The metaphor works for a charter school mom, cross-posting as a pundit, celebrated by a policy wonk and echoed in the Show-Me state.
Choosing only a few options off a big menu is a lot like what parents of special-needs students often face.
As the father of five special-needs students, I watched a progressive and supportive school district force one of my daughters into the following choice—either waive your rights to ESL support, or disqualify yourself from interscholastic athletics. Why this Hobson's dilemma? The magnet school for ESL didn't allow students from across the district to try out for their sports teams.
Fortunately I got a job at a great charter school, my daughter enrolled and competed on four sports teams without losing ESL support. That's a choice that worked out well.
On the other hand, Lexie Weck, a special needs student in Arizona, has lost her choice to attend a supportive private school because the Supreme Court of the state ruled that the voucher program that supported Lexie's enrollment violates the state constitution—analysis at GoBash.org.
Home educators, charter school advocates, private school parents, and political conservatives understand a basic principle: The government can give us nothing that didn't belong to us in the first place. As in:
- All public funds—produced by taxes, not by some mysterious government account
- Educational Choice—has been the parents' prerogative from time out of mind
- Personal rights—are protected by the government, but endowed by a Creator
and so on...
If vouchers are unconstitutional, then change the constitution.
If vouchers alienate the Teachers Unions, then abandon the unions.
If vouchers serve students and families well, then find ways to make them sustainable and equitable so that more students will have more excellent choices and the invisible hand of the marketplace will make all schools better.
Otherwise, why even offer 31 flavors?