I will take the risk of oversimplifying when I say that American education is in a sad state of affairs. Not to say that American education is hopeless, but to emphasize the importance of getting involved and helping with the problem. How sad is it that we encourage free market everywhere in the country except for in education.
The public school system has a monopoly on American education. I will ask, if I may, how good the quality is for any good or service that is completely controlled by the government, or any single powerful entity for that matter? In summary: customer dissatisfaction. The USPS and DMV/MVD are a couple examples of services known to be inefficient. The tragedy of our public school system is the absence of competition. Schools are given more and more money every year (and yet they keep demanding more!) no matter what their performance. Billions of our own tax dollars are being spent on the public education system, and yet the actual education of our youth has stayed exactly the same, if not decreased.
Actually, to be realistic, it most certainly HAS decreased because expectations have dramatically decreased. Why you may ask? Because public school systems have nothing to be afraid of. They have no reason to push students, no reason to take risks, no reason to reform. All because they benefit – vocationally, financially, politically – from the status quo. And the alternatives, such as private schools and homeschooling, are not allowed enough freedom to provide effective competition with the public school system.
But there are whispers of a New Hope. Long lost echoes of scholastic redemption finally escaping from the labyrinth cave of political suppression. A phrase of near messianic proportions rings true: School Choice. Yes, school choice is the simple answer. No, not so simple to implement amidst such dire resistance. But simple in premise. All school choice asks is for parents to have a choice in their own children’s education.
Whether it be public, charter, or private; religious or secular; in a classroom or homeschooled; and for public tax dollars to be more flexible to apply to said education, whether through vouchers, scholarships, empowerment funds, assistant programs and so forth. All we ask is to have a choice! Is that not consistent with American values? Students should not be restricted to a certain school just because of their zip code. Parents should not be limited to one system, having to send their children to attend free public schooling since they cannot afford to both pay taxes and pay for private school tuition. All the while, teacher and school unions enjoy their profitable monopoly: while rarely actually addressing teacher’s needs by the way, preferring to address their politically beneficial campaigns against all competition.
There are many resources available that soundly proves that School Choice is a good thing, on individual, family, community, state and national levels. Arizona is one such state that gets it and is a forerunner state passing legislation supporting school choice. For example: Arizona passed the Individual Tuition Tax Credit Law, which allows Arizona taxpayers to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against their income state taxes for donations to a qualifying Student Tuition Organization (STO). An STO is a non-profit organization certified by the state to award these donations as scholarships to private schools. As such, private schools are in full bloom in Arizona.
The largest STO in Arizona is the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO). ACSTO has been very active in supporting school choice (all the way up to the Supreme Court!) and in providing much needed financial aid that allows thousands of students to attend the private school of their choice! Visiting the ACSTO webpage and/or the ACSTO Facebook page will provide you with the links and resources to learn much about the advances of School Choice in Arizona, and thus, the kinds of advances being made around the country. Let it be henceforth known that School Choice is a beneficial right, and it has high value for those who support Democracy.