Freedom Foundation

School choice as a crime

The District of Columbia’s schools chancellor resigned his position on February 20th because he had the audacity to seek a better school for his child. He used his position to try to get his daughter placed in a well-performing school.

As the leader of a monopoly modeled on Soviet-style factories, his efforts to exercise choice was an intolerable crime.

In fact, families have been penalized around the country for attempting to seek a school that’s better or safer than the government’s offering based on their address – even if what they seek is another public school.

Washington state has a law allowing families to move students into other school districts, but they must provide their own transportation and the receiving district may deny the transfer if it lacks space for additional students or the student does not meet other acceptance standards.

Still, the idea of having an option is considered the exception rather than the rule.

Even the charter school law in Washington is absurdly restrictive. Very few will be allowed and their actions receive more scrutiny than other public schools.

The union-funded fight at the polls, in the Legislature and in the courts has demonstrated how repressive our political climate is regarding education options.

It remains baffling that we don’t trust families enough to provide them with a range of different options in public education – even though they want it and are willing to risk jail time for it.

Public education will continue to demonstrate the flaws of monopolies. The incentives to improve, customize services and put families as the top priority will continue to be minimal in the union-dominated, “one-size-fits-us” education system.

The interests of employees will continue to be the “squeakiest wheel” in school operations.