Merging public and private education dollars is a risky proposition and does nothing to improve public education

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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By Leslie Alexander

“School Choice” – a policy that would grant government subsidies to pay for private education – is all the rage. While everyone benefits from a good education, there are unanswered questions.

As of last year, proposed legislation in Louisiana applies only to students currently in public schools. This policy is biased against families who have consistently sacrificed to pay private school tuition. Why the disparate treatment? Many of these families can’t “afford” it, either, but would be ineligible for the subsidy.

Homeschools, too, are overlooked. These schools are legally recognized educational settings under Louisiana law with reporting requirements. Where’s their piece of the pie?

At the very least, this lopsided egalitarianism is a violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. If these disparities aren’t corrected, let the lawsuits fly.

The re-distribution of monetary capital earned through the sweat of private labor is Marxist Socialism. Take “from each according to his ability” and give “to each according to his need,” urged the great, anti-capitalist revolutionary Karl Marx.

The payment of private school tuition is an act of private commerce, an individual decision to purchase a desired product. When did “conservatives” start believing that consumers must pay for their products and everyone else’s, too?

Flooding private schools with government money makes them government schools. Just as federal student aid mandates the regulation of higher education, widespread government subsidies for private education will mandate the regulation of private schools. Their autonomy will cease to exist.

Academic standards, dress codes, and behavioral expectations will all be challenged. And there will be little recourse. Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

Tell a gender-confused male student on a government subsidy that his hair can’t be purple, he’s required to take a Bible class, and he must report to the bathroom of his biological sex. It’s not going to fly.

President Ronald Reagan once remarked that the scariest sentence imaginable is: “I’m from the federal government, and I’m here to help.” Astonishingly, Republicans and “conservatives” seem intent on granting to government the control of one of our few remaining functional institutions – private education.

Overnight, the time-honored American ethic of individual achievement has given way to a presumption that select groups deserve special advantages. (The Supreme Court recently ruled that this approach in college admissions is illegal).

“Everyone gets a medal” used to be the joke about liberals who oppose the principle that we receive what we achieve. We are inching closer to a fully Socialist country in which the pursuit of a false “equality” threatens to override all other considerations. Have Republicans even noticed?

Merging public and private education dollars is a risky proposition and does nothing to improve public education. State legislators, citizens, and private school administrators should proceed with extreme caution.

Leslie Alexander

Leslie Alexander is a former Correspondence Analyst in the Executive Office of the President. A lifetime conservative activist, she has appeared in national print and television media.