By Jeff Judson
The school finance bill was pulled down by the author when several school choice amendments to the bill were about to be debated. Rather than debate and vote on school choice, the House Committee Chair Jimmie Don Aycock pulled down his own bill.
This appears to be a signal that the leadership recognizes that the voters WANT school choice but House leaders have chosen to respond instead to the public school lobby, and they will go to any cost to avoid a vote on the floor of the House or in committee that proves their opposition to school choice. The school choice bill, SB 4, passed the Senate but was never heard even in a committee hearing in the House.
When elected officials consciously choose a narrow lobby over the large majority of voters and school children, then it probably means they have been in office too long.
Extensive research shows that school choice helps improve public schools, helps the children who exercise choice, helps the children who stay behind in the public schools, and saves the state money. It is a win/win for everyone, including the public schools. School choice is NOT an anti-public school position, notwithstanding public school lobby opposition to choice.
No one in business wants competition, but we would all admit that competition and consumer choice drives excellence in everything we do. It makes us all do the hard things that are necessary to constantly improve. And school choice empowers parents to have more influence over what schools do to improve. When parents are powerless, we constantly fight things like C-Scope/Common Core, inappropriate sex education and politically correct curriculum, watered-down standards, etc. These are not issues that are debated in private schools because private school parents leave schools that do these things and seek schools that focus on the basics.
Let us pray for the day soon when all our schools are excellent because all parents have a choice in their own pursuit of an excellent school.
Jeff Judson serves as SATP’s Senior Vice President.
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