate the money set aside in the name of their child, we empower parents to be the cornerstone of choosing what is best for their individual student. This encourages the public schools to follow innovation in learning in an effort to keep funding in their districts. This encourages private school choices to open; both secular and non-secular. It gives homeschooling parents the ability to provide high quality, well rounded options. In this way, the quality of education rises, students win, parents win, and teachers win.