A Thought on Money-Follow-the-Child Programs

A letter writer in The Wall Street Journal‘s Sunday Letters had one.

Quoting Toni Jennings, retired teacher and former Florida Lieutenant Governor, Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute CEO, wrote

The more competition we had in education, the better off we became. So, I for one believe that competition is good. But you will hear those who say, “Oh no, you’re making the public schools compete with others.” Well, those children are going to have to go out and compete with others in the workaday world.

Absolutely, and those public schools are not only failing those children, they’re defrauding those children’s parents, whose tax money is paying for those schools.

Here’s another thought, this one from me, flowing from this bit in Trabert’s letter:

The 2021 ACT results show that 31% of white students are college-ready in English, reading, math, and science, while only 14% of Hispanic students and 6% of black students met that standard. Achievement gaps are getting worse….

Even if that achievement gap didn’t exist, and those minority children also were at that 31% rate, the rate is unacceptably bad and illustrates the magnitude of the failure of our public schools.

We need vastly more competition in our K-12 system, not less, in order to both eliminate that achievement gap and to bring the college-ready rate up to acceptable levels. That means the Federal government must butt out of the business [sic] or be butted out by the States rejecting Federal funds; it means that State and local education funding must follow the child not the institution; and it means that State and local jurisdictions must stop, or be stopped from, using their regulatory powers to obstruct the opening of charter and voucher schools or of the nascent homeschooling pod alternative.

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