Compiled by Rodger Williams
Updated November 16, 2023
Note: These article titles are links to the individual articles, followed by an excerpt from each article.
Take the money vs. Don’t take the money has replaced Private School vs. Homeschool as the most important factor in Private Education.
Emerging Problems with School Choice
School Choice: Expensive, Ineffective, Damaging, With Resource Restrictions And Parent Dissatisfaction
“The reality that marketing only goes so far is one worth keeping in mind when people talk about school choice, why people choose, and what they are choosing. I don’t doubt that at the margins some people are swayed by slick advertising, but that will not work as a lasting enrollment strategy….
“Pride cometh before the fall. Marketing apparently does as well. But if the product is bad, the fall is all but determined, massive marketing spend or not.”
Some students will be able to come out of public schools into private schools because the government money allows them to do so.
These students will eventually be forced back into the public schools because of rising private school tuition.
The School Choice money available will be outpaced by the tuition increases. And these families will no longer be able to afford tuition costs.
73% of parents nationally support school choice programs. That is because they have been led to believe School Choice will enable the children of parents just like them to escape from bad public schools.
They would be shocked to find out that less than 5% of public school children are actually able to make the move to a better education using ESAs.
Pablo is saving taxpayers $2,000 because they only pay out $8,000 instead of the $10,000 they paid last year for public schooling.
Jasmine, on the other hand, is costing taxpayers an additional $8,000 they did not pay out last year because she was paying her own way then to attend private school.
Pablo saves taxpayers $2,000. Jasmine costs taxpayers an extra $8,000. The net increase for taxpayers is $6,000.
Ironically, this success could carry within it the seeds of the destruction of the School Choice movement.
Private schools are raising tuition as government money becomes a basis for their projected budgets. Those tuition price increases will bring disturbing unintended consequences. That in turn could cause a reevaluation of School Choice policies.
The Heritage Foundation’s Inattentive Claim That School Choice Policies Do Not Raise Private School Tuition
Never before have private schools in America faced the prospect of receiving such massive income from the goverment. Never before have private schools been able to depend on that government money in their budgets. Never before have private schools publicly declared they would be raising their tuition because of available government money.
The new government money inflow has substantially changed the underlying forces on private schools.
Dangers of School Choice
Government funds come with strings attached. And “just don’t take the money” does not work for homeschoolers. Alberta homeschoolers learned that the hard way.
But here is a disturbing counterexample which illustrates that even though the government may not be directly dictating what should be taught, it can still indirectly cause major changes to course content. The mechanisms in this case are the funding requirements of accreditation, student testing using state-developed tests designed to cover the public school learning objectives, and state-assigned grades (A-F) for participating schools.
The problem is not with these four particular prohibitions. One could just add a fifth category to cover the threat from 1990.
The problem is that no matter how many categories one might add, there would always be additional space allowing restrictive regulations to bypass those categories. It is not feasible to enumerate all possible variations.
The pattern is emerging:
- Government gives education money to some homeschoolers along with accountability regulations.
- Non-funded homeschoolers erect a protective legal barrier to prevent the accountability regulations from spilling over onto them.
- Government dismantles the protective legal barrier.
- All homeschoolers become subject to the accountability regulations, even if they do not take the money.